Joan Jett and the Blackhearts | Sinner (Blackheart)

With Sinner, Jett's letting everyone know loud and clear that she's still here.

It's been over a decade since Joan Jett's last studio release, but with her new album one thing is clear: She still loves rock 'n' roll.

Jett was only a teenager when she founded the all-girl punk outfit the Runaways. She's worked with members of Rancid, Fugazi, the Sex Pistols, and Blondie. She produced the lone album from the seminal L.A. punk act the Germs. With the founding of Blackheart Records 25 years ago, she became the first woman owner of a rock record label. Even after all that, she's probably best known for one song she recorded over 20 years ago, her 1982 remake of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll."

With Sinner, Jett's letting everyone know loud and clear that she's still here. The album rocks hard with chunky, anthem-sized guitar riffs, catchy hooks, and, more than anything, the growling vocals Jett's been honing for about 30 years now.

Sinner kicks off with "Riddles," an attack on the doublespeak spouted by politicians that's easily one of the most overtly political tracks in Jett's catalog, and the strongest song on the album. "Five" takes issue with tabloids with the help of Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill/Le Tigre), who also lends her voice on "Tube Talkin'" and "Watersign." Elsewhere, Jett stays in expected, familiar territory, singing about relationships, sex, and the like.

Jett will have the chance to try out the tracks on a whole new generation with a headlining slot on this year's Warped Tour. It's part of tour founder Kevin Lyman's focus on history, sort of an attempt at showing kids the roots of their music. In this case, though, history ought not be confused with nostalgia. On Sinner, Jett rocks harder than many of the bands she'll be sharing the stage with this summer. And she's been doing it since before a lot of them were born. | Daniel O'Malley


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