Graded on a Curve:
Iggy and the Stooges,
Metallic K.O.

What a disappointment. Here I’ve been hearing about what a definitive live document and astoundingly raw slab o’ Iggy at his Iggiest Metallic K.O. is FOR YEARS, and having put off the fun until this late date because hell you have to have SOMETHING to look forward to in your golden years I discover it ain’t all that.

Sure, the LP positively drips egg-yolk authenticity (“I’ve been egged by better than you,” says the Iggster) but when my favorite moment on an album is a cover of “Louie Louie” I really have to ask myself how much I love that album. And I once heard a better live version of “Louie Louie” by cult legend and very outsider artist Mikey “Mayor of South Street” Wild in Philadelphia, so put that in your crack pipe and smoke it.

Yeah, Metallic K.O. is “live” alright—you get to hear Iggy deliver such cracks as “We’re the hardest working band in the business, I don’t care we’re if the best” and—on the three and one-half minute waste of space called “Iggy Talks”—“Let’s hear it for the singer. I AM the greatest.” But beyond that I don’t know what you’re paying for, besides “Louie Louie” and an okay version of “Raw Power” and a just alright version of “Cock in My Pocket,” which Iggy says was “cowritten by my mother.” Which is my way of saying this is a comedy album, and while I love comedy as much as the next guy I dislike Lou Reed’s live comedy LP Take No Prisoners for a reason.

I do like the sludgy sound, but James Williamson’s guitar isn’t nearly ugly enough for my tastes, and the rhythm section sounds soggy to boot. Iggy’s mean-spirited dedication of “Rich Bitch” to “all you Hebrew ladies in the audience” is a joke that just doesn’t come off. And come to think of it I feel the same way about “Rich Bitch” itself—it’s as ugly an example of unmitigated misogyny as I’ve ever come across, and in the woman-hating world of rock’n’roll that’s saying something.

Besides, the song itself ain’t all that—just a loose and rather anorexic groove, attention grabbing in a way, stretched across ten and one-half minutes. That said, I do like Williamson’s spin on the guitar. And Scott Thurston’s piano is nothing to scoff at either.

My main problem with Metallic K.O. is that, ironically, it just isn’t metallic enough. Or scary enough. On their studio releases the Stooges sound downright menacing; on the live “Head On” they sound almost anemic. I could swear I hear somebody call “Will you turn it up?” and I share his disgruntlement. And the same goes for “Gimme Danger,” which just kinda sits there like wilted lettuce between slices of white bread, although Williamson has his moment on guitar and Iggy sounds almost inspired towards the end.

But in the end I can say pretty definitively I will never listen to Metallic. K.O. again. Because where’s the danger, I ask you? Because I don’t hear it in Iggy’s cry of “Fuck you, pricks!” If I want a fuck you delivered with real passion I’ll take Michael Gerald of Killdozer over Mr. Stooge any day. So I ask you again, where’s the danger? Huh? Gimme danger!

GRADED ON A CURVE:
C+

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