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The Hit List

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  • I stumbled on “The Hit List” by Joan Jett because I was checking out covers of “Time Has Come Today” by the Chambers Brothers. So I knew that it was a cover album and not to be confused with a collection of her hits, but I can certainly understand why anybody who picked this up without seeing the play list would feel there had a bait and switch perpetrated on them. When I first started listening to this album I was thinking that Joan Jett has one of the most distinctive sounds in rock and roll. It was not until we got to her cover of the Kinks’ “Celluloid Heroes” that the volume level got turned down enough to really focus on Jett’s vocals. But for the most part it is going to be those songs where she powers through the songs, such as ZZ Top’s “Tush” and the aforementioned “Time Has Come Today” that stand out. When she slows down for CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen Rain” it seems rather strange, because we have come to expect a specific sound from Jett and when she does something different, slower and more measured, we take it as just cooling down before she revs up again. If there is a happy medium between the two on this album it would be the cover of the Doors’ “Love Me Two Times,” mainly because of the rollicking guitar licks. I would have put “Roadrunner” by the Modern Lovers on that list, but Jett had already done a version of it four years earlier on “Good Music.”It is not surprising that Joan Jett would do a cover album given the success she had with Sly Stone’s “Everyday People” and Tommy James & the Shodells’ “Crimson & Clover.” The reason for the success is that whenever she is singing somebody else’s song she has always remained Joan Jett, a point that “The Hit List” amply demonstrates as she plays songs from AC/DC, the Sex Pistols, and Nazareth, most of whom are clearly kindred spirits.

    Posted on December 3, 2009