My Top 1000 Songs #407: Bad Reputation
Funny... got a bunch of songs in the collection going by this title. There's that sly alt.pop one from the dB's, the gentle singer-songwriter ode by Freedy Johnston... but I'm talking about the queen, Joan Jett.
I adore Joan Jett, who's been releasing reliably exciting and unpretentious rock & roll for over 40 years (right up through this year's nifty little EP). I think she's kinda taken for granted--maybe because there's nothing flashy, nothing sordid, no personal craziness or musical side-trips into baroque psychedelic concept albums, just three chord rockers that, at most, vary from punk to metal to power pop but largely stick to the comfortable middle ground. Or maybe it's her predilection for covers, which are almost uniformly wonderful, but perhaps detract from her bona fides as an essential rock & roll artist?
"Bad Reputation" takes us way back to the beginning (not counting her Runaways years), found on her eponymous 1980 debut--itself renamed Bad Reputation for its 1981 re-release. It's a helluva start, a perfect Joan Jett anthem, pure cocky charm by way of the Ramones. Arguably its pop culture appropriation by Shrek and Freaks & Geeks watered down its potency a bit, but I dunno; I think it holds up great.Live 1981, from the amazing Urgh! concert film:With the Foo Fighters on Letterman in 2011: