Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Joan Jett

  • Bad Reputation [Boardwalk, 1981] A-
  • The Hit List [Epic, 1990] Dud
  • Bad Reputation [Blackheart, 2018] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Bad Reputation [Boardwalk, 1981]
Fans of Slayed?, Fanny, "Rock and Roll Part Two," and Arthur Kane before he hurt his thumb should give thanks that nostalgia has finally come this far, and then check for lines around the eyes. Producers Kenny Laguna and Ritchie Cordell make the old glitter formula of readymade riffs 'n' blare sound suitable for albums, and they get plenty of help from reformed Runaway Jett, who has writing credit on four of these twelve tunes and comes on tuffer than any gurl in history. A-

The Hit List [Epic, 1990] Dud

Bad Reputation [Blackheart, 2018]
Somehow this soundtrack to the new biodoc of the same name manages not to impinge too drastically on such previous best-ofs as 1993's Flashback, 1999's Fit to Be Tied, 2010's Greatest Hits, or the inferior 2013 comp she also called Bad Reputation. In fact, it's the most impressive of the bunch, mostly because it enlists outside help she's manifestly earned. Sure I miss "Light of Day" and "Fake Friends" and would respectfully suggest she exhume the XXX version of "Fetish." But what rock and roller can get too much of "I Love Rock N Roll," "Rebel Rebel," or "Bad Reputation" itself? Of the new "Fresh Start" earning its lead position, the Runaways' "Cherry Bomb" a crucial quantum louder than the Blackhearts', a "Crimson and Clover" born to be obliterated by its Stooges B side? Or, especially, of the three inspired guest add-ons: Bikini Kill's generation-bridging "Rebel Girl," Rea's defiant anthem-in-waiting "Feminazi," and--perfect--a remake of Jett's cover of the Replacements' "Androgynous" that puts Miley Cyrus in the same studio as Laura Jane Grace? A-