RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Joan Jett – Unvarnished
Black Heart Records


Rating: B

The Queen of Punk Rock Meets Pop Rock Meets Rock ‘n Roll, Joan Jett, is back (finally) with a new collection of tunes on the album Unvarnished.  I know Joanie will hate me for saying this, as I am a guy, and I am blatantly being sexist here…but she still looks fucking hot as hell on the cover shot.  She is a sexy woman even though she probably hates the fact a guy would say that when he is supposed to be objectively reviewing her music…it just had to be said!

Now, on to the music…the album is classic Joan Jett.  Three, maybe four chords, a good tempo, some simply pentatonic scale solos, gruff vocals and lots of leather rocker attitude and you have the gist of it.  There is nothing that is going to rival “I Love Rock and Roll” but fuck it, there is still some good shit here.  It’s fun, raucous, and sounds best when played really, really loud. 

“Any Weather (606 Version)” gives you what you need and goes right into the albums best tune “TMI” where Joan reveals that sometimes one can give a bit too much information!  “Soulmates to Strangers” and “Everybody Needs a Hero” are both very personal songs for Jett and this side of her is interesting, both lyrically and musically, as it reveals her deeper wordsmithing, and a more gentle musical approach.  Still, rocker tunes rule here, as “Reality Mentality” and “I Know What I Know” bring it back home while “Hard to Grow Up” expresses the sentiment of all of us true rockers from Jett’s musical heyday. 

At the end of the day, don’t expect Joan Jett to be reaching too far into new musical ground and stretching out. Nope, this time around it is just more of the same, simply-to-the-point rock and roll that she is known and loved for.  Thank God for that!

It’s great to see an artist who is true to herself and willing to stick to her guns and make the music she wants, despite outside pressures who may want her to sacrifice who she is in order to sell more records.  Fuck that.  Joanie…stay true and we will be here for ya…plus…that red leather…its yummy!

By Jeb Wright