New York Dolls – One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This (2006)

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by Mark Saleski

Hard rock records (or, records that rock hard) that I have loved all have one thing in common: they cause an almost inexplicable joy inside of me. My heart races. I get flushed. Heck, I might even break a little sheen of sweat.

Yeah, I know that sounds like some sort of post-coital afterglow, but that’s honestly what happens. Why? That will probably always remain a mystery. (Despite reading the book This Is Your Brain on Music, a scientific look at how the brain deals with music, I sort of doubt that my preference for System Of A Down over Tool can be explained by a guy in a white lab coat.)

Let’s back up a minute. No, wait … how about several decades? See, back in their day, I knew nothing about the New York Dolls. Oh sure, I remember yammerings about them in my copies of Creem, but the records never made their way into my hands. Looking back, this was a major travesty. I mean, it’s not like I was opposed to rock music with glam elements. The critics may have hated those early Kiss records (okay, all Kiss records), but I loved ’em. Then there was Alice Cooper, Queen and David Bowie.

There are two tangential New York Dolls encounters that came I purchased this 2006 New York Dolls recording. Both of them occurred at the University of Maine. David Johansen (1982: Here Comes The Night, single—”She Loves Strangers”) opened for J. Geils on their Freeze Frame juggernaut. Funny concert anecdote: my dorm buddies have to help me carry my date down the hill to the show as post bong-hit paranoia pushed her into full-on freakout. At another show, Syl Sylvain and the Teardrops opened for local Maine hero Bill Chinnock. Funny concert anecdote: first warmup band was Bebe Buell and the B-Sides. Yes, that Bebe Buell. The former Playboy Playmate and mom to Liv Tyler. Johansen put on a rockin’ show, makin’ me realize that I had to look for the record with “Personality Crisis” on it. Sylvain? Can’t remember anything. Geez, that’s pathetic.

So, I picked up a copy of the New York Dolls’ One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This. Not far into the first listen, all of the familiar symptoms arose: the racing heart, the flushed skin, tiny beads of sweat on the brow. Inexplicable joy, is what this was. Big and chunky guitar riffs. Snazzy lead work. Tight basslines. Athletic drumming. It’s what good rock music should be. Extra fun is to be had on the bonus DVD, with lots of in-studio footage of the Dolls putting together this record. It was great to see the passion in the guys. Love that sincere grin that spreads across Sylvain’s face as they launch into a song. And good gawd, is David Johansen the skinniest man in rock or what?! Seriously, for rock nerds (Mark raises hand) this DVD is worth many viewings.

Yeah, yeah, only Johansen and Sylvain are original members. They still manage pull out the spirit of the Dolls. Glammy hard rock (“Fishnets and Cigarettes,” “Punishing World,” “Dancing on the Lip of a Volcano” w/backing vocals from Michael Stipe). Bloozy shuffles (“Runnin’ Around”). Raveups (“Dance Like A Monkey,” “Gotta Get Away From Tommy,” “Gimme Luv and Turn On The Light” with a cameo from Iggy Pop). I particularly love the subtle doo-wop and soul elements that surface here and there. Sylvain and Johansen’s 1950s roots definitely show through. It all makes for a punkish sort of exercise. One with a lot of heart.

That and it makes me all sweaty and stuff.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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