I know this is the part of this thread where I’m supposed to jump in and rip Jet.
“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” is a magnificent single, a terrific piece of summer rock ephemera that future generations will pick over like a modern-day “What I Like About You”.
Thing is, I’ve heard the whole Jet debut album. And it isn’t horrible, (ok, the production is awful–maybe the worst-produced/mastered album a major label has released in 30 years) but it is horribly misguided. Jet casts their net far and wide stylistically, suggesting that a marketer gave them the first two Nuggets boxes and a White Stripes collection and told them to fish around those waters. They found a hit “sound” in “Are You Gonna”, but that’s just one Jet sound on that album out of about 4 different Jet “sounds” that they were trying on on that disc–it’s just the one that caught on.
And so in that respect, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” is basically 2006’s version of The Knickerbockers’ “Lies”, a song which I love dearly. Thankfully, the Knickerbockers never really took themselves very seriously–they were a lounge act from Jersey who just happened to be talented enough to do a spot on Rubber Soul imitation and make themselves eternal one-hit wonders.
Which brings us to my problem with Jet. They’re one-hit wonders who aren’t smart enough to realize it. They’re trying to parlay that sound into an actual “serious” statement about something or other, and it just doesn’t fly. For one thing, they’re not even smart enough to realize how contrived they are, and as a result they sucker pre-pubescent girls (and Dave Long) into ascribing them more importance than they deserve. Fact of the matter is, there’s a band out there doing Jet’s schtick, and doing it better than they ever could. Louis XIV is also about as contrived as it gets…but they’re smart enough to know that, and that’s part of the joke they’re letting everyone in on. With a wink and nudge and tongue firmly in cheek, they rip through songs like “Pledge Of Allegiance” and “Finding Out That True Love Is Blind” with a spirit and silly joy that casts the ideological difference between them and Jet in stark contrast.
Being “the Journey or Bon Jovi” of this generation doesn’t make you cool, because it didn’t make Journey or Bon Jovi cool in their own generation! The jackholes who listened to those bands and their hyper commercialized pap had some of the worst record collections on the planet (and also some of the smallest, since liking those bands usually was symptomatic of hatred of music.) The cool kids clique in my high school thought Journey and Bon Jovi sucked. Def Leppard, April Wine, Van Halen, Motley Crue, and maybe a touch of Ratt or Quiet Riot, thanks.
Getting excited about a second full-length album from Jet is like going ape over a second full-length Zager & Evans album.