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New York Dolls

’Cause I Sez So (Atco)

Aug. 24, 2009
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A mere 36 years after producing the New York Dolls' debut album, Todd Rundgren returns to work with a band based around surviving members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain. A bit of history: In the early '70s, the Dolls released a pair of pioneering albums that came to define glam and punk rock. True to form, the band self-destructed simply for being too far ahead of its time. More than three decades later, in 2006, the band jump-started itself with a comeback album.

With 'Cause I Sez So, the Dolls' second act is well under way, thumbing its nose at F. Scott Fitzgerald with every swaggering guitar riff and witty lyric. These days chief songwriter Johansen leavens his street smarts with allusions to Eastern philosophy. Whether musing on reality television culture in the title cut or the price of fame ("This Is Ridiculous"), the band retains the sense of humor that was a secret weapon from the get-go. "Nobody Got No Bizness" references both Archie Bell & The Drells' sidewalk jive and Sonny Boy Williamson's honking Chicago blues, both of which they covered the first time around. A reggae version of "Trash" (which originally appeared on the band's debut album) offers an example of how a great song can be reinterpreted.


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