Review Summary: Let it rock!...moderately
Bon Jovi is a band that received critical and commercial success in the 80s and to a lesser degree in the 90s. After releasing a couple of worldwide hits, including anthems ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ and ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’, the band changed their sounds to fit into the heavier rock scene of the 90s. They did this by taking a more mature approach to their musical sound and lyrics. These Days was released in 1995.
After a five year hiatus, were lead singer Jon Bon Jovi and lead guitarist Richie Sambora both released solo albums, Bon Jovi returned to the musical scene with Crush. Like they did in the last turn of the century the band reassessed their sound, although this time to not as impressive results.
‘It’s My Life’ was the opener of the album and lead single. The opener is good rock song with an instantly recognizable introduction and a catchy chorus. ‘It’s My Life’ quickly shows the listener that the band has changed their focus, they are now more interested in writing modernized anthems than an introspective and diverse songs like their previous album. The lead single was a surprisingly massive hit and its success with influence the band for the next decade or so.
‘One Wild Night’ and ‘Say It isn’t so’ were also released as single, and they follow the same style of the previous track. The former is great and fun little rock number, a good solo and a raw vocal performance makes ‘One Wild Night’ one of the better tracks of the albums. The intro is cheesy and unneeded, but I guess it fits the lyrics of the song. ‘Say It isn’t so’ is an interesting rock song with a good beat and a different but still quite good chorus. Unlike the previous two songs, this track’s lyrics are generally interesting although they do tend too sound a bit contrived.
‘Next 100 Years’ is the best track on the album, a longer riff driven number, with a building distorted guitar intro, a long great solo by Sambora and a catchy, and often repeated, chorus. ‘Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars’ is another decent rock track. Sambora shows his chops again with a couple of decent riffs. The lyrics are different here, as they take a more story telling approach.
So five tracks in and so far pretty positive! But does it last?
‘Thank You for Loving Me’ is meant to be the epic ballad, a powerful and emotional song about never ending love. Unfortunately the song is nothing more than a much weaker version of previous Bon Jovi ballads, the chorus even seems like a direct reference to ‘I’ll Be There for You’. Actually that sentence can pretty much be used to describe every ballad on the album.
Jon’s voice is really not that strong on this album, and only on the heavier tracks he is good enough to carry the song. When it comes to slower ballads, when he is needed to hit the high notes and really be the driving force of the track, his voice falls a bit short. He sounds forced at times, and at other times just plain not interested.
‘Save the World’ has a decent enough instrumental, and the chorus has an epic and grandiose feel to it but Jon’s voice can’t quite make it a success here. ‘She’s a Mystery’ and ‘Mystery Train’ are two slower numbers. The latter has an interesting intro and a fun upbeat tempo. The lyrics are similar to Train’s previous hit ‘Meet Virginia’, but not bad. The chorus doesn’t leave much of an impact though. The song could have used a good long solo too.
‘She’s a Mystery’ also has a good calm intro, with Sambora playing a bluesy guitar riff. The lyrics are similar to ‘Mystery Train’, but the chorus is rather sweet. The song unfortunately goes on for way too long, like the other previous mentioned ballads, clocking in at over 5 minutes.
Crush is an average album by a band that has done better a number of times before. The heavier rock songs generally work well, but the album is surprisingly brought down by the ballads, a Bon Jovi forte for the previous two decades.