Front and center at a Runaways show back in the late '70s, I was gobsmacked by frontwoman Joan Jett's sheer, visceral rawk presence. Hell, I would've licked her toenails if she'd let me. As it was, I was happy just to get a guitar pick and a whole 'lotta 'tude. Sinner revives that feeling. The album's got rebel-yell anger ("Riddles," about pundits' and pols' verbal chicanery) and it's got lust (garagey "A.C.D.C." chronicles a switch-hitting femme fatale). It swings (tuneful waltz "Everyone Knows") and it thrashes (the Clash-like "Change the World"). One moment it's channeling Jett's '70s rock-glam roots (the anthemic "Turn It Around") and the next it's tapping a vintage Replacements tune (a swaggering, saucy "Androgynous") just because the gal can. A quarter-century after that Runaways show, memories of solo Jett's iconoclastic "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" video from '82 also dancing in my head alongside these brash new tunes, I remain in awe. Chicks with guitars tend to do that to me, of course; but more to the point, even when Jett purrs, she roars. It's utterly inspiring. Some of us men do know, and the little girls, of course, definitely understand.
Fred Mills writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].