Stop crying in your beer and buy this record ... but buy the limited edition. If you're having trouble visualizing how the first New York Dolls studio album in 32 years comes about, the bonus DVD goes a long way toward answering such questions. Though once you see glammy ol' David Johansen working the mic as the band tracks live in the next room, those should float away in the smoke and laughter.
Is it really a New York Dolls album? No, no, no. No. Johnny Thunders ... dead. Jerry Nolan (and Billy Murcia, whom he replaced) ... dead. Arthur Kane, the subject of the recent documentary New York Doll ... lately Mormon, now dead. It's Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain with some young(er) bucks, including Sami Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks. It's something different, with plenty to recommend it on its own merits.
Sure, there's plenty of familiar hip-shake boogie, from the honky-tonk strut of "Runnin' Around" to the "Lust for Life" pulse of "Dance Like a Monkey." And sure, the record as a whole ... especially songs like "I Ain't Got Nothin'" and "Take a Good Look at My Good Looks" ... sounds like the Stones. But in that, it outguns most Stones records since ... since ... Some Girls? Tattoo You? A ways back.
But the real shit on this record is the gentle, luminous songs where love, remorse and optimism intersect, like the Ramonesy doo-wop of "Plenty of Music" and "Maimed Happiness." And if the goofy lighters-aloft anthem "Dancing on the Lip of a Volcano" (with backup vox by Michael Stipe) doesn't stir something in you, well, you may have the soul of a turnip.
I don't know. It's an optimistic record that's not for total pantywaists, and not just for original fans (i.e. now proud parents). All you have to do is howl along with Johansen, "This life could be so tragic, until you see the magic: Happiness! Fishnets and cigarettes!"