First of all, I need to stress this – I am a big Bon Jovi fan. Well, maybe WAS is a better word here. But the fact is, I believe that Bon Jovi’s five first albums are all more or less masterpieces. Things started to go downhill with These Days back in 1995 and it took them five years to put out their next studio effort, Crush, an album that contained only four really good songs and after that things have never been the same in the Bon Jovi camp. What was once a hard rocking band, yet very melodic, with attitude, passion, heart soul and a burning love for playing rock music is now a shadow of it former self. Today, the band seems more focused on how many commercial radio stations they can satisfy than to make music from their heart and guts. And yes, I know that Bon Jovi still sells shitloads of records, but they sold shitloads when they were great too. Besides, Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer also sold millions, but they still sucked. Today Bon Jovi isn’t a real band anymore either. Guitarist Richie Sambora, drummer Tico Torres and keyboard player Dave Bryan are now degraded to Jon’s backing band and that’s another thing you can hear in their music today. Bon Jovi was always a commercial melodic rock, but they always had their own sound, today that sound is gone and if it wasn’t for Jon’s voice their songs could be by any other pop band out there. And you only have to check the credits for the songs to get the reason why. Back when, almost all their songs were credited Bon Jovi / Sambora – lots of times with Desmond Child – the three of them made the famous Bon Jovi sound – but now co-writes are with people like Billy Falcon and John Shanks, people who writes cute little pop tunes for country artists and boy bands.
Still, for some reason, I don’t want to give up on the band – I want so bad that they someday will release an album that knocks me off my rocker, but after listening to this album I just have to gather that this didn’t happen this time either. Damn! It’s sad when I think about the fact that the band that once gave us stuff like “Lay Your Hands On Me”, “Raise Your Hands” and “In These Arms” (and yes, of course the hits we all know) today give us crap like the first single from this album, “Because We Can”. I mean the melody is pathetic and it’s clear that the Bon Jovi guys aren’t interested in challenges anymore. “I’m With You” has some good harmonies, but the song is dull, the title track isn’t really bad, but it goes in one ear and out the other, second single “Pictures Of You” is catchy enough, but still very forgettable and then we have the ballad “Amen”… C’mon already, what is this crap? It’s insulting to be served cheap shit like this! And there are more ballads where that one came from, “Thick As Thieves” is so dull that even my sleep falls asleep and the closing ballad “The Fighter” is just useless. I did find one song here that didn’t suck, “That’s What The Water Made Me”, a pretty rocky piece with a catchy melody, but it needs to be said that this song would never have made it to any of the band’s classic albums. If you want to spend your hard-earned cash on the de luxe version, you get a couple of throwaway ballads and “Every Road Leads Home To You” from Richie Sambora’s latest solo album Aftermath Of The Lowdown. That is the best song, by far, on this album…
To say something good about this album I can add that it’s not even half as bad as the dreadful Lost Highway, but on the other hand, that is impossible. Their last album The Circle was better – no, less bad, but what I can’t understand is how can they release crap like this and still walk down the street with heads held high? Or don’t they care at all anymore? I mean, you must be a complete diehard fan and so narrow-minded that you can’t see the forest for the trees, to appreciate this. Still, I’m pretty sure that no one who grew up on a healthy Bon Jovi diet will even remotely like this garbage. I remember that I thought that Richie Sambora was either lying to himself and us or that he was delusional when he said that Bon Jovi was “rocking hard again” when they released The Circle, but when Jon Bon Jovi states that they have made a “Big rock record” with this one, things just turn laughable. Please guys, stop this debacle now, you are dragging your names through the mud.
Jon Wilmenius (1/10)