The Stooges - Raw Power (1973), 8/10

Right at the start, "Search and Destroy" is an iconic and electrifying beginning to a record filled with just that: bottled lightning. Raw Power remains a fitting title and even adds to the allure of the album experience along with the iconic artwork. The virility harnessed here is almost spiritual, if it wasn’t so delectably raunchy. Is there a more indulgently sexy and violent track than "Penetration"? And even while “Shake Appeal” may be my favorite song on the record, there is an impressive variety and covered ground in such a seemingly straightforward rock album. Regardless, Iggy has a way of taking you on a thrilling, primal journey that you can't help but follow blindly and dive headfirst into pure carnal fantasy. Raw Power and Fun House have continually battled for my favor over the years, the victor entirely depending upon my sensibilities rather than success as a musical statement. Raw Power is a rebellious, noisy hard rock anthem, while its older brother is more of an ebullient experiment ranging from bawdy punk to noise-infused free jazz. Iggy’s growls are as deranged and delightful as ever, endlessly fueling tracks like “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell” and giving them depth of character. The mix debate can be an interesting one, it is clear to me that the melodies benefit from Iggy’s mix while losing any delicacy from Bowie’s. Luckily with the lovely 2012 vinyl copy that I am lucky enough to own, choosing between the two isn’t necessary. Very rarely, if ever, would I repeatedly listen to two different mixes of the same album in succession, but this speaks to the outstanding songwriting and the depth even within these simple tunes from such a musically limited band. The essence of the garage band elevated by supremely powerful vocals is unshakably harnessed in Raw Power. At the end of the day, it’s just fucking kickass rock music.