Now that I have successfully rid myself of those pesky wolves, it’s time to get back to work.
As I noted a while back, the direction of WMMCM is shifting a bit. We’ve decided to get more adventurous in where we go and what we talk about. More of that later. For now, I’m stepping back into 1988 when the power ballad was King, (or in this case, Queen,) and the lady who was and is the Queen of Rock N’ Roll, Joan Jett!
When Joan Jett released her sixth studio album as a solo artist, the music industry still haddn’t gotten over the shock. After all Jett had been turned down by nearly every major label there was before Neil Bogart of Casablanca Records, (Donna Summer and Kiss,) fame decided to give her a shot.
Well, we all know how that worked out for Joan Jett. 10 million albums later in 1988, it was time for a slightly different Joan to be heard on the radio and MTV.
Pairing with mega-power ballad master Desmond Child, Child and Jett co-wrote one of Jett’s strongest songs ever. And, it’s not your usual JJ kick your face straight up rock n’ roller either.
Opening with a bit of picked guitar and overblown cymbal bashes Joan starts a slow wail that gets louder as she closes in on the first verse. Then the - oh so 80′s - snare drum bangs.
“I was taught to never tell a lie
To look you in the eye and tell it like it is
Always thought that you would be the same
It’s such a shame that’s not the way it is.”
I’ve always said that not only is this my favorite Joan Jett vocal but for a lady who made her career on attitude rather than finesse, she gets around this really well!
“I was fooled by your innocence
And my love for you was so intense
With our connection only physical
Yes it got me through the night
Woke up and I saw the light.”
What’s this? A sensitive Joan Jett?
It doesn’t last. And shouldn’t.
Blasting off into the chorus, Jett really does take off here. Even with the 80′s standard power ballad gang vocal back-up singers mucking things up, Jett is still every bit Joan Jett.
And the final blast before the bridge, Jett get’s her licks in with a howling “I believed in yooohhhh….!!!”
Coming back into the next verse Child lets Jett get sassy and fierce.
“You want to sleep with me but payback’s tough
Why don’t you call me when you’re all grown up.”
From here on out it’s classic Jett with the addition of the thick, droning backing vocals that were such a part of the 80′s power ballad style.
Jett has always survived more on attitude rather than being known as a fine singer. That’s never really been her thing. She’s always solid (early Runaways excepted…) making her way by sheer force of will and personality. What could be more rock n’ roll than that?