9 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After fleeing the wreckage of The New York Dolls, David Johansen cobbled together a crack team of mostly Italian New York rock 'n' rollers and, in 1978, released what Rolling Stone called “devastating rock & roll” and a “genuine masterpiece.” Johansen also dumped the Dolls’ junkie swagger and ironic androgyny to play it straight, often romantically. He sort of comes off like Bruce Springsteen, if The Boss been a Warhol hipster with a big, black-sounding voice. The album is still pure New York City (listen to the Manhattan anthem "Cool Metro"), and Johansen is as deceptively smart as he ever was in the Dolls. He shows he's a crushing bandleader on both his solo statement song (“Funky but Chic”) and a Dolls holdover (“Girls”). Heavy Stones riffs and a polyamorous girl converge on "Not That Much,” while grief over a dead lover lifts “Donna” to teardrop status (with help from Bobby Blain’s lilting piano). Motown allusions, clever rhyme schemes, and backward-gazing melancholy make “Frenchette” a mini-epic and a fitting closer.

EDITORS’ NOTES

After fleeing the wreckage of The New York Dolls, David Johansen cobbled together a crack team of mostly Italian New York rock 'n' rollers and, in 1978, released what Rolling Stone called “devastating rock & roll” and a “genuine masterpiece.” Johansen also dumped the Dolls’ junkie swagger and ironic androgyny to play it straight, often romantically. He sort of comes off like Bruce Springsteen, if The Boss been a Warhol hipster with a big, black-sounding voice. The album is still pure New York City (listen to the Manhattan anthem "Cool Metro"), and Johansen is as deceptively smart as he ever was in the Dolls. He shows he's a crushing bandleader on both his solo statement song (“Funky but Chic”) and a Dolls holdover (“Girls”). Heavy Stones riffs and a polyamorous girl converge on "Not That Much,” while grief over a dead lover lifts “Donna” to teardrop status (with help from Bobby Blain’s lilting piano). Motown allusions, clever rhyme schemes, and backward-gazing melancholy make “Frenchette” a mini-epic and a fitting closer.

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