Jem fans rejoice; Jerra is here to claim the role of the female animated pop/punk sensation from the eighties, minus the pink hair and Holograms. Well…. sort of. Unfortunately for Jem, their music sucked, though Jerra could still earn popularity for other inspiring girl-led pop punk bands. Herein the big question lies for both women; can pop stars truly be heroes?
Perhaps. But luckily for Jerra, the real-life music industry isn’t so dramatic. Shortly after graduating from NYU in 2001, Jerra, the daughter of a jazz trumpeteer/composer, started up LA’s Sugar Hooker Entertainment (yep, that’s S.H.E.). The Era of Jerra EP was released on the label in 2003, offering six tracks, five of those later appearing on the full length. Performing at SXSW and Ladyfest 2005, Jerra has toured with the Butchies, Michelle Schocked, and From Bubblegum to Sky. Produced by Jerra and Gadget, debut record Play Like a Girl sounds like more like the Waitresses’ bitchy bubblegum than Joan Jett’s tough-as-nails attitude, though sounding all-around very MTV-friendly.
“Game Boy” is the album’s best, where Jerra coyly tells about her first gaming experiences (I snuck to see him in the night/Atari 2600). Instead of Jem’s hunky Rio, only hints are offered about Jerra’s love life in “Sugar Hooker,”where she confesses, Heartbreak, no thanks/that’s what jawbreaker’s for. And as for the traditional must-have cover, they do Danzig’s “Mother,” which is somewhat palatable until the over-tweaked bridge. Having recently licensed tracks to MTV’s Real World and Road Rules, Jerra’s sound on Play Like A Girl floats on top of the today’s pop punk, instead of ripping into eighties influences that could have worked wonders.