Clem Snide–Joan Jett of Arc

While I can’t fully endorse Clem Snide’s back catalogue, they did turn out a few quality pieces at the turn of the millennium.  Their frequent snark has not aged well, particularly compared to deeply sincere contemporaries like Arcade Fire and The Decemberists.  It could sometimes veer into too cool and too cutesy.  That said, when the band was able to channel an inherent sweetness, it was able to craft lasting jewels.  Joan Jett of Arc is just that.  With an easy tempo, a gentle xylophone interlude and vocals dripping with longing, the song hearkens back to classic country ballads while being a distinct product of its time.  Maybe it’s the tinge of sadness that helps it stand out from much of the band’s other work, or the fact that it is clever, but not too clever.  Either way, Joan Jett of Arc is a dreamy highlight of the noughties alt-country movement.

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