ANY DAY NOW, someone like Elvis Costello or Ian Dury will write a song called "Girl Rock," about how the music industry pulled a kind of Stepford Wives act on the nouveaux wavers and came up with black-leather Barbies like Joan Jett.
The cover photos for her new album, "Bad Reputation" (Boardwalk FW 37065), pose her as a squeaky-clean rotter with kohl-rimmed raccoon eyes and studded bracelets lifted off a passing Doberman. This may be the beginning of bubble-gum punk, a superficial, untaxing, up-yours ranting that seems likely to edge onto the very assembly-line sales charts the New Wave sought to roll over.
Jett, La-La-Land pube and one-time centerpiece of the Runaways (punksploitation descendants of the Monkees), doesn't seem to have settled on a persona below skin level. When she isn't advertising her complete independence, she's showcasing her vulnerability. And sometimes both at the same time: In "You Don't Own Me," she quivers, "You don't own me, I'm not one of your many toys/You don't own me, Don't tell me not to go with other boys/Don't tell me what to do, Don't tell me what to say. . ." as if it were Dionne Warwick's lugubrious "Don't Make Me Over."
There are a thousand echoes in Jett's various interpretations, although none is quite so funny a mix as the title cut, in which the hook, "I don't give a damn about my bad reputation," sound exactly like a piece of Spingsteen's "Rosalita" ("Your papa says he knows that I don't have any money") performed by the Who as "Summertime Blues."
The couple of oldie covers -- the Isley Brothers' "Shout" and Same the Sham's "Wooly Bully" -- are okay, even cute, but not startling. "You Don't Know What You've Got" has a moment of true Top 40 harmony, and might make for a surprising single success, although it would probably embarrass any Runaways fan.
The best cut on the album is Doing All Right With the Boys," a Gary Glitter composition that not only suits Jett's limited vocal capacities but also her bitch-is-back swagger. All in all, though, you might as well wait for the Chu-Bops.
Meanwhile, back in the Bay Area, sloe-eyed slinker Pearl Harbour has managed, in the space of 13 rapid-fire numbers, to put the elbow to a parade of popular music idioms: western swing, pub rock, proto-punk, R & B soul, gospel rock and even backroom jazz-honky took revivalism. Now that's an album.
"Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost Too" (Warner Bros. BSK-3515 includes a number of really funny spoofs -- satires, actually, since they pass for respectable crations in their own write. "Fujiyama Mama" is a don't-fool-with-me-fool rouser ("I'm a Fujiyama Mama, I'm about to blow my top") which leads immediately into a tender rejection song punctuated by a punky sense of anti-lyrics: "Everybody's Boring But My Baby."
"You're in Trouble Again" is an R & B gem about a two-timer about to pay the morning-after price: "You're in trouble, sister, you're in trouble for sure/And the worst thing is you keep going back for more."
"Heaven Is Going To Be Empty" starts out like a whimper ("I admit that I'm no angel, but you got the devil in you") but winds up like a gang, a twist on the old joke about not going to heaven because no one you know will be there. And "Let's Go Upstairs," which has been getting some single airplay hereabouts, mixes Rickie Lee Jones with Leon Redbone in an irresistibly honky-tonk special.
And meanwhile, the sometime queen of San Francisco rock, Grace Slick, is back in town, with a bastardized band that sounds as if she thought Cher's lastest metamorphosis into designer punk might have left some rock unturned.
On "Welcome to the Wrecking BALL" (RCA AQL1-3851), Slick's four-man band (plus Joe Lala on percussion and Paul Harris on keyboards) stars her collaborator Scott Zito, who also plays lead guitar and harmonica and sings. The material is widly uneven, as her albums seem to guarantee, but the good news is that after years of abuse and uncertainty, Slick's voice seems restored to its original fervor.
There is as always a healthy dose of preachifying ("No More Heroes," "Shot in the Dark") and a willingness to lean on cliche (in "Lines," Slick discovers, as if for the first time, how to cross-fertilize metaphors about standing in line and snorting lines of cocaine and the increasing dehumanization of society, zub zub zub). "Right Kind" is a funny but slightly knee-jerk second-wave love song: You dress badly, you're a pain, but you're okay by me.
But "Shooting Star" has an eerie attraction, a touch of the old trick Slick mysticism. And occasionally, as in "Sea of Love" and "Mistreater," there moves a genuine torment and yearning that is the wick of Slick's longtime candle in the wind.