Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Fit to Be Tied: Great Hits by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts [Blackheart/Mercury, 1997]
Now semiretired, I guess, an honored spinster godmother throughout grrrlland, she's always been endearingly, maddeningly consistent, stubbornly unimaginative in all matters of form. Hence her albums have failed to ignite even though explosions were what her commitment to the rock and roll basics was supposed to insure. But this compilation is the cherry bomb. Combining her own songwriting peaks--from "Bad Reputation" and "I Love Rock n Roll" to "Fake Friends" and the Light of Day non-Oscar winner--with the like-minded strokes of such symbolic friends as Sly Stone, Jonathan Richman, and Tommy James, the material only dips as semiretirement approaches. And she goes out on the Mary Tyler Moore theme. A