Guitarist James Williamson hasn't appeared on a Stooges record since 1973's Raw Power. But on "Burn," the first song on the protopunk band's new album, Ready to Die, his commanding guitar riffs bring to mind the Stooges of yore. The album also features punk legend Mike Watt, who seems to be everywhere these days, on bass.
Ready isn't as electrifying as the Stooges' first two albums, but it's the closest they've come to capturing the unbridled energy of those recordings. Iggy Pop sings of rebellion and the stress that comes with fighting the status quo. He also tackles the topic of aging, remarking that "feelings of youth die looking for truth." Though the Stooges have gotten older, they haven't changed much, especially their offbeat humor.
Many parts of the album rock, but some of the slower songs, like "Unfriendly World," take cues from Pop's solo work, which tends to be more subdued. "The Departed" brings the band's sense of longing to the fore, referencing their 1969 song "I Wanna Be Your Dog" while honoring departed bandmate Ron Asheton.