Sunday, March 2, 2014

Track Of The Week: The Stooges, "Loose"

As we have unpacked our belongings in our new house, I have come across relics that I had long-ago packed up boxes and forgotten about.  One such box contained cassette tapes and mix CDs that I made over the years.  I brought one to the car to accompany me on a grocery run, and buried in it was a white-hot piece of pure rocknroll dynamite and one of my favorite songs to blast over the car stereo.

The song in question is "Loose" by The Stooges, from their Fun House album, which I consider to be their zenith.  Their preceeding debut is still rough and has a fair amount of filler, and their next and last record, Raw Power, is great but a little too refined.  "Loose" in many ways is the ultimate distillation of their attitude and approach.  It starts with some trashy guitar, wild drumming, and Iggy Pop's deep voice intoning "look out," and then the band lifts off into a loud, skanky riff with a primal yelp by Iggy setting them off.  He is at his best on this record, raw-voiced and animal-like, blatantly bragging that he'll "Stick it deep inside, 'cause I'm loose."  The wall of feedback behind the riff is seductive and overwhelming.

As much as I dig the riff, my favorite part comes at two minutes in, when Iggy drops out and there is one of the most brutal guitar solos of all time.  It is stupidly simple, a million miles away from Eddie Van Halen or Jimi Hendrix, just a few notes.  But the guitar sounds absolutely tortured, its pains and moans echoing the animal lust in Iggy's voice.  It makes all the hard rock male posturing of a song like "Hot Blooded" by Foreigner just sound all the more silly, even if it isn't musically complex.

Of course, complexity and skill can be deceptive.  While the Stooges might sound like they're tossing this song off, they did over twenty takes of it to get this gem of mayhem exactly right.  To paraphrase Dolly Parton, it takes a lot of work to sound this trashy.

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