53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2000
Picture the scene - ill in bed with an abcess that confined me to a temporary life under the duvet, I put on the stereo out of desparation, eager to find something that could kick me out of my state. Minutes later, I was out of bed, pouting to the mirror, playing air guitar so vigourously that I ripped my arm out of my socket (well, sprained it anyway), and screeching along with the first verse of Personality Crisis.
A miracle? Well, no. Simply put, the New York Dolls' debut album is the most arrogant, glamourous, rude, cheeky, snarling, potent and above all brilliant rock album ever made. This album has everything, in fact, that a perfect rock album should.
Part Rolling Stones, part Stooges, part charity shop chic, the Dolls took image and music and mashed it together so effortlessly that the whole act seemed natural. Magnificent put-downs (Looking For A Kiss, Trash), arrogance par-excellance - God, they even get their covers to sound like their own (Pills). Johansson's snarl is perfect, Thunders' riffs sound more like a finely trained aural assault unit, and Nolan's drumming thuds along giving the Dolls the best guitar-drums axis ever committed to record.
You want attitude? You got it. You want glamour? You got it. You so desparate to prove the validity of rock 'n' roll as rebellion that you want your favourite bands to cuss old women? Hell, that's there too. If rock ever became a subject at school, well, here's your Shakespeare, boys!
No weak tracks. No substitute. No excuse not to buy it. Why I say I'm in love, you best believe I'm in love L-U-V.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2007
Unbelievably, for someone who was a punk in 1977, I have only just got around to checking out the New York Dolls. Yeah, I was aware of their influence on punk, the MacLaren connection, etc, but I'd just never bothered exploring beyond that.
Well, three decades late, I can see what the fuss was about. This is storming, raucous rock 'n' roll, setting a template not just for punk, but also for much of the '70s pop sound.
It's not difficult to see how much they influenced the Pistols, with Thunders' guitar licks liberally copied by Steve Jones. At the time they wouldn't have sounded (or looked) like anyone else. Today, they still sound sh*t hot, redy to influence a new generation of rockers.
Don't put it off any longer, buy this.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2004
The New York Dolls were one of the earliest proto-punk bands to come out of New York. They were there when it all began, and did it harder and more sleazy than anyone else.
From the early days you knew it was going to be a rough ride as all of the band dressed in semi-drag, and one by one they became heroin addicts. By the end of it all, it was very messy with the survivors only achieving a slightly less extreme lifestyle, which would lead to further great musical output and the deaths of two band members from their excesses.
The music though - that was what they excelled at! Maybe it's a little toned down on this first record thanks to the production of Todd Rundgren, but what he did manage to do was to make the music far more accessible. 'Personality Crisis' is one of those songs that you cannot get out of your head once it's in there, and other tracks like 'Frankenstein' and 'Subway Train' are just as good. It's rooted in pretty conventional 50's rock and roll but with a heavy, heavy dose of 70's guitars and lots of attitude and a very rough edge. It's like listening to Chuck Berry after a bottle of scotch and a pound of amphetamine, and looking at 5 persons of undefinable gender after an explosion in a charity shop, but it's hell of an experience to crank up the volume and let this hit you in the head!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2007
This debut album by the New York Dolls is a must for anybody with an interest in Glam Rock and or punk. They brief career influenced a whole shed load of subsequent groups such as the Pistols and the Clash.
Their appearance was stunning even for the decade that fashion forgot, how many times do you see 5 men dressed in not so good drag and make up? I remember them playing on "The Old Grey Whistle Test" Everyone at school was stunned the next day and this was a pity as the music was forgotten even though they were awesome.
Just listen to this album and you too will be hooked by the Dolls raucous proto punk of the highest order
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If you've never heard the New York Dolls you are in for a treat if you buy this CD. These guys were chaotic and enormously unsuccessful in their heyday but its testament to their song writing that the music they wrote in 1971 still sounds lively.
This lot tend to be talked about as if they were synonymous with Glam rock, but despite their hairspray, platforms and makeup (they were copying no one when they thought that was a good idea!) punk is a closer bedfellow. The songs are tinged with real throwaway pop sensibility (think the female vocal group of the 60s) and their lyric content is equally adolescent and throwaway, though clever and entertaining with it.
There is real pop ability in here too. Trash is hugely catchy, Jet boy a riot and Personality Crisis a bombastic, humorous masterpiece. I love singer David Johansen's argument with himself ("yeah yeah yeah! No No No!") at its start. And the shambolic attempt at a ballad that is Lonely Planet Boy is a treat.
No bad songs on this album and no one who copied them came even close. This is a great album.
The New York Dolls 1973 self-titled debut album was undoubtedly a very important recording, being generally regarded as something of a forerunner of the punk music explosion (on both sides of the Atlantic) that was soon to follow its release. However, for me, whilst the album is certainly not a bad record and has a number of outstanding songs on it, I do not rate it as a classic recording, along the lines of other early 'punk' classics such as Iggy And The Stooges' 1973 release Raw Power or The Ramones 1976 self-titled debut album. Indeed, I would argue that The Dolls' sound owed more to early Rolling Stones (with some obvious R'n'B influences), whilst their look was more akin to glam rock bands such as Alice Cooper (who, for me, were actually a much more sophisticated songwriting force in the early 1970s). In fact, when guitarist Johnny Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan left The Dolls in 1975 to form the (sadly short-lived) band The Heartbreakers, it was this successor band that (sound-wise) fitted more naturally under the punk banner.
