+1/2 -- The album Jett was born to record
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 08/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After having tussled with her Runaways bandmates over whether glam-rock or heavy metal would be the band's guiding ethos, Jett explored surprisingly varied dimensions on this solo debut. Her first solo sessions, produced by ex-Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook, yielded a trio of tunes, two of which (a cover of Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me" and Jett's "Don't Abuse Me") made this album. In contrast to the ragged recordings Jones and Cook made with the Pistols, they fashioned full-on, polished productions for Jett that framed her rock 'n' roll energy with the sort of playing and sound craft that the Runaways rarely managed.
Subsequent to this initial session, Jett hooked up with producers Kenny Laguna and Ritchie Cordell for the bulk of the album's tracks. Both men were industry veterans who'd written and produced numerous '60s hits (e.g., Tommy James' "I Think We're Alone Now" and "Mony Mony") and key sides for the Kasenetz-Katz bubblegum factory on Buddah (e.g., the 1910 Fruitgum Company's "Indian Giver" and Ohio Express' "Yummy Yummy"). The results unlocked many more of Jett's musical influences than had been heard during her tenure with the Runaways.
Remakes of Gary Glitter's "Do Ya Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)" and "Doing All Right With the Boys" are obvious fits for Jett, but the Bo Gentry/Joey Levine penned "Make Believe" (originally recorded by Wind with Laguna and Tony Orlando on vocals) shows off a true '60s pop sensibility. Similarly, originals like "You Don't Know What You've Got" and "Let Me Go" sport the sort of AM hooks that her producers originally coined a decade earlier. A cover of the Isley Brothers' "Shout" benefits from its race through a Ramones-styled power-chord fest, and Sam the Sham's "Wooly Bully" is a showcase for Jett's elemental rocker.
Originally released as "Joan Jett" in Germany, this LP was reissued with the "Bad Reputation" title shortly thereafter. CD reissues have added a variety of different bonus tracks, including a cover of The Who's "Call Me Lightning" (originally issued as a B-side to "Make Believe"), a raw take on Tommy James' "Hanky Panky" (originally issued on European versions of the LP), a post-LP cover of "Summertime Blues" with the then newly formed Blackhearts (delivered as a bonus single in Canada), and a previously unreleased recording of Kenny Laguna's "What Can I Do For You" that was waxed in '79. The one critical omission is the version of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" that Jett recorded in '79 with Jones and Cook. The 2003 Japanese JVC appears to only provide the album's original dozen tracks.
Jett solidified her chart success with her follow-up LP, but in many ways she never got better than this first blush of freedom and self-discovery. After laboring in the chains of Kim Fowley's management and production, not to mention the politics and dysfunction of The Runaways, this album represents her rocker soul turned free to make the album she heard in her head. Lucky for us she heard something great! [©2005 hyperbolium dot com]"
Gotta Love Joan Jett
Miss State 1990 | Sierra Vista, AZ USA | 04/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everyone who has every hoped for a re-release of some classic Joan Jett Albums, hold on tight. According to her own website, http://www.joanjett.com/, Joan Jett is re-releasing Bad Reputation and a brand new studio album, which her site say the title will be "Sinner." The site also claims much more of her music is to be re-released as well. So before you buy that 35-50 dollar album, stop yourself and wait for the re-release so you can take the extra money you would have spent to get her new album."