Jet – Rollover DJ

4 out of 5

Label: Capitol Records

Produced by: D. Sardy

While Jet’s career has somewhat mimicked many flash-in-the-pan acts – a hot debut album of irrepressibly catchy singles; a less-well received followup; a footnote release thereafter; and then group dissolution and eventual reunion – that still left us with a pretty kick-ass, consistent first album. Regardless of how derivative of the Stones, and however many riffs or melodies were lifted from the Beatles, it was damn catchy stuff, and I’d say the group was pretty up front about these stylistic “borrowings,” keeping the focus on energy and earworms over anything too meaningful or long-lasting.

I go back and forth on how I feel about that when it comes to an album; it’s empty stuff, and I never outright feel like listening to it, but it’s so well performed and produced that, should it come on a random playlist, I’m not likely to turn it off. So perhaps a single is a good compromise: it’s bite-sized, you get everything the band offers boiled down to some key tracks, plus insight into how they sounded live, which also surely would’ve helped their rep, since it’s also energetic as hell.

Thus: Rollover DJ, a poppy, hand-clappy single from Get Born, and two of their other massive singles performed live, the recordings of which sound pretty fantastic: they’re raw but aurally deep, and there’s enough wiggle room from the studio versions to make them have their own flavors.

Sgt. Major is a Beatles-y track that was on a limited edition version of the album, and fits the same “incredibly predictable but sounds great” mold, while closing cover Back Door Santa is, again, the group owning up to their blues / funk influences, as it’s a cover of a Clarence Carter track from the late ’60s, amped up with Jet’s sharpened guitars and Dave Sardy’s production.

Nothing here is necessary if you own Get Born, as it’s all of the same template, but it’s less commitment to listen to than a full album, in case you’re pressed for time and need a quick reminder on how and why Jet was briefly heard everywhere.