:: Monday, September 13, 2004 ::

Punk Rock Countdown: No. 19
"Search and Destroy," Iggy and the Stooges
Recorded in 1972, a few years before the punk movement emerged from its underground, garage-band roots, "Search and Destroy" is my favorite song from the godfathers of punk (and garage) rock. Iggy's dark-hearted lyrical description of himself (or his persona) -- as "a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm/I'm a runaway son of the nuclear a-bomb" -- helped define my post-flower power generation of "the world's forgotten boy." We grew up with the Cold War, lived under the specter of nuclear annihilation (the title itself evokes a wartime mood), and came of age as the cyber age was being born ("look out honey 'cause I'm using technology"). A scorching guitar underscored Iggy's feral vocals, combining to give the song a post-apocalyptic feel. Listening to "Search and Destroy," I feel as though I'm wandering with the singer as he sifts through the ruins of a wasteland, surviving by his wits and intent on rebuilding a world from the remnants of the one that had passed away. In this, "Search and Destroy" evokes the thoughts of the prophet Isaiah, who speaks of a generation that "shall build the old wastes" and "raise up the former desolations" (Isaiah 61:4).

And our protagonist, this world's forgotten boy, this outcast of a society, realizes in a moment of clarity that he is lost. He pleas for a bit of salvation -- from this wasteland and perhaps from himself, too -- and this plea forms an underlying theme of "Search and Destroy." Evoking an image of Saul/Paul's conversion on the Damascus road, Iggy sings:
Honey gotta strike me blind
Somebody gotta save my soul
Baby penerate my mind
The returns to the stark reality:
And I'm the world’s forgotten boy
The one who’s searchin', searchin' to destroy

:: Andrew 08:39 + ::

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