At age 15, Joan Jett wrote "Cherry Bomb" for the Runaways' debut album. More than a few years later, Joan Jett is still around, producing records, acting, hosting a radio show and putting out great records, like Sinner. With this album, as well as her headlining slot on the 2006 Warped Tour, she is presenting herself to another generation, and endearing herself to everyone all over again.
Sometimes Politics, Sometimes Sex, Always Rock And Roll
Sinner is, in many ways, classic Joan Jett. It's an album of solid rock songs, without a thought of genre or pretension. It's the way her music has always been. But at the same time, this album is never stale. Simply put, it proves that rock and roll can be timeless, as long as the right people are doing it.
The album opens with "Riddles", and Jett gets the political song out of the way in the first track. With her cry of "Wake up, people," it's a jab at the current administration, and the idea that they don't really care about America, but that people don't seem to notice what's going on. The track closes with some confusing quotes from Ashcroft, and a stumbling soundbite from W. With the close of that track, Jett has made her political stance known, and that leaves the rest of the album to simply rock.
Joan Jett has always refused to discuss her personal life in public, but many songs here dance around one of the topics she won't discuss. Many of the songs deal with sexuality and gender, including the album's two covers. They are a very fun take on the classic glam song "A.C.D.C" by Sweet, and a mildly twangy cover of the Replacements' "Androgynous". Both were excellent choices for covers, whether or not she wanted to play around with sexuality and gender bending themes. With original songs, she continues exploring these ideas with the songs "Everyone Knows", "Fetish", and "Baby Blue".
Aside from that theme, there are some simply great rocking "loving someone so much it hurts" songs on the album, like "Five" and "Watersign". It's more traditional Joan Jett, and it's just as good as the rest of the album.
Joan Jett helped pave the way for women in punk, and was a vital inspiration to many women musicians who would follow, so it's only fitting to see that several of the tracks were co-written with Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre). Riot Grrl never could have happened without the Runaways, and many people (this writer included) consider Joan Jett the first Riot Grrl.
Once you've heard Sinner, you'll have a really hard time believing it's from someone with such a long, storied rock and roll history. Joan's voice sounds better than ever, and the music is tight. It's fresh and full of energy, and I'm looking forward to Joan Jett producing great music for years to come.