Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

New York Dolls: In Too Much, Too Soon [Mercury, 1974]
Like so many cocky songwriters, David JoHansen overloaded his debut with originals and then found that record promotion wasn't a life activity that inspired new ones. But his stock of golden oldies is so private--Leiber & Stoller's "Bad Detective" could have been written to order, and he steals "Showdown" from Archie Bell--that this expresses his innermost self and locates him in history simultaneously. It also avoids such mundane follow-up perils as excess ambition, minimal material, and isntant tedium. Follow-up producer Shadow Morton has psyched him into recutting the vocals until his full talents as an impersonator shine through. He's also added gongs, gunshots, and girlie choruses to JoHansen's usual slew of sound effects. Greatest sound effect: Johnny Thunders's buzzsaw, destined to vie with heavy-metal fuzz in the hearts of rock and rollers everywhere. Greatest non-JoHansen song: Johnny Thunders's mewling "Chatterbox." A+