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on 10 July 2003
After the plaudits currently heaped on the Dolls' first album (more now than then), it's easy to overlook the fact that they recorded a second before they imploded in a mess of lipstick and heroin. How does it fare today?
Pretty well, really. It's more tongue in cheek than the first, with tracks like "Bad Detective" and (especially) "Stranded in the Jungle" verging on the Vaudevillean - perhaps Johansen was giving his not-entirely-serious Buster Poindexter persona an early airing without letting the rest of the band in on the secret?
There are some classic Dolls' rockers, with "Babylon" (NYC, of course), "Puss and Boots" and "Who Are The Mystery Girls?" more than standing comparison with the best on the first album. It has to be said that there are a couple of duffers too - "It's Too Late" is plain dull, while Johnny Thunders' (probably not his real name...) vocal on "Chatterbox" is embarrassingly weak in comparison to Johansen's arrogant, taunting snarl. (Thunders fans are cordially invited to try the Heartbreaker's "LAMF" as an antidote).
The album closes with a couple of stormers. "Don't Start Me Talking" is a stomping, old-style r'n'b number credited to Sonny Boy Williamson, which sets the scene for the album's (and for me, the Dolls') finest track, "Human Being". It's a crude, bellowing roar with a honking sax and a great vocal from Johansen, which epitomises the band's up-yours, in-your-face attitude: "Well if you don't like me, go ahead, find yourself a saint, go ahead now, try to find a boy who's gonna be what I ain't, and what you need is a plastic doll with a brash coat of paint who's gonna sit through the madness and always act so quaint" - and it gets better from there on in. The track sums up the band perfectly, and closed the career of a group that did indeed sample far too much, far too soon (three of them died young, not something to be proud of), but one that has had an influence far out of proportion to anything they dared dream of.
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Although it is more geared toward cover versions than it's predecessor, the eponymous album by the Dolls, this second and final album by the original lineup is by far the superior album. 'The New York Dolls in Too Much Too Soon' is both a key text of Glam Rock and an ur-text of Punk Rock. Dripping with bags of attitude, loads of fun, ridiculously and ebulliently energetic and strutting, the Dolls make the Stones look like teddy bears with their stuffing ripped out of them. Plus, the Dolls were cuter, right girls? Who needs Aerosmith when you coulda had dese boiys?

Like being punched hard in the face with a big soft pillow, this album will make you want to stomp around your house with one hand on your hip whilke you wag an admonishing finger in the face of your head-shaking girlfriend as you show her that you can be a bigger, more gossipy bitch than any woman ever could. A feather boa made of chrome, tracks like 'Babylon' and 'Don't Start Me Talkin' will show her that camping it up with mojo is something only real rock and roll mensch do well - David Johanssen makes Handsome Dick Manitoba of The Dictators look a like a big girls' blouse on this record (incidentally, if you like the Dolls and don't own 'Go Girl Crazy' by The Dictators, buy it now).

'Stranded in the Jungle' is a hoot, 'Showdown' makes spectoresque pop look lame and the girly-fronted 'Chatterbox' is gum-chewing sullenness as poetry.'Puss'n'Boots' is of course the track that the Sex Pistols lifted for 'Liar', only changing the lyrics - good for them, they had impeccable taste! Thunders and Sylvain invented the whole cowboy-lick guitars that gave Steve Jones his signature sound and of course McClaren gave Steve Sylvain's old white Gibson guitar. Jerry Nolan is in the pocket writ large and bassist Arthur Kane made Glen Buxton from Alice Cooper look positively futuristic on the human evolution scale. What's not to love?

All you lucky people now also have the chance to own a decent-sounding version if this landmark platter too. This hi-def master brings out all the dirt that was in the original recording. This still sounds like a nasty punk record, but the dynamics and tone colours leap out like never before. Buy with confidence, blast the 'hood with it while standing on your doorstep while "havin' a chit-chat wit Diana Dors," as Dave J said. Watch that man!
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on 9 July 2008
If you have you know what you're getting with this one. Perhaps the New York Dolls would have evolved and diversified if they hadn't fallen apart as they did, but this album isn't much of a representation of that. That probably sounds like a criticism, but I assure you it's not. The first album, "New York Dolls" was a great album, and another brush with the pop/punk/glam formula that made it what it was is a welcome one, it's not like they released a huge body of work in their short and self-destructive lifespan.
Perhaps this album contains a little more of the cynical humour the band offered so effectively, but it's only a magnification of an existing element, not any great change.
So if you heard and liked the first album, then get this one. If you didn't hear the first, try that one first, or perhaps give this a shot if you like The Pistols, Richard Hell, Guns n Roses, Television, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, The Dead Boys, The Ramones etc.
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on 12 July 2013
After such a stunning debut it was clear that it would be almost impossible to follow and this offering proves the point all too well. That is not to say it is poor, especially if you do not compare the two. As I mentioned when I reviewed the 1st album you still get the impression that it could fall apart at any moment and to me that was the appeal of The New York Dolls - they had done most of it whilst others were still thinking about it. Personal favourite has to be 'Who Are The Mystery Girls'. If you liked the 1st album then the chances are you will also like this. If you're a newcomer then buy the 1st and leave this one until later. Finally saw them (sadly only Johannsen and Sylvain remain intact) live for the 2nd time a couple of years ago, the first time being in the 70's and they still put on an excellent performance. Then as now many could learm much - the New York Dolls are without any doubt the essence of what rock and roll should be!
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on 13 March 2015
Chances are if you're considering this purchase,you know what you are getting musically.Simply put the Dolls have never sounded better,1st class remastering.On the other hand,if you are discovering the Dolls you lucky person.I've lived with this and the first album for over 40years and never tire of them.
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on 15 January 2015
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