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New York Dolls – New York Dolls (1973)

July 29, 2014

[Album 334/1001]NewYorkDollsNewYorkDolls

I’m ill-suited to Twitter.

Only 140 characters?  Who has time to do that kind of editing?!

To appraise the New York Dolls however, I believe I can praise their eponymous debut more by saying less.

I was inspired by a recent 1537 review, where the author somehow managed to boil Sgt. Pepper down to a single, aptly chosen word.

No such brevity here alas, but I’ll attempt to at least stay within ‘tweet’ restrictions in an effort to convey my enthusiasm & hopefully clear up a misconception about the Dolls along the way.

Here goes:

Rolling Stones in drag? The Stones wish. #relevanthashtag

From → 1970s

  1. Nice. A perfectly succinct review. I should try that sometime. I came to this album only a couple of years ago even though I already knew several of the songs. I’m not much of a punk guy so bands that influenced punk (or were punk before punk existed) have rarely been in my musical wheelhouse. This is an exception and I’m really glad I finally gave it a shot. Clearly you’re a fan so I think we’re on the same page.

    • Although our paths diverged on “M” – it definitely sounds like we’re right back on the same page here.

      I wasn’t a big punk fan (but who knows, I may convert as the project goes along) but an era I’ve realized I quite like is the “post-punk” era.

      I’ve been listening to The Pretenders’ self-titled one a lot recently – fantastic!

  2. Guess I’ve always been in the ‘more hype than substance’ category here. I mean, how many (original) NYDs albums? Two.
    And how many worthwhile Stones albums? (Up to the demise of the NYDs in 1974).
    Sorry to sound a bit provocative, but could the stats lie that much?
    Having said that, I’m not really a major Stones fan and am open to being convinced… Will I need a lipstick?

    • It wouldn’t hurt!

      I’d agree there is some sizzle that sells this one more than the steak itself – I think I just like how unsustainable the energy is. NYD was never going to last 5 decades like the stones (though from what I gather, the new NYD stuff’s supposed to be decent).

      I think in this case, when I was first exposed to them 10 years ago or so, I didn’t get the appeal. At least one of my favourites praised the Dolls and I thought, wow you definitely outplayed your heroes then.

      So something clicked this year and I suppose it’s like a ‘born again’ fan – I’m all the more fervent in my admiration of this debut!

      • Thanks for adding some more to your thoughts, Geoff. I love that concept of ‘unsustainable energy’.
        The idea of re-visiting or trying again with an artist/album is a really worthwhile one – and much more open that simply dismissing something that does not have immediate appeal! For me “Bitches Brew” was one of those.

      • That’s on the 1001 – I have it but have yet to explore.

        When it comes to giving artists a second chance, I always think of a commemorative Smiths magazine from 10 or so years ago.

        The singer from Franz Ferdinand wrote the foreword talking about how he initially despised Morrissey’s voice and so he never gave the band a chance.

        But months later, when a friend gave him the single for ‘what difference does it make’ – the more he listened, eventually the voice became what he looked forward to the most.

        It’s funny, when it comes to immediate appeal, I sometimes become a bit nervous when I like something too much right away. A part of me fears diminishing returns on repeated listens!

  3. I think the Dolls had a couple OK songs, but they bands they influenced were vastly superior.

    • It’s worth checking out this one as a complete entity – it I was reminded of the stones ‘exile on main street’ in that way. Not sure if many of the songs are individually spectacular but there’s something about the package as a whole that just works!

  4. jprobichaud permalink

    I was never able to get into the New York Dolls. However, if you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend checking out the documentary “New York Doll”. It focuses on former member Arthur Kane leading up to their reunion shows and is kind of heartbreaking.

    • I have not seen it – thanks for the recommendation,
      I wasn’t a fan until this year (thought they were overhyped) so you may yet convert!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        I don’t know. I’ve tried many times… And whenever I look at David Johansen, I can’t shake that Buster Poindexter song: “Feeling hot, hot, hot…”

      • Not to worry – I have a few groups like that where I’m just not on the same page as the majority. I’m hoping this is the year for the Velvet Underground for me!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        Ha! I love the Velvets! So good.

      • This could be my year then when I get to the Vs!

  5. I am not familiar with NYD, either! I have heard of them, just never made a point to listen.

    • On the first listen, the singer’s voice is kind of annoying, more of a howl, sometimes a monotone howl if that’s even possible!
      But then I found I just couldn’t stop listening to it

  6. Love this LP (and the follow-up) it sounds like a mik-ed up car crash in the lingerie dept.

    Surely if you have head, heart and cojones you have to love Frankenstein, Pills, Jetboy?!

  7. There aren’t enough likes for that last tweet-line!

    • haha, thanks Amrita! The hardest part was condensing it to 140 characters – I think we’re like the author Terry Fallis, who has the great line, why use 7 words when you can use 35!

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