Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hump Day Treat, Slacker Edition

It's turning out to be one of those days: I overslept and couldn't eat breakfast, felt all off while I was teaching, skipped my office hours because it looked nice out (but then of course it started to rain), and now it's almost 4:30 and I have a TON of stuff to do. I'll probably be working well past 7 tonight.

Such days require breaking out one of your best vintages. So today, Rock and the Single Girl presents: Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation"!

I'll be honest: I have mixed feelings about Joan Jett. I'm not really familiar with her more recent work, and her earlier stuff sometimes seems simplistic. HOWEVER: there's some buzz abrewin' about the new movie that's coming out about The Runaways, with which Jett is very much involved. And I've been wondering lately about the initial reception to The Runaways and to Jett's solo work. It occurs to me that nowadays, I tend to take 'girls with guitars' and female-fronted bands for granted. There aren't enough of them, of course, but I'm still spoiled by the amazing work done by bands like Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney and Bratmobile, and by the existence of musicians like Marnie Stern and Anita Robinson. What was it like for Joan Jett -- with her 'androgyny' and tough appearance, with her insistence on writing her own songs and playing her own music, with her ultimate decision to start her own label -- back when mainstream music only had women like Linda Rondstadt and Stevie Nicks to offer? She's not my favorite musician of all time, but Joan Jett is a true pioneer, and I'm grateful for everything about her, from her Gibson guitar to her sometimes off-putting leather clothing.

So on this slow-going hump day, turn up the volume on your computer, and celebrate Joan Jett and her "Bad Reputation" -- and celebrate your own, too!

This Hump Day Treat is dedicated to my girl Alma, from Rock Camp. Without Alma and her admiration and respect for JJ's accomplishments, I never would have come to appreciate either her solo work or her work with The Runaways.

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