"Raw Power" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US hard rock act The Stooges. The album was released through Columbia Records in February 1973. After the original Stooges lineup broke up after the release of their 2nd album "Fun House (1970)", Iggy Pop and guitarist James Williamson relocated to London after meeting David Bowie, who helped them get a deal with Columbia Records. After unsuccessfully searching for a bassist and a drummer, Pop and Williamson asked original Stooges members Scott and Ron Asheton to fly over to London and become members of the band again. Ron Asheton who had originally been the band´s guitarist, switched to bass. The band were still completely out there on drugs though and after/during touring in support of the album The Stooges split for a second time.
While the cover artwork depicts Iggy Pop in a sort of glam outfit, the music on "Raw Power" is anything but glam influenced. This is filthy and raw rock´n´roll delivered in an absolutely caustic fashion. Highly aggressive and adrenaline pumped, it´s no wonder "Raw Power" is almost universally hailed as one of the seminal proto punk albums. Iggy Pop sounds positively mad on the album. One moment on the verge of an emotional breakdown and the next commanding and aggressive. I don´t know if he didn´t shoot up for a couple of days before recording the album, but this sounds almost scary at times. Tracks like "Search and Destroy", "You're Pretty Face Is Going To Hell(Hard To Beat)" and the title track were definitely among the most aggressive sounding music released up until then. The band haven´t completely forgotten their jamming psychadelic past though and there are longer jamming type parts on the album too (and a couple of eerie and dark power ballads in "Gimme Danger" and "I Need Somebody"), but the tracks are generally shorter and more edgy than the earlier material by the band. The feeling that the music threatens to beat you to a pulp is not exactly diminished by the ultra raw sound production. If anyone thought the sound on the first two albums was raw, take a listen to this one.
Ultimately "Raw Power" is not the most consistent album and there are tracks that aren´t as great as the best ones on the album, but when the band hit the right notes, they do it with such conviction and fierce energy, that I´m left completely in awe. It´s not an easy album to rate but a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating isn´t all wrong.