The term Glam Rock had been tossed around in the early 1970s to emphasize groups that played Hard Rock and wore clothing and makeup that was typically reserved for women. No band met this criteria better than the New York Dolls. Their career was very brief, yet their debut album made an impact. Is it any good? Let’s find out.
First off is Personality Crisis which begins with some loud rock riffs, piano and some rather distinctively male shouting, before going into a different sort of song than you’d expect. The lyrics are delivered in a shouty sort of way. Regardless of that sort of appeal of it, it is a good song. The guitar playing here is fantastic, and the sound and tone of it is very good. Good song, and better than you’d expect.
Next is Looking For A Kiss has an interesting spoken work introduction, before launching into a more subdued sort of song that is very good listening. This song is great musically, and it sounds as fresh and unique today as it did back in 1973. Very catchy as well, it is an interesting listen, especially lyrically.
Vietnamese Baby comes next, beginning with a gong sound, and some wonderfully mixed guitars. This song is likely talking about the Vietnam War. There are some interesting drum roll sounds throughout this piece, and the song is decent and catchy. Some great lead guitar playing towards the end here is brilliant as well.
Lonely Planet Boy begins with acoustic guitars and some more calm singing from the New York Dolls. This is a quite different listen about being in love with someone. There are some different musical touches here, including keyboard and saxophone. This is a wonderful listen, and is quite gentle to hear. It gets very subtle towards the end.
Following is Frankenstein which is a longer piece, which begins with a loud, guitar driven intro. It then launches into a Hard Rock piece that is very enjoyable listening. This is different music, and very awesome to hear. A loud, raw and rocking tune, more a thing to mosh along to then to intellectually listen to. The way that the word Frankenstein is said is inimitable, and the guitar work here is awesome. A great listen, but gets very shouty towards the end. The ending itself is rather quirky.
Next is Trash which is referring to a lover as trash. It is a shorter and more concise piece that sounds really good. These songs are proto-Punk rock. There is a surprise break in the middle, before launching back into the song. A fun listen, even if it is lyrically meaningless. Top stuff.
Bad Girl comes next, with a very Hard Rock styled intro, before launching into a song about more love and relationship issues. A great piece to hear, and sounding very different, this is a short and bitter piece. Nice to hear, along with the rest of this album.
Subway Train comes next, with some interesting guitar licks to begin with. It is another song about love based relationship issues, and refers to love as a subway train itself. It seems like a simplistic argument. There are some awesome and heavy guitar solos in this one, making this song come alive in the midsection. The New York Dolls come across as decent musicians, and this song proved so, as does the rest of this album. The ending is very good, and a good tune is here.
Next is Pills which is a shorter piece with harmonica led intro. It refers directly to drug use, and is very catchy listening. A great piece to hear, it is not surprising that these guys were highly influential on future musicians in the next decade. It gets very frenetic towards the end, and is a funny and bizarre tale. Great effort.
Following is the odd Private World which sounds quirky and catchy. It is a good song with piano and loud electric guitar riffs to boot. This is an interesting listening experience, different from anything else before or since. A good listen towards the end of this recording. Nice.
Jet Boy is the last song on this album. It is quite catchy and decent listening from the start, and just sounds pretty cool. There are some great guitar riffs and sounds here, no doubt pointing to the future where Punk Rock became a normal thing. Still, very good. The outro is pretty catchy.
This is a good album to hear, and although it is rather limited musically, the fact remains that it is a very important release in musical history. Without this, it would be very likely that bands like The Sex Pistols would have never existed. Still, a decent effort that deserves attention.