However, regardless of the merits of the debate over genre (which are, of course, largely superfluous), on this debut album the band sound brilliantly anarchic and inspired. In fact, the rawness and vibrancy of the sound rather belies the fact that the album was produced by (later, mega-producer) Todd Rundgren - and bears out Rundgren's later comment that he actually had little impact on the final sound of the record. For me, the standout songs on the album are probably Personality Crisis and Jet Boy, which respectively begin and end the album (and were two of the many singles released from the album). Both these songs feature a totally full-on sound (to me, reminiscent of Jumping Jack Flash-era Stones), as well as showcasing some great guitar playing by Messrs. Thunders and Sylvain. Other notable songs include Trash, with its more overtly poppy and sparse sound, Lonely Planet Boy, an atypical, but heartfelt, lament featuring Johansen's most subtle vocals (plus a novel saxophone backing), and a great rocking version of Bo Diddley's Pills, featuring a great harmonica intro from Johansen.
For me, not quite a five star record, but great stuff nevertheless.
on 5 April 2013
Like the title of their second album the New York Dolls really were 'too much too soon', hence many have attempted to classify them without any proper success - metal, glam, punk etc and on it goes. Who cares! The Doll's did it all while many were still thinking about it with classics such as 'Personality Crisis', 'Lookin' For A Kiss', 'Bad Girl' and for sheer chaos the outstanding gem that is 'Frankenstien'. All you need is any music player that goes to 11 on the volume setting and away you go. In their short 'heyday' they influenced so many and arguably still are. Like many innovators early burn-out was inevitable but at least albums like this remain as a valuable reminder. 40 years on and this album is still essential and many could learn much. Most so called rock bands today tend to simply go through the formulaic motions and in the process loose that vital raw edge. Probably not entirely their fault as bands such as The New York Dolls have already been there. I reckon that only The Damned and their classic 1st album came close getting that feeling of both lunacy and energy onto disc quite like the New York Dolls did?
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2004
the new york dolls were together just long enough to make a coupla albums, nobody seems to have heard of them, but most of the punks in london around '77 loved 'em and could state them as a major influence. it's certainly fair to say junkie/guitarist johnny thunders is somewhat of a cult figure and guitar player amongst punks. steve jones (of the british punk godfathers the sex pistols) cites mr. thunders as his idol and according to goody-two-shoes bandmate glen matlock, he used to pratice thunders' on-stage moves in front of the mirror. poser.
anyway, enough with the history, let's get down to the review. this is an essential slice of pre-punk/glam-rock. basic rock music (think stones) given a trashy, gritty, streetwise edge. these guys were labeled a bunch of queens due to their red-lipstick-and-patent-leather image, but i certainly wouldn't want to bump into 'em on a dark night.
david johansen sneers, snarls and screams his way through all 11 tracks, while the band work up a formidable racket behind him. sloppy, slashing, screeching, divebombing guitars run rampant thanks to the aforementioned guitar hero and genius johnny thunders. not bad for a guy stoned half out of his brain for most of his waking life. all you young wannabe guitarists, listen and learn. jerry nolan's drums provide the crashing, pulsating beat and arthur kane's groovy bass chugs along in the background. there's also some well-placed honky-tonk piano thrown in here and there, and some wailing harmonica on the cover 'pills'.
the lyrics cover- amongst other things- longing, personality crises, junkies, vietnamese babies, loneliness, frankenstein, and a character going by the name of jet boy. they're sleazy (think iggy and the stooges. they are also BRILLIANT.) and druggy, but nothing so shocking or graphic as sleaze-grit-trashmeisters the velvet underground displayed in their masterpiece 'heroin'. (again, they are among my top 5 favourite bands. amazing.) the dolls are altogether more fun, more upbeat, more glam, more rock-orientated and a lot less arty than the v.u, making them quite a bit more accessible.
i defy anyone of any age not to buy this cd and enjoy every single second. every punk fan needs this now. teenagers listening to _______ (insert nasty adj. here) top 40 commercial rock also need this, a slap round the head and three months listening to the velvet underground.
on 25 February 2014
I first heard about the New York Dolls through Morrissey's obssession with them. Well I was obssessed with Morrissey (and Robert Smith). But I never got round to hearing them until the mid-noughties when a friend played me "Jet Boy". I instantly loved it. But I never bought any of their stuff. then when I saw this for £1.99 on mp3 downloads I couldn't resist it. It really is a terrific album. Very lively and full of bouncy punky tunes. It's worth buying for Jet Boy alone but there are a lot of good tracks on here.Buy it - you won't regret it.
on 7 February 2014
A brilliant LP, I love the melodies of this LP the guitar riffs are very distinctive, and I like cover of the record as it has a glam, gritty, punkish feel. despite the band members' life style in which many died young, they were a classic band and I believe this was their best masterpiece of their era.