Afterthoughts on The New York Dolls
‘Tweeting’ whilst listening to an album for the first time probably wasn’t the best idea in the world. I was too busy trying to be witty (Twitty?) to give the album my full attention. So to be fair, I went back to it today for another reccy of The New York Dolls eponymous album. I really think it stands up after a few listens. More importantly: it stands up after 36 years.
Homer Simpson once said that Rock attained perfection in 1974. Well, this album is from ’73, so perhaps that explains why it’s just shy of perfect. I love the energy and the edginess, and it straddles different genres with ease. My only major problem is that the songs are a little bit samey. This is one album that could benefit from a token slow number. Everyone knows that ‘raunch’ is best achieved at slower tempos anyway. Also, it sounds a bit tinny. That might just be due to it being a poorly mastered, cheapo CD. Time for a reissue, I feel.
I’m surprised that I like the album so much, as it contains so many of the things that I, and other people, dislike about Rock music. For starters, it’s very ‘loud’. It’s as if the band are screaming “look at us everybody!” all the way through the proceedings. Also, it’s hardly mature or profound. But that’s not always what people want from music. The band’s name, album cover and first song serve as a manifesto for the whole act; and if you can accept them on their own terms, you’ll enjoy this album. It would be easy for some people to hold up The New York Dolls are the epitome of everything that’s wrong with Rock music; but they do ‘bad’ so well, that I couldn’t do that. Like the films Jaws and Alien, it’s very well made schlock.
I know it sounds like I’ve gone soft already, in what is only my fourth post; but I think my affection for this album highlights one of the issues I have with Rock. This is a great album; but many other acts in the following years, even decades, have been influenced by it and done their own poor imitations of it. Metallers, Punks, Goths, and New Wavers obviously lifted ideas from the Dolls. And that’s a major problem with Rock: lack of originality.