I think, or I would like to think, that every music fan, and particularly every rock & roll fan, has a moment like this.
I was about 12 or 13, scanning the FM band on a Walkman that my friend had accidentally left in the backseat of our minivan. The little radio didn’t have a very strong receiver, but it managed to pull in a station I hadn’t listened to before, and that station played the dirtiest song that I had heard at that point in my life: Jet’s “Cold Hard Bitch.”
Admittedly, it was a censored version, but the song smacked me right between the ears. It was unrepentantly offensive, dirty, and loud, and I felt a tangible illicit pleasure listening to it while my parents were sitting unaware in the front seat. When I got my first iPod Mini a few years later, “Cold Hard Bitch” was the third song I bought—though I changed the title to “Cold Hard Woman” as a play at modesty.
The song is derivative (go read the scathing and/or slightly immature Pitchfork reviews): AC/DC swagger, offensive lyrics à la the Stones, overdriven guitars, breakdowns, etc. But no matter. I swear there’s a whiff of ozone as that first guitar chord crunches to life, and that stretched-out opening “yeah” is just about as elemental as it gets. That opening yell is the sound of joy, really—the cathartic joy of having a working rock & roll band rumbling and cresting behind you. Or a young boy’s joy in the backseat of his family’s minivan.