Sunday, September 23, 2018

Certain Songs #1328: New York Dolls – “Human Being” | Medialoper

Album: Too Much, Too Soon
Year: 1974

For reasons that are lost to the mists of time, I purchased the New York Dolls second album, the perfectly titled Too Much Too Soon about a year before I purchased New York Dolls.

Why I didn’t buy them in order is now lost to the midsts of time, but of course, by the early 80s, the Dolls were essentially known as an influence on the punk rock of the time, and David Johansen was beginning to distance himself from his past with his ever slicker solo albums, and Johnny Thunders was distancing himself from everything with heroin.

Anyways, I’m pretty sure that I came across Too Much Too Soon as a cut-out at Tower, and put it on, and was a bit confused by all of the covers and girl-group influences, though I did kinda love their insane cover of “Stranded in the Jungle,” which these days feels slightly problematic, though no less hilarious.

In the end, it was the final track, the Guns N’Roses-approved “Human Being” that I ended up loving the most. With producer Shadow Morton separating Sylvian Sylvian’s rhythm guitar and Johnny Thunders’ lead guitar into each a speaker, you could focus on their interplay, or you could focus on David Johansen’s typically existential lyrics.

And if I’m acting like a king
Well, that’s cause I’m a human being
And if I want too many things
Don’t you know that I’m a human being

While “Human Being” doesn’t quite hit the level of rock ‘n’ roll craziness as “Personality Crisis” or “Frankenstein (Orig.),” it was still a pretty great bookend to their original run: smart, dangerous, sloppy and thrilling in all the right ways.

“Human Being”

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