Friday, May 28, 2010

Album Face Off

I've always wanted to write music reviews, but, sadly, I tend to be not all that objective when it comes to music. I fear that they would only consist of three words: "Dude, that rocked/sucked." However, I'm rather good at comparing and ranking things (just look in the back entries for that time I decided to use my living room floor to put all my CDs in order of preference), so I've decided to start a feature in which I pit two or more albums against each other to determine, if possible, which is the greater(est). For this first match up, I present to you

Raw Power versus... Raw Power?

I know, some of you may be confused. Is there another Raw Power besides the one by Iggy and the Stooges, you ask. Well, gather 'round, children, it's story time. See, the original 1973 version was mixed by David Bowie, but by the time of the CD re-release in 1997, Iggy Pop had decided that he didn't wanna be perceived as Bowie's dog anymore (I think that joke might be stolen from The Venture Brothers, at least in spirit), so he remixed it. Thus, there are two different versions of the album available.

I kind of prefer the Iggy Pop mix. Bowie's version mixes the instruments much lower than the vocals, making them harder to hear. In the later version there's a more even distribution of volume. However, the original mix does have some very strong merits. For one thing, if you listen carefully, there's some musical parts in this one that get lost on the second mix. For another, to paraphrase some guy at Rolling Stone, the necessity of having to turn it up to hear it properly gave the record an aggressive quality, thus cementing the bands reputation as Godfathers of punk. Historical value aside, the recently re-released Bowie mix, while a bit more expensive, comes with a bonus disc of an Atlanta performance. It's not the best live recording ever, but it does contain some excellent audience abuse.

Basically, though, the differences between the two mixes are subtle enough that unless you're a character from the film High Fidelity, you're not really going to find them that big of a deal. Either way, it's a damn good record, and rightly deserves its place on most top 100 (or whatever) album lists. (See? What did I tell you--no objectivity whatsoever.) So some advice to the consumer: If you're a casual fan or just curious, you'll probably want to get the Iggy mix--most places have it for under $10, so it's the right price. The more hard-core music lover may want to shell out extra for the "new" version of the old mix, though. Devout Stooges fans, however, probably have both.

Note to my readers: I could really use some feedback. Was my little foray into the world of music criticism successful, and if so, what should I match up next? Let It Be v. Let It Be... Naked? V. The Replacement's Let It Be? Stereo v. Mono Pet Sounds? Brandenburg Concerto #2 v. #3? Suggestions are welcome, as long as they don't suck.

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