No longer the streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm, Iggy is not hesitant to branch out with a jazzy rock tune or an introspective ballad.
Review by David Feltman
When drugs ripped The Stooges apart back in the ’70s no one expected the seminal punk band to resurrect 40 years later, especially considering that original lead guitarist Jim Williamson had given up music for a corporate gig at Sony. That’s so not punk. But Williamson rejoined the band after Ron Asheton’s death in 2009 and while the anger of Raw Power has long since dissipated, the band still has some of that proto punk in their veins.
I say “some” not as a dismissal but to point out that age has mellowed the band. No longer the streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm, Iggy is not hesitant to branch out with a jazzy rock tune like “Sex and Money” or even an introspective ballad like the standout “Unfriendly World.” The Stooges may be too old for punk aggression anymore but, as the album title indicates, they definitely have a sense of humor about it.
While Ready to Die reunites all of the band’s living members and surprisingly retains much of the core sound, this isn’t really the same band fans remember. But that’s not a bad thing considering what we get instead is a more matured and assured record. In fact, the songs that try the hardest to sound like classic Stooges, like “Job” and “Gun,” are the weakest on the album. That is with the exception of the title track, which sounds like a long lost Raw Power b-side. The reconstituted Stooges are at their strongest when they forsake punk altogether and explore more unexpected avenues. Fortunately, Ready to Die features plenty of such experiments.