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| 1 November 2013 | Reply

Liberator Music / Blackheart Records
Released October 2013
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Joan Jett - Unvarnished CD

From the opening bubblegum hook and power chords of Any Weather – featuring superfan Dave Grohl producing and playing – the former Ms Larkin plays to all of her formidable strengths on her first album in seven years.

Listening to Unvarnished against her I Love Rock ‘n Roll or Bad Reputation albums shows that Jett’s rediscovered herself after letting her music and image go down the commercially unrewarding road into the murky waters of S&M and androgyny over her last few releases Naked, Fetish and Sinner.

Her success as Executive Producer of The Runaways biopic seems to have envigorated her with a good rummage through her celebrated past. Gone is the peroxide buzzcut in favour of her familiar shaggy dark locks, and Unvarnished is unabashedly an album for old school Jettsters, with irresistible hair shakers TMI, Hard To Grow Up and Bad As We Can Be all striking the balance between pop rock bliss and punky grit.

Jett cites this as her most introspective album yet, and she tackles lost love tenderly and compassionately on Soulmates To Strangers, whilst the likes of ‘wanna be a star/ just lower the bar’ bemoan the glut of reality TV on Reality Mentality.

Everybody Needs A Hero closes the album, a more plaintive string-laden rock ballad that shows how talented she really is, these ten tracks proving that Joan Jett still undoubtedly loves rock n’ roll.

Category: CD Reviews

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