not a triumphant comeback

Pure and Simple (Warner Bros.)

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

By Kevin Gibson

Before I even begin, I should confess that I am in fact a Joan Jett and the Blackhearts fan from way back. I even liked "Light of Day," if that gives you an idea of how serious my problem is.

All sentiment aside, J.J.'s new CD Pure and Simple isn't half bad. Of course, that means it's only about half good. Let's just say there's more simple involved than there is pure.

For the most part, Jett and her Blackhearts (none of which are original members) have turned out an average set of music here, relying too much on belabored rock 'n' roll cliches and overused drum crashes and guitar squawls.

However, as is usually the case, there are some bright spots here worth noting. "Eye to Eye," the second song on the disc, uses some of the grooving hooks that helped the band succeed with songs such as "I Love Rock and Roll" and "I Hate Myself for Loving You."

Meanwhile, "Insecure," a post-Eddie Cochran rocker, provides some flare amongst a sea of screech, and "As I Am," a power ballad Jett wrote as a reaction to the 1992 GOP National Convention, shines as possibly the album's best cut.

It's a game effort, but if "As I Am" isn't the single, this album is doomed to be another casualty of the cutout bins. It may anyway.