Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Though much of Jett's newest CD was previously released on a Japan-only album two years ago, "Sinner" does not feel recycled. From her political ranting on "Riddles" (and her feisty shout of "Wake up, people!") to the softer -- but still gritty -- ballad "Watersign," co-written with Le Tigre's Kathleen Hanna, Jett sounds as raucous as ever. Even a few clunkers, such as the overtly sexed-up "Fetish" with its exaggerated, whiplashing sound effects, don't suffer from a lack of effort.
Jett has always made the biggest splash with her covers -- such as the Arrows' "I Love Rock N' Roll" and Tommy James & the Shondells' "Crimson and Clover" -- and she takes the same approach on "Sinner" with a saucy take on Sweet's "A.C.D.C." She amps up the song's sexuality with her hoarse howl, which teeters between anguish and arousal. With that overt liveliness, coupled with the song's playful video (portraying Carmen Electra ping-ponging between Jett and a boyfriend), Jett clearly flaunts her unfading vigor.
-- Catherine P. Lewis