Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

New York Dolls: 'Cause I Sez So [Atco, 2009]
The fourth Dolls album and second of their second life is the first one that's less than epochal. Not all the tunes are surefire. Its garage-rock derivative is several degrees bluesier than the permanently exploding protopunk they reprise on the closing "Exorcism of Despair" just in case you forgot the thrill. And the Buddhism is more overt: post-flagellant culture, existence as a temptation, "Offering the modern crowd an absolute/Worthy of its nothingness." Just in case you forgot the frame of reference, however, there's also a skanking remake of "Trash." And in the end David Johansen's lyrics somehow combine extreme skepticism, metaphysical despair, romantic agony, rock-solid agape and luv l-u-v. How should he call his lover girl? Would she settle for "My baby, got mystical frenzy/Tempered by an irony/Verging on blasphemy"? Let's hope so. A-