I thought I would share my initial thoughts on Raw Power, unedited. I was a little drunk on scotch.
1: Search and Destroy
No overdubs, so we get right to it from the very beginning: Raw Power has a simple enough formula, like any good rock pedigree. Bass and drums as a rhythm section, some guitar, a lead guitar and a vocalist.
So does Papa Roach, I guess.
But it’s the timbre seven seconds in, the rush of the guitar and the extra distortion, that me me excited. “Look out honey, ’cause I’m using technology”. . . and then at 2:33 in the rhythm section fuzzes out and everyone else PANICS.
Papa Roach has never panicked, and that is why I love rock and roll. And hate Papa Roach.
Music has a formula, be it classical or rock, but the formula never made it happen without plugging in your soul to it. The parameters of “punk” or “rock” or “baroque” are the equivilent of the difference of “haiku” and “sonnet” and “sestina”. You use words in a poem, so as long as the syllabuls are the right ammount, it’s cool, right? Well, no. Fuck no, Papa Roach.
It’s 1973. Let’s get the band back together. Demote the guitarist to bass guitar, but the drummer is his brother so they’ll just do a backbeat section like doing twinspeak with your fraternal brother, both on the jags and staring at each other. Make sure the guitarist is so good he can stop listning when he needs to. And let me introduce you to Iggy, Mr. Bowie. He’s extremely high, a parinoid high. Press record.
2: Gimme Danger
At first you think it’s a nice send-up of more-street-than-hippy Doors, with the bells and the acoustic guitar. But at forty-five seconds in, the tambourine stops shimmiring and pounds in nails with the bass drum, the sinister guitar comes in, and Jim Morrison turns into Lou Reed.
Oh, and Iggy returns at the 1:23 mark, where the band reaches the climax of the song. “Where are the gonna go from here? It’s three and a half minuites long?” Well they end the song, slowly, sounding like the best U2 song that was written in 1973.
Did I mention the formula? Three quarters of the song for you to get it, a quarter of the song to get moody? Still on course here.
3: Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell
There’s a real pop rock sincerity going on amongst sheer rock violence.
Vocals: cute lines like “I want to fall into a love so sweet”. Imagine if a broken crack vial had a huge erect cock. Now imagine if that cock had a mouth. Now imagine if that mouth ate a whiskey bottle full of ninety proof. Then sang “I want to fall into a love so sweet”. And screaming “hey” like Wild Man Fisher is being very serious about something.
Guitar: Sloppy drunk dope blues soloing. And angry. And a poppy little arpeggiated intro to the verses.
Rhythm section: Keep pounding, keep staring at each other.
Be sure to take a Phillips screwdriver and bust up the cones on your speakers, too.
What the fuck did the studio people think of this? This doesn’t make me want to take him to Berlin later and suck his dick. This makes me want to punch faces.
Love that Yoko could stop by for some guest vocals. And the “Sympathy For the Devil”-esque backing vocals really add merit to a song about buttfucking.
Love that Prime Cutz could stop by for some guest vibes, too. Similar to his work in “Ah, Beauty”. A delight.
Does Angus Young and Billy Gibbons know that other people hve heard this?
5: Raw Power
So the title track is the worst song on the album. Other than the formula working (here comes the guitars about 3/4 of the way in), incredibly uninspiried lyrics and vocal delivery, no dynamic change, CLEANER guitars. Boring.
This is the song that punk rock made their Rosseta Stone. Jesus, guys.
Raw Power Game: try to imagine something pounding out those insistent piano notes other than a drug- or cock-related object. Good luck!
6: I Need Somebody
Another sleeper, but it’s good to get the we’re-not-from-outer-space-we-know-our-roots song. Bravo. Must have been out of drugs.
7: Shake Appeal
Thank God! Welcome back! The handclaps are so sincere, the moronic lyrics with real poor diction are sung in physcotic earnest. From a deep baritone cum sound to a trannie voice cooing about sex appeal. The song just starts and ends. Nothing happens but the dirtiness. I read somewhere that The Strokes made rock and roll “slutty” again. This is more “drug-condoned rape-y” than “slutty”. I approve.
Sonically the guitar solo is a bright pile of metal burning phosphorus white. Then Jerry Lee Lewis cums. Fade that slutty shit out.
The irony of the “one two three four” count off on this song is almost as high as David Lee Roth dedicating the tenth mysoginistic song “for the ladies” on Van Halen I. Oh, THIS one is for the ladies. . .
8: Death Trip
This album begins and ends with, sonically, the same song. Panic rock. He says “sick boy” like it has a secret street meaning, and it means him. The best guitar solo of the bunch. The rhythm section never looks up, never stops doing the same thing. The distort and the fuzz builds and builds, then at 5:54 the song ends. From 5:55 to 6:07 they do the song again.
Raw emotion. Panic. Aggression. It really isn’t important what media they chose, I guess. Just that they desided to share. Someone’s unique contribution to the world is what art, or rock, is, not the formula. That 3/4 song 1/4 emote formula is the basis for most music. Doing it your way is the important part. You are not punk. You are you. Get uncomfortable. Press stop.