Riddles

Sometime in the early 80’s I discovered Joan Jett and there was something about her music that I immediately liked.  She had this sort of angry energy about her that really appealed to the angry young man in me but she also never seemed to lose track of the point that the music was supposed to be fun.  Songs like Bad Reputation, Do You Wanna Touch, I Love Rock N’ Roll, I’m Gonna Run Away, Be Straight, I Love Playin’ With Fire, Coney Island Whitefish, Cherry Bomb, Talkin’ Bout My Baby, I Hate Myself For Loving You, and I Wanna Be Your Dog.  I even liked her covers of Star Star, Light Of Day, and Pretty Vacant.  And so I became an unapologetic fan and remain one to this day.

That said, a considerable amount of time has passed between then and now and I’ve changed (as you’d hope someone would over two and a half decades) and the last time I listened to her albums – at least five years ago, not exactly sure – I really wasn’t into them anymore.  I could hear all the things in them that I used to like and I still understood why I used to like it, but the music wasn’t doing anything for me, and I was kinda bummed about that.

And her newer albums – “newer” in this case meaning everything that’s come out since the 80’s – haven’t done anything for me at all.  I’ll buy an album, give it a listen once or twice, and put it away forever.  About six or seven years ago I passed up a chance to see her live, mostly because I hate crowds of more than, oh, a dozen or so people.  But also because I do not romanticize my youth and she hasn’t made music that has meant anything to me since I was a kid, though I strongly suspect that’s more to do with me than it is with her.

Last Friday I found out that a new Joan Jett album had been released last year.  I downloaded it from iTunes and just this morning, on the way to work, got around to giving it a listen.  So far I haven’t quite heard the entire first song, but that’s because I only put the album in the stereo a minute or so before pulling up to my office.  The first song is called Riddles and having only heard about two thirds of it, I have to say I’m totally…whelmed I guess.  The music is pretty much standard fare and the lyrics are ho-hum.  A quick Google search resulted in this:

Talkin’ heads are talkin’
But listen to what they say
How they sit in judgement
An’ claim to know the way
If dreams can be dismembered
An’ our worth can be ignored
Need a new direction
Cause this one we can’t afford

There’s bad stuff happening
An’ no one does a thing

What can I do
What can I say
When they just speak at
Us in riddles
How can this be
Why can’t ya see
That they just speak
At us in riddles

Got ourselves in trouble
With no relief in sight
Everyday is such a stuggle
Cause they had to pick a fight

How can this be happening
Can’t we do anything

What can I do
What can I say
When they just speak at
Us in riddles
How can this be
Why can’t ya see
That they just speak
At us in riddles

The peace is the war
The rich are too poor
An’ they just speak at us in riddles
How can this be
Why can’t ya see
That they just speak at us in riddles
We’re stuck right in the middle

Clear skies baby
Healthy forests
No Child Left Behind
Wake up people

Big Brother is watchin’ you
They’re takin’ all your rights away
Don’t claim that you represent me cause
I don’t believe a word that ya say

What can I do
What can I say
When they just speak at
Us in riddles
How can this be
Why can’t ya see
That they just speak
At us in riddles

Yeah.  I don’t know, I’m pretty sure she and I are seeing the same “talkin’ heads”, but they don’t really talk in riddles do they?  They just talk in shit.  Because the “talkin’ heads” are fucking stupid and I turn the goddamn television off when they’re talking (with a G).  I mean, come the fuck on, how can anyone in their fifties have written that shit?

I don’t know, I have a hunch if I was in high school I’d hear this song and think to myself (or perhaps even say out loud), “Fuck yeah!”  But I’m not.

I started writing this on Tuesday and just last night, I finished listening to the whole album.  It’s a bad sign when it takes that long to listen to 14 songs.  There are a few that are alright but mostly the whole album is just kinda there.  One of the songs is a remake of a song off her third album, which wasn’t even close to a hit at the time it was released and has me a little confused as to why she remade it.  Bottom line?  Mediocre.  And I have less time for mediocre music than I do for bad music.

One of the nice things about buying music off iTunes and other online venues is that you’ll never stumble across the CD again at some point in the future, which means you’ll never pop it in your stereo again, wondering if it was really as bad as you’d thought.

About

Tim Hatch lives in a secret volcano headquarters somewhere in the South Pacific, where he controls the world economy and writes confessional poetry about his disappointing childhood.

His poetry has been published in MungBeing, East Jasmine Review, The Pacific Review, The Vehicle, Touch: The Journal Of Healing, Apeiron Review, and he is the recipient of the 2014 Felix Valdez Award.

He finds writing about himself in the third person to be an overtly seductive invitation to tell lies.

He once captured a French Eagle at Talavera.

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