The release of Sinners marks 25 years since Joan Jett's break-out single "I Love Rock-N-Roll" soared up the charts, but she was by no means an overnight success. The single and record by the same name came on the heels of the dissolution of her first group, The Runaways. The band was an all-woman, pre-punk, rock hard group. But isn't that what comes to mind when you think of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts? With her dark eye-liner and leather outfits, she not only gives the impression of but she is one of the rare "women who can really rock."
Sinner is no exception. The voice is a bit more mature. The lyrics are from someone a bit older and wiser and come from a place a little deeper, but the songs still just plain rock out. She hasn't missed a beat and the music hasn't softened, which is probably why she is a headlining act on the current Vans Warped Tour.
Jett demonstrates those mature lyrics right off the bat with the opening track, "Riddles." The song has a political, anti-war, if not anti-Bush, message. From the opening chords and vocals you will recognize it as Joan Jett; it has a retro sound that is unmistakably hers. The song asks the question why politicians speak in riddles, and includes sound-bytes from news reports between the howls of the guitar and hand-claps.
The cover of Sweet's "A.C.D.C." is fun, hook filled, and melodious. The video which is garnering air-play on MTV, VH1, and Fuse, as well as being available on both Google Video and Youtube, features Carmen Electra. The actress, who was ecstatic to play the role of Jett's lover, admitted to a childhood crush on the singer. In that same vein of pushing and pressing against sexual limitations are "Androgynous," "Fetish," and "Everyone Knows."
"Everyone Knows" is the standout track of Sinner. Jett sings of being who she is and not caring what anyone or "everyone" thinks. It has the most contagious sound on the CD, the kind of melody that works its way into your psyche so you're still singing the hooks hours later. It is by far the softest sound I've ever heard from Jett, but falls short of being a ballad.
She digs a little deeper then the title might lead you to think in "Naked." Not a superficial song about nudity, it's about stripped down emotions and being bare to the world. With this song, and the album, she proves solid rock music can have a point, and have a message. With "Naked" the message is a poignant one and easily identifiable.
Joan Jett's immense music career doesn't begin and end with the singing and the recording of music. She owns and runs her own label, Blackheart Records, and hosts "Joan Jett's Radio Revolution" on Sirius Satellite Radio's Little Steven's Underground Garage (Channel 25). Blackheart Records just celebrated its 25th anniversary and came to be after being rejected by 28 labels after The Runaways fell apart.
Commenting on her radio show, Joan is quoted on her website as saying, "That's been interesting, and different. I never aspired to it, I'm really kind of shy, so for me to get on the radio and talk, I had to build up to it. But I'm having a good time, and I get to turn people on to different things!"
For the hard-core Joan Jett and the Blackheart fan or for those who just love rock-n-roll, Sinners is nice collection of music that ranges from the fun to flirtatious, all done the way only she can.