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 The Weirdness

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RFA

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PostSubject: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:38 am

I will preface this topic with the fact that I am new to the forum and do not wish to rehash old discussions but.................. I held off getting the new Stooges album from the advice of a dedicated fan, he deemed it not worth a listen and very disappointing. Yesterday I was trawling, not Trollin', through one of my favourite 2nd hand record shops and picked up The Weirdness with a bonus disc, one sided with some extra tracks for about $25 US. Iggy signs like it is a solo album, the ghosts of some of his appalling 80s efforts rear their haeds, the lyrics are often shallow rhymes and it is totally devoid of searing Ron solos so evident in Funhouse and Dark Carnival/Destroy All Monsters. No offence to Ron, Scott and Mike but who drove the content and direction of this record?
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sway

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:46 am

its not a good album....however, i always thought it sounded like an album recorded by a group of guys that hadnt played together in 30 something years. a weak record, yes...but its sounds like they were having fun.

it should be considered that their mindsets...in their middle-ages...MUST be far different than what it was in the late 60's to mid 70's.

basically...they were different people at the point of time that album was recorded. thier outlooks on life/success/etc atleast somewhat different. different inspirations/etc.

i agree that it sounds more like an iggy record, than a stooges record.

whenever i listen to it, only two songs stick in my mind as sounding sorta like stooges songs.
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adams66



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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:39 am

whenever i listen to it, only two songs stick in my mind as sounding sorta like stooges songs.

Which two, Sway?

Cheers,

Richard
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homesickjameswilliamson
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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:16 pm

i think its a great record, although i think on reason is because i was alive when it came out, dunno just sticks with me as the first stooges album out when i was alive

but i think its a great album, lyrically some parts are ridiculous, even by iggy standards but others arent so bad

rons guitar in parts is amazing and sounds like him alot

the mix is a bit weird, we've talked before on the forum about if it was the three blind mice/stooges, albini or whoever mixed it or produced it but it doesnt sound amazing, at least it couldve sounded better maybe, i dont know i dont have a head for music production and sounds

also what were the extra tracks RFA? i've never seen a two disc one before, unless its the vinyl, although i always thought that was one vinyl and not two

although i'd have to agree with this

Quote :
who drove the content and direction of this record?

sway has some good points too, about their age, and someone else stated before that iggy once mentioned they didnt know what to do for the album, or who to appeal too i think the point was, thats why they left off the 'better' songs like claustrophobia/o solo mio/sounds of leather

(btw i should point out when i say i like the weirdness, i dont consider the 12 track CD release, the real weirdness for me is the 16 track vinyl only release)
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Loose1969
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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:39 pm

After "The Stooges" and "Fun House", oc course it's gonna fall flat by comparison. But I still like it, silly lyrics and all. Ron is awesome on this album, you can hear how he'd improved over the years. It's a good album. Not GREAT, but definitely good.

I still prefer the Skull Ring songs though.
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Nadja

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:50 pm

Loose1969 wrote:
. Ron is awesome on this album, you can hear how he'd improved over the years. .

Ron's playing was ALWAYS awesome of course
IMO he didn't need to improve after the first album though...!


Last edited by Nadja on Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PineappleExpress
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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:53 pm

yeah I agree, the album is nothing in comparison to their first 2 albums.

Although, I think "My Idea of Fun" is a great song with cool lyrics and a GREAT guitar solo.
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Nadja

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:05 pm

PineappleExpress wrote:
Although, I think "My Idea of Fun" is a great song with cool lyrics .

haha, I've had hell of a time trying to work out just what they mean, but I quite like this song lyrics-wise too. I don't much like the lyrics of most of the other tracks. 'Passing Cloud' is kind of sad tho, sorrowful
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sheddy

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:14 pm

I too would like to know what extra tracks were on this disc.
I got the Japanese edition with 13 tracks, including o solo mio, which I think is a great track.

It's a good album, but obviously you can't compare with the original stuff.
It's really let down with some bad lyrics.
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PineappleExpress
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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:24 pm

Nadja wrote:
PineappleExpress wrote:
Although, I think "My Idea of Fun" is a great song with cool lyrics .

haha, I've had hell of a time trying to work out just what they mean, but I quite like this song lyrics-wise too.

really? well i kind of got it the first time:

man's cruelty to man and how it's sorta never ending or it passes on to others (revenge etc.)
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Nadja

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:11 pm

yes, in a general sense, obviously this is what it means, I just got a bit bogged down in a discussion about the literalness of the phrase 'my idea of fun is killing everyone' and stuff like that.
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trailerborn

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:31 pm

I'm blaming the end result on Steve Albini. He describes himself as an 'engineer' as opposed to 'producer'. At this point in the game the Stooges definitely needed a firm hand in the studio, a real producer. Albini has done some fine work in the past (I love his solo stuff) but I think he was too intimidated by the band (his heroes!) to make any tough calls like - "Hey Iggy. Wanna try those vocals again with some feeling this time?" or "Hey Ron, not your strongest riff, why not ...." etc.

