By Christine Saraceno
If most of the youth of today were asked if they had ever heard of the New York Dolls (NYD), their general response would probably be no. Although having a career that dates back to 1971, these glam rock pioneers have flown under the radar for four decades. Their influence on a wide spectrum of modern rock bands, although often overlooked, is undeniable and frequently cited by the bands themselves.
They inspired the androgynous look of hair metal groups Motley Crue and Twisted Sister, the sound of legendary punk bands The Clash and The Ramones, and the stage presence of alternative rock outfits R.E.M. and The Smiths.
Since their reunion in 2004, original members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain have been consistently proving that even in their 60’s they have still got it and their new release “Dancing Backwards in High Heels” displays that as well.
Instead of showcasing the raunchy punk swagger of their previous releases, the Dolls chose to record an album full of simplistic rock tracks reminiscent of classics from the 1960s.
“Streetcake” combines perfect backing harmonies similar to that of The Ronettes with Johansen’s bluesy wail. Both wonderful and sleazy, “I’m So Fabulous” is a full-on attack on the hipsters who have tried to distance New York from it’s classic punk roots, complete with saxophones galore.
The lazy “Kids Like You” combines Hawaiian melodies with an organ riff similar to that of Procol Harum’s classic “A White Shade of Pale” and drones on about the apathetic attitudes of the teens of today.
When asked if he planned on listening to NYD’s new release, Valencia student Dan Cartwright said “Yeah, I’ll probably check out a few of [the songs]. I like a few of their older ones, so I’ll give the new ones a listen sometime.”
Even if you’ve never heard of them before, “Dancing Backwards…” would be a great place to start in your education on the New York Doll’s music. It’s timeless, good old fashioned rock and roll and that’s just what this world needs.