Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts ~ I Love Rock'N'Roll

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: hard rock, punk
Label: Boardwalk
Year: 1981
Home: n/a

Members: Joan Jett ~ guitar/vocals
Ricky Byrd ~ lead guitar
Gary Ryan ~ bass/b. vocals
Lee Crystal ~ drums

Additional: Jeff Peters ~ bass/b. vocals
Lou Maxfield, Sean Tyla ~ guitar
Paul Simmons ~ drums/b. vocals
Joel Turrisi ~ drums
Martyn Watson ~ b. vocals

Guest: Steve Jones ~ bass/b. vocals


I've always thought JJ made the best albums by any of the Runaways ... actually, hers might even be the best albums the Runaways never did. Listening to the Runaways is like listening to some rough pre-first album demos when you lay JJ's solo work & Blackhearts days beside them & essentially they kinda are. Though, JJ isn't the greatest guitarist or singer & her albums aren't that slick, but the attitude is there that the Runaways had but never quite gelled like it does for JJ, certainly she has better songs. Maybe its because JJ needed punk to happen to get focused. Besides both its youth anthem title track & it's ballad "Crimson And Clover" I Love Rock'N'Roll stradles cock rock, retro & punk ... & from a rock chick that makes it much cooler, though JJ has never really used her sexuality or gender to push her career. She just wants to rock with music that's stripped down seemingly three-chord rock, not too fancy & no overly fancy guitar solos that essentially she can't play. The album has the punk feeling of the Ramones (i.e. title track, "Victim Of Circumstance", "Be Straight") where JJ actually shows off her lack of singing ability. Yet it also the saunter of the Rolling Stones ... just check out the guitar opening on "(I'm Gonna) Run Away" or "You're Too Possessive" for proof on this one. What's most shocking is the amount of 50's/60's flashback, yet it fits in perfectly, including "Nag", Dave Clark Five's "Bits & Pieces" & obviously the cover of Tommy James & The Shondell's "Crimson & Clover". She makes these classic songs seem her own. Maybe that's also because she's not chosen well worn cover songs, but songs which don't get much radio play or reinterpretation. This album really is the highlight of her solo & Blackhearts discography, if not musically than its the album everyone recognizes and new fans want due to its chart-topping title track. I mean, how many new fans ask for Bad Reputation these days, even if its just as good musically. Its her first Blackhearts album, though really its just her with a named backing band but it also gives her an added musical strength she didn't have before. The final track "Woe Is Me" opens with "What happened to my heroes?/The idols keep on singing/but they don't sound sincere/oh woe is me." It's almost ironic that JJ would become an idol herself. An interesting fact to this album is it was recorded twice. Original Eric Ambel laid down the guitar parts, but the story goes JJ was dissatisfied with the result. Ricky Byrd was brought in, redid the guitar parts & essentially the Blackhearts sound was solidified.

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