Jack White would've done a fine job, but I don't think Iggy's ego would allow for creative direction from a young upstart. (Weird considering the Green Day & Sum 41 contributions to Skull Ring).

I can only dream about how fine Ron would've sounded in the hands of the people that produced the Grinderman record. Now THAT is how a wah-wah should sound in the 21'st century.

To his credit, Albini wanted the album to open with 'O Solo Mio', hands down their strongest new track. Iggy nixed that in favor of the more 'commercial' stuff. Even top-shelf artists like Paul McCartney & the Stones have given up on making 'hit' records. Might as well shelve the commercial aspirations and just let loose with freakiest shit possible. (Someone please tell this to Williamson!)

That said, despite the weak vocals/production/performance - 'My Idea of Fun' is a KILLER track.
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RFA

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:07 am

All valid points, good to get a new direction and understand the record more. As mentioned the final 4 tracks on side c of the vinyl are the strongest. Sway you make an astute observation about the band being different people. I suppose seeing them perform the first 2 albums material in their live set swept me away in a nostalgia trip and an expectation that the sound could be reproduced with new songs, a difficult task for anyone given the potency of Funhouse, but I do feel that Ron's trademark lead breaks are hard to find. Take Iggy's forst solo outing and compare it to his latest, the Stooges result is far better.
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dumdumboy



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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:55 am

the weirdness is a shocker. if it wasnt by the stooges would we listen to it ? i play it just because its the boys back in town . musically i give it 6 out of 10 lyrically 2 out of 10
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zenta138

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:21 pm

Mexican Guy is the only one in the disc with any of the groove that made Funhouse such a great record. (still a few baaad lyrics, but a rocking song.)
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Luzern

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:21 am

It is disappointing that they did not include a "proper" studio version of "Mind Room" which I consider a very strong new song. The Stooges' best work has always been "reduced to the max"/"less is more" type of stuff and "Mind Room" truly fits the bill. It is dark, menacing, "primitive" in a good way and really takes flight in the listener's imagination. Let's hope they worked on it for "The Weirdness" and it will appear on an official outtakes collection.

As to "The Weirdness" a different producer would have made a world of difference. If Rick Rubin had produced the album (he was first choice and was turned down by the band, because his fee was considered too high) it would perhaps have been even better then the first two albums. Rubin's basic sound, zen-like approach and meticulous pre-production work on a band's songs would have been exactly right for The Stooges in 2006.
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homesickjameswilliamson
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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:57 am

i dunno i dont think rubin wouldve done them any favours either, still wouldve gone for albini's

and i dont think jack white couldve done a good job, iggy has stated he doesnt like how some of the white stripes albums sound

wouldve been cool if they got john cale (if he still does production) to do it, though that would really set up the expectation meter, and lets not forget its the songs/lyrics most people dont like not the production

don't know many producers, and even fewer i'd think are any good, but does it not say on it produced by three blind mice, maybe its just mixed by three blind mice or something, but it was probably the stooges that wanted it to sound like that
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Chazz Avery

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:18 am

trailerborn wrote:
I'm blaming the end result on Steve Albini. He describes himself as an 'engineer' as opposed to 'producer'.
Luzern wrote:
...a different producer would have made a world of difference.
I've said it several times, what we hear on The Weirdness is no fault of Albini's. I've heard dozens of album he's recorded and there isn't a dud in the bunch. His recording techniques capture the pure sound of the music and are about the best of the bunch. His recordings reek of dynamics and power.

The problem with The Weirdness is, first, our expectations. I think it would be hard for them to create benchmark sounds an they initially did. Also, they're a band of fellows in greatly different mindsets than before added by not having played together in over 30 years.

I think the songs themselve are a bit subpar but the BIG problems are the mixing, presumably by 3 Blind Mice. Clearly Albini didn't mix this album. Albini would NEVER have made a mix like this. Most of the problems stem from the boneheads at Abbey Road who mastered the mixes and squashed all the dynamics and power out of the recordings. Their overhanded use of compression and limiting in addition to the contemporary tendency to make recordings as loud as possible are what damaged this album. If anyone checks these recording (from the CD) in wave form, you'll see that they're peaked out to the max with several bits completely clipped out. Again, Albini would never have done this. Mastering is the final step which can make or break an album.

