Fun House (Deluxe Edition) [2005 Remaster]

Fun House (Deluxe Edition) [2005 Remaster]

If you ever take the eight or so hours required to listen to the sessions for The Stooges’ second album—collected on the box set 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions—one thing you’ll notice is its repetition. There are no alternate arrangements or variations in approach, no experiments or added instrumentation. There’s just take after take of the same simple songs, at roughly the same tempo, played one after the other in punishing, glorious succession. It doesn’t necessarily make for a varied listening experience, but it does give you a clue to what makes Fun House so great. While 1969’s The Stooges connected the dots between the inspired primitivism of garage pop and the eventual rupture of punk, Fun House went further, mixing free jazz and noise (“L.A. Blues”) with Chicago blues (“1970”), and combining the rhythmic drive of Motown (“T.V. Eye”) and James Brown (“Fun House”) into a sound that had the force of punk, but the hypnotic quality of minimalist composition. This is music whose apparent simplicity is complicated by the feats of lockstep endurance that drive it. The Stooges had captured the sound of bored teenagers lighting the fringes of carpet on fire in the basement; Fun House found the same kids having an internal meltdown on the factory line, and being egged on by the screaming, moaning caveman named Iggy Pop. At a moment when the hippie era was dissipating into the fussiness and sentimentality of prog and arena rock, Fun House was a reminder of the intuitive quality that made rock so appealing in the first place. From here unfolds an entire history of underground music, from the brute elegance of The White Stripes to the psychedelic ugliness of Wolf Eyes to the high- and low-culture obliterations of Sonic Youth and Nirvana. Whether you listen to the original 36-minute Fun House or wade into the hours’ worth of sessions that birthed the album in the first pace, you’ll hear power, purpose, and singular presence in every note.

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