Review Summary: After the abysmal "The Weirdness" in 2007, the veteran proto-punk rock group shows signs of improvement in "Ready to Die", but have a long way to go if they are to show that they still have what it takes to be a great band after all these years.
The Stooges have been through a lot in the past decade since their reunion: A comeback concert marred by the 2003 Blackout, loads of touring, oddly, with most of it being in Europe, especially after the release of "The Weirdness" in 2007; the death of guitarist Ron Asheton in 2009, and the return of James Williamson, who came out of retirement and his prominent post at Sony to play with the Stooges. After Asheton's death, Iggy Pop proclaimed that "The Stooges died with him, [Asheton] but there's still "Iggy and the Stooges."
In 2012, five years after "The Weirdness", it was announced that "Ready to Die" would be released the following April on Fat Possum Records. Thus began the anticipation, sparked with a snippet of "Job" with Iggy dressed as a scarecrow.
Admittedly, when I saw this, I wasn't that impresssed and was baffled. But none the less, I was excited for the album. Sure, it wasn't going to be a second "Raw Power", but that wasn't the point of the album. "Ready to Die" is simply a Stooges record for the sake of being a Stooges record, and not looking to be the next "Raw Power", but to be different and to earn a place among the nearly-perfect discography of the band.
"Ready to Die", though decent when it comes to its songwriting, the instrumental work is perfect for a group like The Stooges. Unfortunately, "Ready to Die" doesn't stay consistent, and tends to go off the rails every now and then. Iggy's vocals are at its best in nearly five years, and compliments the music very well. The only thing missing is Ron Asheton on bass, but in return, we get Mike Watt, who isn't too bad, but lacks the charm and power that Asheton had on the bass.
While there are some flaws in "Ready to Die", it shows that the group still has what it takes to be great and hopefully, if they have a follow-up waiting it the wings, it'll improve on this.