Iggy & The Stooges – Raw Power, by Fatima Meah

Classic albums should be deemed classic not because of the sheer number of records theyve sold commercially (although in some cases that is a factor but by no means an important one), but how they were able to withstand the musical whims of generational fads. How they managed to capture the imagination of their audience and reflect the feel and voice of a generation. Raw Power by Iggy & The Stooges does exactly this.

Originally released in 1973 and then re-released again in the late 90s, Raw Power quite literally exploded onto the record players of the young, angry and disillusioned youth, capturing the essence of the early punk era. This re-mastered edition sounds markedly different from the original produced by David Bowie. Re-mastered by Iggy Pop himself (in collaboration with Bruce Dickinson), it is apparently a more accurate representation of how he wanted the album to sound. It is raw and powerful pun intended. The really title doesnt lie, summing it up perfectly in a nutshell.

Opening track Search and Destroy is an unforgettable anthem – strong, forceful and ever so demanding. The roaring, sweaty, sleazy and wild but seductive vocals just add to that menacing feel. Its nihilistic, extreme, dirty and threatening.

Gimme Danger is by far the highlight but you have to wait until a minute in before it really kicks in, with its punchy guitars and rising intensity – it oozes of The Doors. Williamson simply explodes. Lyrically, its emotion is disturbing and yet is paradoxically sincere. Its energetic, fearful, brutal, fierce, violent and vicious with its pounding drums and the self destructive playing of instruments. The end is near; you can feel its urgency throughout the album. Its impending doom lingers. After all, it was their third and final album with all the original members playing together for the last time. Other tracks such as Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell, Penetration, and Shake Appeal are all drenched in annihilating, bloodthirsty and exhilarating vocals.

Though punk was at its very beginnings in 1973, many attribute the release of this album as kick starting the whole movement. Ahead of its time, it was punk before the term was even coined. It captures the essence and spirit apparent in many punk bands emerging in the years 76-77. Its effect on both its contemporaries and successors is clearly apparent. The Ramones in particular, incorporated that wild self destructive style, except on a faster and more intense level. Love it or loathe it, Raw Power is without a doubt a powerful album, leaving its imprint on rock n roll.

Iggy Pop on Altopedia