The most significant thing about Ready to Die is the return of guitarist James Williamson following the death of Ron Asheton in 2009. Williamson was responsible for the licks on 1973’s ‘Raw Power’, and on ‘Ready To Die’ he brings a similar dirty vigor. He smothers lead single ‘Burn’ with riffs that sound cranked out by fingernails not cleaned since ’73, and gives the track vein-popping ferocity. The cowbell stomp of ‘Job’, meanwhile, sees Iggy bemoaning having a “job” that “don’t pay shit”. This seems ludicrous in the light of those insurance ads, but Williamson’s guitar still makes it sound thrilling.
Iggy, though, is the main focus. Spitting lines about the primal urge of rock’n’roll on ‘Sex And Money’ (“sex and money, sex and money”, he explains) he’s just about beyond self-parody despite the straightforward subject matter. The guy pretty much invented rock’n’roll, after all. On ‘Dirty Deal’ his voice sounds brilliantly husky and parched, somewhere between Marilyn Manson’s malevolent croak and the untethered yelp of the Iggy of yore. It’s impressive that singing about the careless abandon of life seems as natural as ever for him, even as he hurtles towards 70.- Jamie Fullerton of nme.com