The Stooges - Fun House (1970), 9/10

Fun House is overflowing with raw energy, adrenaline, and sexual appeal; its allure is so real. Iggy Pop illustrates how attitude and raw talent can carry already great music to new heights. It reminds me of a lover who makes you feel simultaneously filthy yet you can never stop coming back for more. Never mind its vital place in the history of punk, it is just a damn pleasure to listen to every time. After their self titled record opened the door for the group to experiment with the fundamentals of rock music, Fun House takes the ball and runs with it, incorporating both free jazz and elements of noise rock. The studio even got rid of its typical recording equipment to emulate a raw, live sound that the band excelled at creating. Just like Beefheart, Iggy was inspired by Howlin Wolf's vocals; you can clearly hear this throughout the record. The pulse in "Down on the Street" will grip you immediately, and serves as the perfect opener. I side with the studio who chose to open the album with this track over "Loose", although honestly both would work pretty well. The perfect slide right into the riff, the crescendo into Iggy's belting "no wall!" is amazingly energizing. "Dirt" is far and above my favorite track personally, as it gives us time to wallow in atmosphere just long enough to be cradled into a dark romp, the epitome of what makes the B side such a perfect come-down. The build is unmatched and the payoff is pure bliss. We get some pretty cutting edge experimentation on "L.A. Blues" and its improvisational inspiration, which could have ended up being a disaster, but it just plain fires on all cylinders. It does certainly help that I am the exact target audience, being a lover of both proto punk and free jazz. The pinnacle of an amazingly well performed and influential three record run. This record just oozes energy nonstop through to the end. Personally, this was one of the first records that really captured me as a young person, also brimming with energy and passion. It became a soundtrack of sorts to the young, free days of exploration in a wide world of temptations and possibilities. All of the Stooges’ albums have this quality of simplicity, but Fun House has an extra testosterone-infused zing and an almost inexplicable maturity in sound that separates it from the rest. This album is one that you can put on at any moment and feel the band’s energy as if the performance is directly in your face. It is not just a standout release for its time, but packs a punch harder than just about anything since, not in spite of its raw simple delivery, but because of it. Not enough can be said about Iggy’s bravery here as well, this single performance opened the door for raw vocal experimentation that has since been expanded upon in so many derivations that they’re uncountable. The quintessential, formative punk rock album.