CD Review: New York Dolls — ‘Cause I Sez So

NewYorkDollsCauseISezSo

New York Dolls

‘Cause I Sez So

Atco

By Noel Wurst

It’s strange to
compare the New York Dolls latest album, ‘Cause I Sez So, to the music
of Randy Newman, but it’s pretty easy to do so.
Both acts have been around a gazillion years, both have had really
great songs, and they’ve both had their share of awful songs. Lastly, Newman’s and Dolls frontman David
Johansen’s voices are eerily identical. You gotta check it out, it’s creepy.

‘Cause I Sez
So
, all complaints aside, is another fairly strong showing from the Dolls,
a band that’s been around for 35-plus years.
When you look at other bands that have been around this long, the Dolls
could sound a hell of a lot worse. When
Johansen and fellow songwriter/guitarist Sylvain Mizrahi (AKA Sylvain Sylvain) keep the topics light,
and they refrain from whining about all that’s wrong with the world, is when
this album really shines. The one-two
punch of “Better Than You” and “Lonely So Long” are not just the best two songs
on the album, they’re written with such a high level of radio pop appeal, the
similarities to Randy Newman really are clearly heard.

The problems
arise with “This is Ridiculous,” an attempted Tom Waits style jangle that comes
across as quite ridiculous indeed.
“Making Rain” is a deplorable Bob Dylan style ballad, and if the lyrics
weren’t bad enough, the added sounds of pouring rain and thunder are added with
the smoothness of pounding the enter key on a soundboard. This sadly plunges the band into that new-age
rockerdom that you wish they would avoid.
You’d never see David Byrne trying to pull crap like this.

The reason this
album is still pretty solid is because there’s good songs on it at all. New York Dolls have always defied the
odds against them, and their fame has always been somewhat hard to swallow for
some. The fact that through three
decades, they’ve managed to not only stay true to themselves, but to also churn
out a handful of great tracks on every album, is a feat that not many bands can
say, and is certainly something to admire.

New York Dolls play Atlanta's Center Stage on June 12.

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