Retro Spins: Joan Jett And The Blackhearts - I Love Rock N' Roll

When I listen to punk, I'm not expecting to hear a singer who can sing. I'm not expecting to hear pop hits that get played across 80's stations. Nor am I expecting songs which are necessarily memorable. Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, I Love Rock N' Roll, delivered on all of these fronts.

Joan Jett may be a popular 80's icon, but if tunes were in buckets, she wouldn't be able to carry one. She's like a bad karaoke act, but in a good way because she's got the talented Blackhearts backing her up.

I Love Rock N' Roll, the album, starts off with the title track, and is probably the most popular tune from the singer. It's one of her few songs to hit the charts, and in a massive way. It went all the way to number one, and stayed there for seven consecutive weeks in 1982. It was joined on the charts by their second hit from the album, Crimson And Clover, which went to number seven.

Because the album was released the same year as the band's re-released debut album, originally titled Joan Jett, but changed to Bad Reputation for the re-release, 1982 also saw tracks from their earlier record hitting the charts as a result of boosted popularity from I Love Rock N' Roll. While I'm not reviewing that album today, I'll note the song Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah), which went to number twenty.

As I sat down to list to the album, I Love Rock N' Roll, I really didn't know what to expect. My experience with Joan Jett was severely limited to songs, I Love Rock N' Roll, Crimson And Clover and I Hate Myself For Loving You. Though I'm not a big fan, and was honestly surprised that The Blackhearts are a punk band, it took me a moment to get into it all.

Once I did, I was able to enjoy the album. However, at the same time, I didn't exactly find memorable tracks which left me wanting more. In fact, now that I've heard the entire album, I Love Rock N' Roll, the song, and Crimson And Clover feel really out of place intertwined within the remaining punk style songs.

Their rendition of Little Drummer Boy stands out as the worst track on the album. If the two songs I mentioned before felt out of place, then I don't know how to explain this one. Not only was it a terrible rendition of the song, but seriously...A Christmas song wedged in? Awkward.

Overall, I don't see myself becoming, or even wanting to be, a Joan Jett And The Blackhearts fan. Punk really isn't my scene, and I'm fine with that. Here and there I can appreciate a punk album, but I don't really go out of my way to hear them. I Love Rock N' Roll, the song, is iconic to the 80's, and I'm glad to have it in my music collection. As for the rest of the album, I could take it or leave it.

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  1. Big Joan Jett fan here, seen her live multiple times as recently as last year and she can still put on a show. I've always considered her more rock even though I guess they're punk.
    I think the reason those two songs feel out of place on the album is because they're covers. It's kinda weird but most of her well known tunes are actually covers.

    1. That could be it. They do feel more rock than punk, which is the majority sound on the album.

  2. I recently got into Joan Jett and I agree that her roots stem from good old fashioned rock 'n' roll, at least her time with the Blackhearts did, more than punk. I feel like you really should compare her to rock pioneers like Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley more than anything punk. A lot of her early music including some from this album take inspiration from 1950s style rock 'n' roll and I found that's why I really like her. You have to dig deeper than her well known songs. Some people consider her the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll. I wouldn't be happy to say I belong to any scene, but Joan Jett's rock music sounds great driving on the interstate, and that's what matters to me. If you are interested, I provided more insight into her rock 'n' roll roots in my recent blog post if you want to learn more. I still don't know much about both rock or punk, but I think I can still paint a clear picture of Joan Jett. I would love to know your thoughts, and perhaps give Joan another chance if you do like rock or punk. Thanks, and have a nice day!

    1. Thanks for the comment. I'll check your blog out.