Shane’s Rock Challenge: NEW YORK DOLLS – 2006 – One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This
By Shane Pinnegar
The New York Dolls lived, breathed and sweated rock n’ roll – it’s as simple as that.
Years of excess may have weathered them and slimmed their numbers so that only David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain remained from their first run around the ride in the early ‘70s, but with every power chord and every proselytising lyric on this glorious comeback album you can hear – nay, FEEL – the spirit of rock n’ f’n roll.
Despite it’s overly wordy title (a reference to the Greek poet Virgil’s Aeneid), The Dolls’ third studio album – their first since breaking up in 1976 – is a tour de force by a massively influential yet resolutely cult band, and is a paradox in some ways.
The sound of rock n’ roll in all it’s fun and glory it may be, but there is a pall of sadness over the whole album. The memory of Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan and Arthur ‘Killer’ Kane hangs over the record – all original Dolls who passed away in the bleaker years, mostly from drug-related issues.
Johansen – the glam punk Jagger to many – delivered lyrics and vocals which ridiculed the banality of rock n’ roll by their sheer intellectualism: even at their most primal, on the conga-fuelled Dance Like A Monkey, Johansen yelps and wails one minute, then delivers lines like “Ain’t gonna anthropomorphise you / Or perversely polymorphisise you.” Louie Louie this ain’t!
One Day… is a cracker of an album, full of goodies to enjoy over and over. We’re All In Love plays up to the sexually ambiguous reputation of the band, Runnin’ Around and Gotta Get Away From Tommy are simplistic but addictive rock tunes. The aforementioned Dance Like A Monkey is a great choice of single, and Punishing World, Mained Happiness, Fishnets & Cigarettes and I Ain’t Got Nothing rock n’ roll along whilst Johansen reflects wistfully at what might have been, searching but never reaching the goal.
It’s a valid viewpoint from a band of pioneers who, despite their obvious problems and indulgences, did truly break new ground and influenced many, yet never received the critical acclaim, much less the financial rewards, they deserved.
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