Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1983: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- Album

220px-joan_jett__the_blackhearts_-_album

In 1982, Joan Jett had established herself as the queen of rock. However, her grip on the throne was not at all secure. The former queen whom she deposed in, if we were talking medieval times, would be described as a bloody coup, was still around and would jump at any chance to get that throne back. That former queen, Pat Benatar, did put out a cool live album in 1983, which I’ve already posted about. So, what Joan Jett and the Blackhearts needed was a great follow up to the 1982, “I Love Rock and Roll,” which established them. So, the question was, would “Album” be enough for Joan to retain her crown?

If you were take the opener and first single “Album” as an answer, then it would be a definite no. “Fake Friends” as a single put many people off the album and I too wasn’t impressed and thought that possibly the band had fumbled the ball here. Fortunately for me, especially after the Chris DeBurgh experience, I don’t let one song dictate an album for me. In fact, even after more than thirty years of hearing this album, I remain convinced that “Fake Friends” should not only have not been released as a single, it shouldn’t even be on the album!

As for the rest of the album, the songs are much better. Track two would have been a much better opener than “Fake Friends.” It starts off with the appropriate riff and goes strong from there. The follow up single, “Everyday People,” was much better as a single than the one already mentioned, however, even that is nowhere near the best track on this album. What I like about “Album,” is that it seems that every track improves as the album progresses. ” Hundred Feet Away,” “The French Song” and their take on the 1950’s Bobby Lewis classic, “Tossin’ and Turnin'” are all good rocking tunes. The only exception is the band’s attempt at a power ballad. “Why Can’t We Be Happy” isn’t a bad song, it’s just that I feel that Joan’s voice isn’t suited to ballads. However, she more than makes up with the next two songs, which in my view, are the two best on the album, with the latter being better than the former. “Coney Island Whitefish” torpedoes a hole in the theory about penultimate songs on albums being filler or just not as good. I love the chants of “scumbag”in the chorus. The closer, “Had Enough,” ends the album on a very aggressive note.

Track Listing:

  1. Fake Friends
  2. Handyman
  3. Everyday People
  4. A Hundred Feet Away
  5. Secret Love
  6. The French Song
  7. Tossin’ and Turnin’
  8. Why Can’t We Be Happy
  9. I Love Playing With Fire
  10. Coney Island Whitefish
  11. Had Enough
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett- vocals, guitar

Ricky Bird- guitar

Gary Ryan- bass

Lee Crystal- drums

Additional Musicians

Kenny Laguna- keyboards

The Uptown Horns

The Ross Levinson Strings

So the question is: Was “Album” good enough to secure Joan Jett’s place as the queen of rock. The answer is complicated. The album was good enough to keep her on the throne but not enough to keep her there securely. Even if you were to take “Fake Friends” out of it. There were several young metal maidens lurking in the shadows who would emerge to challenge and as the decade would prove, we wouldn’t see the last of Pat Benatar. But forget all that and just enjoy this album.

Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- Speak of the Devil

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Responses to “Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1983: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- Album”

  1. I do like me some Joan. Not her best this one, but I agree it gets better and better as it goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Only really started listening to Joan and don’t yet own any LPs, but I really like the cover for this one and, therefore, I want it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually don’t own any Joan Jett. I don’t know why. I was always more a Lita guy.

    Liked by 1 person

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