Review Summary: A career spanning three decades could offer so much more than another average release.
Bon Jovi is a band that undoubtedly loves music. Any band must if they have virtually the same lineup for 30 years. Anyone who was a fan in the early years of the band’s inception would probably say they never would have thought Bon Jovi would still be making music 30 years from now. Honestly we wouldn’t be missing out on much if they had stopped earlier.
I was raised listening to the many hair metal bands of the 80’s such as Bon Jovi. What Jon and the boys have released the past few times sounds like a different band completely. Don’t get me wrong there have been some gems hidden throughout, like a few tracks on Bounce. It was probably they’re best release in the new millennium, and it is one of my favorites due to its heavier side which is completely nonexistent now. Unfortunately for the most part, Bon Jovi has just turned into a generic sounding modern or soft rock band that tries too hard to change with the times.
A first impression from the album art offers some sort of colorful change from their last few efforts. Too bad the music within doesn’t do the same. The album opens with the chanting and story-telling of Because We Can. While the band is well into their 40’s and 50’s, Jon and Richie’s song-writing prowess is still there. This has really been the only saving grace of the past decade. I’m not saying that every song is written in gold, but the lyrics in most of the songs are the only interesting part. Most of the CD seems to be feel good songs such as Army of One that shout phrases like “Never give up; you’re an army of one”. While they may be long past the days of Tommy and Gina, these vivid pictures and stories are seen in the lyrics through most of the album. That being said, the instrumentation is somewhat lackluster. There are moments where Richie busts out one of his famous solos like in Pictures of You, but for the most part the songs are too generic and similar musically. As we’ve seen in some of the classics, you can’t go wrong with just Jon and a guitar. But this isn’t the case when almost every song does this. It does however make for some good ones such as The Fighter. The last track on the album, it was my favorite due to the emotion felt in Jon’s voice which is backed by nothing but a guitar.
As you can see, there is not much information on the tracks, because there really is nothing to tell. Diehard fans will buy it just because of the name, and those that have never liked them definitely won’t have a sudden change of heart. It has a feel-good and inspirational vibe for the most part, but it is nothing more than a fun listen at best. I do give the Jersey boys credit for sticking it out this long, but if they do happen to continue to release albums, hopefully they will start to change it up a bit.