Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Too Much Too Soon
Hip-O Select/Mercury

Remastered and live-er than it ever was: half of a priceless proto-punk legacy

To help bestow a modicum of spiritual contentment on those born too late to have seen their original incarnation, the New York Dolls released two perfect albums in August 1973 and May 1974. The second ranks second because the greatest David Johansen originals are on the debut--only the climactic "Human Being" achieves the philosophical weight of "Personality Crisis" or "Trash." But if any band today shopped hooks as sure and lyrics as smart as those of "Who Are the Mystery Girls?" "Puss 'n' Boots" or guitarist Johnny Thunders' "Chatterbox," the Strokes would buy a boutique and retire. And the covers are magnificent: a Sonny Boy Williamson song that turns the Chicago blues master into a campy scold, and two R&B novelties whose theatrical potential was barely noticed until the Dolls penetrated their holy essence.

Blender, Oct. 2005