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CD REVIEW: JOAN JETT – Unvarnished

| 5 October 2013 | Reply


Label: Blackheart Records

Release Date: September 30, 2013

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

There are some rockers that impress me time and time again.  Joan Jett is one of those rockers, especially with the release of her latest disc.  From disc opener “Any Weather (606 Version)” to the final note of closer “Everybody Needs A Hero,” Joan stays true.  True to her sound, and more importantly, her history as an artist.  The songs cultivate sounds from her catalog.  The vocals are warm and familiar; almost comforting.  The opener blows the doors off the disc and prepares you for a sonically sound ride.  Songs like “TMI” and  “Reality Mentality” have that anthemic feel we have become accustomed to over the nearly four decades of rocking with her.

Tracks like “Make It Back” and “Bad As We Can Be” give a nod to the garage sound she has grown and nurtured for years.  Ms. Jett hasn’t lost a step behind the mic or with the guitar strapped to her side.  The cool and swagger ooze through the speakers on these tracks.  This disc is less of a comeback (this is her first disc of new material in more than 7 years) and more of a resurgence.  “Soulmates To Strangers” and “Hard To Grow Up” are more on the mellow side; this is how Joan does ballads – and she does them well.  Another mellow track, standard disc closer “Everybody Needs A Hero,” is a cool piece that allows Joan’s voice to step up front and tell a story with minimal rocking and maximum emotion.

The use of strings and guitars interspersed on the bridges and breakdowns make “Fragile” one of my favorite tunes.  This song is exactly what we expect while being different at the same time.  “Different” is another great example of that diversity.  The guitars and vocals are all too familiar, while the rhythm section does something between the garage sound that started her career and the rock sound that helped turn her into a household name.

Do yourself the favor and pick up the deluxe version.  The bonus tracks standout as much as they standard tracks.  There are no throwaway tracks or B-sides here, just quality rock and roll that should please fans new and old.

Standard Version: Any Weather (606 Version) – TMI – Soulmates To Strangers – Make It Back – Hard To Grow Up – Fragile – Reality Mentality – Bad As We Can Be – Different – Everybody Needs A Hero

Deluxe Version Bonus Tracks: I Know What I Know – Seriously – Different (Demo Version) – Any Weather (Blackhearts)

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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