Iggy & The Stooges - Raw Power
Album Comparisons: Raw Power
The 1997 release of Raw Power by Iggy & The Stooges is arguably the loudest rock CD of all time, and it certainly looks like it. There's really no need to comment, as the waveforms below speak for themselves. All tracks are obviously massively distorted to such a degree that they make today's loudest and most crushed releases sound vibrant and open by comparison. Iggy Pop's mix deliberately pushed everything deep into the red zone, and Pop forced the mastering engineer to master at a level far exceeding anything even remotely reasonable. By contrast, the 2010 re-release of the original 1973 David Bowie mix appears to have been completely untouched as far as dynamic range compression. Is this because the 1997 version was so over the top that they didn't dare master the new release at today's levels? It's impossible to know for sure, but it's worth pointing out that a good number of other Legacy CD releases have in fact been compressed, so . . . perhaps?

Search and Destroy

1997 Iggy Pop mix

2010 release (David Bowie mix)

Gimme Danger

1997 Iggy Pop mix

Gimme Danger

2010 release (David Bowie mix)

Gimme Danger

Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell

1997 Iggy Pop mix

Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell

2010 release (David Bowie mix)

Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell

Penetration

1997 Iggy Pop mix

Penetration

2010 release (David Bowie mix)

Penetration

Raw Power

1997 Iggy Pop mix

Raw Power

2010 release (David Bowie mix)

Raw Power

I Need Somebody

1997 Iggy Pop mix

I Need Somebody

2010 release (David Bowie mix)

I Need Somebody

Shake Appeal

1997 Iggy Pop mix

Shake Appeal

2010 release (David Bowie mix)

Shake Appeal

Death Trip

1997 Iggy Pop mix

Death Trip

2010 release (David Bowie mix)

Death Trip
And the winner is: 2010 release (David Bowie mix). Both releases sound terrible, but for different reasons. As far as the Legacy release goes, the mastering is excellent but the mixes sound atrocious. The original tracks were so poorly recorded that there wasn't much anyone could have done to make them more than barely listenable, whether it was Bowie at the console or anyone else, making Raw Power thus qualify as one of the all time worst recorded albums ever released on a major label. The 1997 CD lacks any semblance of dynamics, with all songs distorted beyond belief. "Search and Destroy" in particular devolves into an almost unlistenable cacophony of noise at the end. "Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell" is the loudest track I've ever seen, with an astonishing average RMS of about -3.9 dB. No contest here.