The Pitchfork snotterati would have you believe Jet’s sophomore album, Shine On, is the sonic equivalent of a monkey slurping his own piss, straight from the tap. Derivative, uninspired, and strained, sure, but I wasn’t struck with any urophagic urges after giving it a spin; besides, didn’t those guys hear Pharrell’s solo album? If anything, I felt a little sorry for these Australian lads, since Shine On confirms their fluke status.
As albums splinter into iPod-ready fragments and YouTube renders the most obscure bands locatable, there’s a generation of musicians making music that mistakes aping influences for actual creativity; assuming that pale sonic imitations of predecessors will wow critics and pull the wool over the public’s eyes, one group after another lines up a dazzling debut smash, only to bow with a ho-hum second record. Jet is no exception; Get Born was a mega-hit dripping with crotch rock lineage and “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” is still the best stripper anthem AC/DC never wrote. But beyond the Apple ads and trippy VH1 theatrics, there wasn’t much else to chew on—“Cold Hard Bitch” notwithstanding.
I wasn’t surprised that Shine On confirmed my suspicions of creating-on-fumes, but that didn’t make these 15 tracks any more enjoyable—there’s no solace in half-assed guitar rock. A blurry photocopy of Get Born, with a few more effects and slightly cleaner production, Shine On loses steam right after the okay single “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is,” petering out at a rate that raises the question: why 15 tracks? You can practically hear the energy draining away as the album progresses and one song slides into another, indistinguishable by either melody or lyric. Music channels, magazines and radio are thriving at the expense of these “one-off bands,” and Jet, whether they like it or not, are living proof of exactly how much of a waste that is.