Iggy's choice to use a Shure SM-58 mic for recording instead of using one of Albini's legendary high-quality vintage studio mics didn't help matters. SM-58s are great mics, especially for live performance, but as a studio vocal mic, they have their limits.

I haven't heard the vinyl version which I've read was mastered elsewhere than Abbey Road. I've read that it sounds a bit better. Was it also produced by 3 Blind Mice? Is it the same mixes mastered differently?
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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:00 am

Hi Chazz,

I agree with you, concerning the Weirdness' problem with the mixing.
My main points of criticism are:

- Ron's guitar tracks are to compressed, I miss that razor sharp full-frequency sound
he had on their first album and to a lesser extend on Fun House. Ron's guitar work was always so special -
you can hear it's Ron on the Weirdness because of his way of playing- but not from the sound.

- Where is the Bass guitar? On their first two albums the bass is
clearly audible and an important part of the songs (Little Doll, Dirt..)
But on the Weirdness it all drowns in the low-end mud.

- The way the drums sound, note that Iggy complains about that in this new Spin article...
But actually this is the typical Albini Drum-Sound. Drums are loud and supposed to sound like
"live" -plus the bassdrum gets a lot of Bass at 40-45 Hz and less "kicky". This works great for Nirvana
and the Pixies, but I don't like it on this record.

But, Chazz, the dynamics on the Weirdness are actually quite O.K. , look at that waveform, above is from Skull Ring (extremely loud and hard-limited) and ATM from The Weirdness below.
I won't blame the sound on that. It's just the Stooges were recorded as mentioned above - taken away most all trademark sounds -plus Iggy's wannabe-witty-but-sometimes-shitty lyrics ...
and there comes "the worst" Stooges album!



Let me guess, Albini uses vintage Neumann mics for vocals?!
(off topic: I recently found a *new* VF14 tube for 1, I'm rich Very Happy )

But wouldn't it be funny to hear people say in 30 years how underrated and ahead of the times it was?! ;-)
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Nadja

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:26 am

OUTBURST wrote:
Ron's guitar work was always so special -
you can hear it's Ron on the Weirdness because of his way of playing- but not from the sound.

- Where is the Bass guitar? On their first two albums the bass is
clearly audible and an important part of the songs (Little Doll, Dirt..)
But on the Weirdness it all drowns in the low-end mud.

;-)

exactly.
I'd also love to hear the vinyl version, if it sounds better!
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Luzern

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:43 pm

Interesting observations Chazz and Outburst! Even though the "Skull Ring" tracks are way more compressed than "The Weirdness" they sound better. And yes, Albini's recording in terms of technical aspects is a good one. The problem was that he has this hands-off approach. He is only about getting a band's sound and does not interfere with material/songwriting. Rubin would have worked with the band on the material and would have been able to edit and structure the compositions.

Finally in the mixing of "The Weirdness" the essence of the sound of the band was lost. The vinyl does sound slightly better, though. Plus it has two of the best tracks from the sessions on the bonus disc: "Sounds Of Leather" and "O Solo Mio".

In terms of sound I think the best re-union recordings are the two versions of "You Better Run" they did in 2004/2005. On those tracks they truly sound like The Stooges and Ron's guitar sounds alive and 3-dimensional like a wild beast!
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JW82
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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:51 am

zenta138 wrote:
Mexican Guy is the only one in the disc with any of the groove that made Funhouse such a great record. (still a few baaad lyrics, but a rocking song.)

Mexican Guy sounds to me like Weirdness' version of '1969'. Not my favorite though, but I agree that it's a rocking song.
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sway

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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:12 pm

my idea of fun almost sounds raw power-ish. i do like the song. not one of my fav stooges tunes, but memorable.

the other track i like is mexican guy. lyrics a little goofy, yes...but...it sounded at least somewhat like the stooges. which of course, can be attibuted to ron's guitar playing. it has that heavy asheton dronal/bluesy/weird/rythmic quality.
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homesickjameswilliamson
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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:05 pm

i think mexican guy was one of the few stream of consciousness lyrics iggy did on weirdness, i read (cant remember source) that passing cloud is as well, actually i think i read passing cloud is a complete improv from all of them

but i think i read mexican guy and passing cloud and maybe something else were all improvised lyrics
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G, F#, E
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PostSubject: Re: The Weirdness   Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:59 pm

Iggy's lyrics are dreadful and his singing is a bit flatr sometimes but Ron, Mike and Scott are on the whole very good. "My Idea Of Fun", "Mexican Guy" and the 4 bonus tracks are all very good though. The rest is filler. Iggy refused to use Albani's all mics which is a shame, he's a great producer...though he doesn't like that title.
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