The Stooges – 1969
GENRE: Garage Rock
HIGHLIGHTS: “I Wanna Be Your Dog”
“I Wanna Be Your Dog” is one of the decade’s greatest songs—demonic garage rock riffs, pounding piano and BDSM lyrical allure, all wrapped up in The Velvet Underground’s hand-me-down gowns. Aside from “Search and Destroy”, it is The Stooges’ most recognizable and alluring anthem of proto-punk anarchy.
The reputation of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is so great that the self-titled debut from which it comes has garnered a similar reputation, perhaps unfairly. The Stooges is the “worst” of the band’s “classic” albums, and don’t let the dangerous sexuality of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” cloud your judgment.
Obviously, this album isn’t terrible, or even bad, or even decent. It’s quite good. Almost “damn good.” Yet when compared with “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and the band’s following albums, the rest of The Stooges comes up a bit short.
The droning 10-minute centerpiece, “We Will Fall”, is a too-long and too-stoned dirge of nothingness, complete with Dadaist chants. Same goes for “Ann”, which is only 3 minutes.
The Stooges contains some of the wild and reckless punk energy found on Fun House and Raw Power, but the band has yet to tap into their full potential. The riffs are fuzzy, but they’re elementary. Ron Asheton’s solos are exemplary, but the backing tracks aren’t as off-the-cuff or up-to-snuff.
Likewise, I don’t want to hear Iggy Stooge sing, I wanna hear him shout—rupture his vocal chords like a brazen madman who exposes his penis onstage. That’s the Iggy Pop I want, but that’s not the Iggy Pop we got in 1969. Well, not the Iggy Pop we got in the studio in 1969, at least.
The form is there, but the follow-through isn’t. Aside from “I Wanna Be Your Dog”—the record’s undeniable choice cut—this is The Stooges at their most immature and rudimentary. It still rocks, though, don’t get me wrong.
But if you’re looking for better, more powerful, late-‘60s heavy-metal acid-rock, might I suggest Blue Cheer?