Jet – Shaka Rock
So Jet has a new album out entitled Shaka Rock. Yep, I know. A lot has been said about Jet in the past. They wear their influences on their sleeves, they constantly look for the next big hit, childish sing-a-long choruses galore, the writing can be moronic at time; all of it has been said by reviewers in the past and probably more. It’s mostly all true too. One listen through the new album and you’ll hear it all. Three more listens and you’ll swear by the statements. Their influences are evident on most tracks like “Don’t Break Me Down” which mirrors The Beatles melodically & lyrically. “She’s A Genius” is definitely their attempt at making a new break-out hit after “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” & “Cold Hard Bitch.” Most of the songs do have the sing-a-long like “Walk” with its basic “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” part where everyone will sing with. Finally, the chorus to “Times Like These” is so badly written that I literally cracked up listening to it. Yes, all of these criticisms are true, but while these things definitely detracted from their previous works, I really don’t think it hurts this album. “Don’t Break Me Down” is a pretty damn good song & one of the best on the albums, Beatles-ridden or not. “She’s A Genius” is ultimately a fun song that you can’t help but to like. “Walk” is a song that definitely grows on you after a while probably because of the sing-a-long. And “Times Like These” is….well, honestly, that song just flat out stinks and may be one of the worst songs I’ve heard in a long time along with “Start The Show.”
But what I’m trying to say is that while all these negative things about Jet are true, the band is slowly but surely turning them into positives & embracing them. Yes, they sound like U2 in the opening track, but is that a bad thing to try and emulate? “Got To Get You Into My Life” is clearly John Lennon ripping-off Motown, but it’s still one of the better songs off of Revolver. “La Di Da,” while a unique track, is clearly designed to be a hit, but if it is, then Hell, Pete Townshend should be shot for writing “Pinball Wizard.” Sing-a-longs? “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is basically seven-and-a-half minutes of just that. Now those are all some of the best rock tracks out there, but it does raise a good point. Most musicians are carbon copies of their influences at first. Hell, I love John Frusciante, but he was basically a better version of Hillel Slovak on the first Chili Peppers album. It’s easy to lay this criticism on Jet because they are nowhere near the level of those bands, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing on the album here as you’ll quickly discover. As the band continues to record, they seem to get more comfortable in the style they’ve carved for themselves and seem to merge it all together better & better.
The end result is not an album I’m going to strongly recommend. If you already dislike Jet, you’re most likely going to dislike this one. If you have no predisposition towards them like me, you’ll think it’s an okay album. And that’s truly what it is. It’s an average, decent, okay, and every other middle-of-the-road adjective album with two or three gems, two or three stinkers, and other songs that just grow on you and you can’t help but like. The good thing here is that instead of drastically changing their music due to criticism, Jet seems to take the criticism and spin it in their favor. If they keep it up, their next album will surely be one that could be good. Who knows? The sing-a-longs there could be classic from the first listen, they could do AC/DC one better, or they could finally score that crossover hit again like we all know they want to. Shaka Rock is certainly not a monkey peeing into its own mouth (how Pitchfork described their sophomore album) and its not album of the year, but it’s an album to grab a few songs off from a band that’s still finding itself.