Home Read Room 37: The Mysterious Death of Johnny Thunders Soundtrack | Various...

Room 37: The Mysterious Death of Johnny Thunders Soundtrack | Various Artists

You can't put your arms around a memory — not even with this biopic soundtrack.

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WHO IS HE? New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders went from glam-rock hero to a first-wave punk icon — but ultimately became a tragic figure and rock casualty, thanks in no small part to his notoriously self-destructive habits.

WHAT IS THIS? The soundtrack and score to a new movie dramatizing Thunders’ final days and untimely 1991 death in New Orleans at age 38.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Initially, it’s like a so-so mixtape of random cuts from The Dolls, Thunders’ solo albums, and bandmates like Walter Lure and Sylvain Sylvain. Then it shifts into a 40-minute score by something or someone called Rusted Robot.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? Clad in a thrift-shop smoking jacket, while holding a smoke in one hand and lighting a candle with the other.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Raucous, noisy, serrated, raw, visceral, emotional, atmospheric, ominous, grim, creepy.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? A live Dolls performance of Stranded in the Jungle from Paris in 1974, and a rare version of Thunders’ haunting ballad You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory — which is something all concerned should have kept in mind.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK? That you’re listening to two different albums.

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Seldom. Any fan probably owns most of the band tracks, and the understated score is mostly skippable.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A HOTEL ROOM, WHAT KIND OF HOTEL ROOM WOULD IT BE? One where you sleep in your clothes with a chair braced against the door.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? Stealing from the dead is just wrong.