Ready To Die
Rating: *** 1/2 or ****
Like it or not, Iggy and the Stooges are at it again with a brand new studio album. The new album, Ready to Die, is their first album since 2007's The Weirdness, which was the band's reunion album. This album also marks the return of guitarist James Williamson, who replaced the late Scott Asheton in 2009. Williamson and Iggy have not worked together since the 1973 classic Raw Power and their collaborative effort Kill City (Williamson also produced Iggy's 1979 solo album New Values). The Weirdness received mixed reviews when released but in my opinion, Ready to Die is a much better album.
Like the Stooges albums before it, Ready to Die is a rip-roaring rock n roll album. Unlike The Weirdness, these songs sound more fleshed out and it feels like they spent a little more time in the studio with this album than they did with The Weirdness, which sounded like they made it within a week.
Ready to Die opens up with the hard rocker, "Burn". It isn't the most original song title but it's great to hear Iggy's gravelly voice singing to the sounds of Williamson's screaming guitar. "Sex & Money" and "DD's" are nice dirty romps while "Job" has a silly but catchy chorus: "I got a job/I got a job/I got a job" sings Iggy. "But it don't pay shit". Williamson's guitar playing on this album is still great after all these years. Listen to the guitar riff on "Gun": it sounds like something out of a Rolling Stones track. The self-titled track is another chance for Williamson to show off his skills while songs such as "Unfriendly World", "Beat That Guy" and "The Departed" are chance for Iggy to showcase his ability to tackle slower paced songs.
Overall, Ready to Die is a solid album. You can't really compare this to the first three studio albums the Stooges made from 1969 to 1973 but if you like no frills punk rock, Iggy and the Stooges still deliver the goods.