Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this music junkie as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. Compact Discs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no files.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - I Love Rock 'N Roll (1981)

Note: the CD I listened to was the 2006 reissue with five bonus tracks and "bonus enhanced footage" which seems like something I'd find on a 1996 reissue, not 2006.

There are some great rock songs on this disc, but for me, it doesn't really hold up as an full album. Five of the ten tracks are cover tunes, but that doesn't bother me too much - it's what you'd expect from a garage band and, after all, good material is good material. To say the covers are the best tunes here may be stretching it a bit, but only a bit. But it's all good rock n' roll fun, Joan's attitude is contagious, and I think that's the point.

The cover photo is iconic and probably explains why I found heavy mascara so attractive on women throughout my high school and college years.

Press of the time:
  • Trouser Press: "well-conceived and cleanly executed"
  • Billboard: "Jett aims high and usually more than hits her target"
  • Rolling Stone (★★★½): "fuses both the yearning of girl groups and the slapdash ferocity of garage bands to the power and beat of heavy metal"
  • Stereo Review: "Judging from the record, Joan's main interests now are beating young men senseless and abandoning herself to the procreative urge."
  • Robert Christgau: B+
  • Musician: "represents all that's right with El Lay pop-rock"

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #2
Peak on the Billboard Rock Album chart: #2
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #3
Peak on the Rolling Stone chart: #3

Tracks: let's rank 'em! (with the exception of Little Drummer Boy, which is an original take on a Christmas classic, but let's be honest, it was just tacked on to the end of a November release and was replaced by Oh Woe Is Me on later pressings)
  1. I Love Rock 'N Roll
  2. Crimson And Clover
  3. Nag
  4. Be Straight
  5. (I'm Gonna) Run Away
  6. Victim Of Circumstance
  7. Love Is Pain
  8. Bits And Pieces
  9. You're Too Possessive
Bonus tracks:
  1. Nag (with The Coasters)
  2. Summertime Blues 
  3. Louie Louie
  4. You Don't Know What You've Got
  5. Oh Woe Is Me
Note: even with the 5 bonus tracks, the entire disc clocks in at 44 minutes.

Bonus enhanced footage: 

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: During the spring semester of 1982, I participated on the crew/was an understudy for a high school production of To Kill A Mockingbird. (As I recall, the show was better than the phrase "high school production of To Kill A Mockingbird" would lead one to believe.) 

The leader of the crew was two years older than myself, had given himself the title "technical director," and was a pompous ass. One day after school that spring, the crew were setting lights for the play and the title song from this album came on the radio (it peaked at #1 in March '82). As we were wont to do, all of us were singing along as we went about our work. When the chorus came around, this so-called "technical director" belted out "I KNOW A HO! PUT ANOTHER DIME IN THE HO!" His new lyrics weren't as funny as he thought they were, but I was then condemned to hear them for the rest of my life whenever this song plays, including today's listening. 

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