Music Review: David Johansen’s Self-titled Solo Debut Is ‘Funky but Chic’

David Johansen's debut LP

Besides serving as the title of this eponymous album’s first cut, “Funky But Chic” offers an apt description of its entire program. On the record, former New York Dolls prime mover David Johansen rocks with a degree of class and abandon that evokes the Rolling Stones at their best. Just as significantly, his new lyrics prove more than sufficiently clever to justify the often large effort necessary to decipher them.

I can’t get enough of either the aforementioned R&B-flavored track, a revamped Dolls entry, or the harmonic “Donna,” which some have interpreted as being a tribute to Johansen’s old group. But my hands-down favorite on the LP is “Frenchette,” where the singer movingly resigns himself to second-rate satisfactions and unleashes this marvelous, cogent couplet: “You call that lovin’ French, but it’s just Frenchette / I’ve been to France, so let’s just dance.”

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