The Stooges - The Stooges (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Stooges

The Stooges (1969)


Maybe it's because I edit 20 of these things a week, but I hate it when people turn in reviews for classic albums and start off with some variation of "Why hasn't this been reviewed yet?" There's a ton of reviews out there, asshat. Say your piece and wrap it up. The sheer repetition of it grates on me after a while.

That being said, how the fudge did the Org make it this long without discussing the first Stooges record?

Everybody and their mother has a top pick for the record that birthed punk. God Save the Queen and The Ramones are popular picks. Kick out the Jams and The Doors work too, not to mention a couple of glam rock records like The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Me, I back The Stooges. This is unrestrained, back to basics rock ‘n' roll. This is a reboot; an annihilation and rebirth.

Now, you might think the Stooges aren't as wild as they could have been, at least on record. But did you write "1969" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog?" No? Then sit down and shut the fuck up. I do not have time for you shit. Those two songs open The Stooges, distilling wah pedal riffs and massive drums into pop confections. I can see why the record was noncommercial, but how were these not huge singles?

The record's back half ups the garage rock rough edges, and while tracks like "No Fun" still pack nifty choruses, these songs still seek to destroy. All of these make The Stooges essential listening.

Where the record may prove difficult–indeed, the main reason I can't give it a perfect score–lies in the 10-minute chant "We Will Fall." In addition to being long as balls, this song totally disrupts the groove established by "I Wanna Be Your Dog." It's all ambient noise and chanting, something that might have worked on a Velvet Underground record (John Cale actually plays viola on the track) but just sounds totally out of place here. Granted, this means The Stooges only has one bum track, but it is a long one.

Compared to Fun House and Raw Power, The Stooges isn't quite as rocking. It's the most accessible of the group's classic records, despite containing its most experimental song. But if you want to get as back to the beginning as you can (with going on some tangential Robert Johnson trip), buy this album.