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Rock - Released August 18, 1986 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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Slippery When Wet wasn't just a breakthrough album for Bon Jovi; it was a breakthrough for hair metal in general, marking the point where the genre officially entered the mainstream. Released in 1986, it presented a streamlined combination of pop, hard rock, and metal that appealed to everyone -- especially girls, whom traditional heavy metal often ignored. Slippery When Wet was more indebted to pop than metal, though, and the band made no attempt to hide its commercial ambition, even hiring an outside songwriter to co-write two of the album's biggest singles. The trick paid off as Slippery When Wet became the best-selling album of 1987, beating out contenders like Appetite for Destruction, The Joshua Tree, and Michael Jackson's Bad. Part of the album's success could be attributed to Desmond Child, a behind-the-scenes songwriter who went on to write hits for Aerosmith, Michael Bolton, and Ricky Martin. With Child's help, Bon Jovi penned a pair of songs that would eventually define their career -- “Living on a Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” -- two teenage anthems that mixed Springsteen's blue-collar narratives with straightforward, guitar-driven hooks. The band's characters may have been down on their luck -- they worked dead-end jobs, pined for dangerous women, and occasionally rode steel horses -- but Bon Jovi never presented a problem that couldn’t be cured by a good chorus, every one of which seemed to celebrate a glass-half-full mentality. Elsewhere, the group turned to nostalgia, using songs like “Never Say Goodbye” and “Wild in the Streets” to re-create (or fabricate) an untamed, sex-filled youth that undoubtedly appealed to the band’s teen audience. Bon Jovi wasn't nearly as hard-edged as Mötley Crüe or technically proficient as Van Halen, but the guys smartly played to their strengths, shunning the extremes for an accessible, middle-of-the-road approach that wound up appealing to more fans than most of their peers. “It’s alright if you have a good time,” Jon Bon Jovi sang on Slippery When Wet’s first track, “Let It Rock,” and those words essentially served as a mantra for the entire hair metal genre, whose carefree, party-heavy attitude became the soundtrack for the rest of the ‘80s. © Andrew Leahey /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 2, 2020 | Captain Kidd Corp.

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Jon Bon Jovi planned to release Bon Jovi 2020 early in 2020 but like everybody else in the world, his plans for the year changed. Taking advantage of his time in a Covid-inspired quarantine, JBJ rejiggered Bon Jovi 2020 so it reflected all the political turmoil of the year, adding songs about war, disease, empathy, and compassion. Jon Bon Jovi doesn't disguise his somber attitude. He reigns in both volume and hooks, keeping focus on lyrics and mood, resulting in a record that deliberately avoids good times even when Jon Bon Jovi is singing about love and transcendence. To his credit, Bon Jovi never avoids directly confronting America's ills -- he lays it all out in "American Reckoning" and implores listeners to "Do What You Can" -- but despite the good intentions, Bon Jovi 2020 winds up getting swallowed up by its heavy-handed rhythms and earnest murk. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 9, 2010 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

It’s been a long 16 years since Bon Jovi was last compiled, when Cross Road arrived for the holiday season of 1994, two years after Keep the Faith capped off a near-decade long run of dominance for the Jersey rockers. As it turned out, it was the first act of Bon Jovi’s career. A subdued second act followed in the ‘90s, with Jon Bon Jovi flirting with a solo career once again before returning to the fold late in the decade, with the band setting out for a decade of professionalism, sometimes cresting into the charts -- usually with the assist of a canny country crossover -- sometimes not. Greatest Hits condenses the highlights of this journey in a mere 16 songs, just two longer than Cross Road -- its simultaneously released cousin, Ultimate Greatest Hits, adds a disc with 12 additional songs -- and two of those are new tunes that are unlikely to show up on any subsequent best of. What’s left is indeed the cream of the crop, albeit presented almost randomly, opening with the twin hits “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” before winding through “It’s My Life,” “Have a Nice Day,” “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “Bad Medicine,” and “Runaway,” finding time for extracurricular detours like Jon's solo “Blaze of Glory” and his duet with Jennifer Nettles, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.” There are hits missing, but you’d need to consult a chart book to figure out what they were, and if their absence matters, pick up the Ultimate Greatest Hits instead, which has another ten hits, mostly from the ‘90s on (“Keep the Faith,” “Lost Highway,” “Bed of Roses,” “These Days”), plus two additional new songs that will likely not make any subsequent best-of. But what these two collections prove is that less is indeed more: there’s nothing left unsaid on that first disc, no hit that would be missed; it tells everything. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2003 | Bon Jovi Profit Split (Catalog)

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Pop - Released October 18, 1994 | Bon Jovi Profit Split (Catalog)

While Bon Jovi managed to stick a couple of killer album tracks onto all of their records, their main strength had always been writing singles. Released in 1994, Cross Road collects all of their biggest hits, adding a couple of new songs (including the international smash "Always," which helped the album go platinum in multiple countries) and Jon Bon Jovi's solo hit, "Blaze of Glory," for good measure. Even the band's detractors may not be able to resist the constant flow of big guitars, bigger hooks, and sweet melodies that pour out on Cross Road. After all, this is what state-of-the-art mainstream hard rock was all about in the late '80s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1992 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Keep the Faith reintroduced Bon Jovi after almost four years of side projects and hiatuses. The musical climate had shifted considerably in that time, a fact that wasn't lost on the band. Faith blatantly brought to the surface the Bruce Springsteen influence that was always lurking in Bon Jovi's sound, and used it to frame Faith's more serious interpretation of the band's pop-metal groove. "I Believe" and "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" both amped up the blue-collar, gospel revivalist feel of Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love," dropping in triumphant power chord changes to ensure arena readiness. But Bon Jovi also took a page from Springsteen's Big Book of Epic Songwriting, padding Faith's center with ambitious balladry and a nearly ten-minute story-song, "Dry County," that wouldn't be out of place on a '70s rock album. Elsewhere, the hit single "Bed of Roses" wisely aimed for the verdant adult contemporary pastures pointed to by Bryan Adams with 1991's "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You," instead of gripping stupidly to the Aqua-Netted mane of glam rock power balladry. Some of the album's straightforward hard rock songs faltered, since they didn't sizzle like the band's vintage material and fell flat next to more inspired material like "In These Arms." But while miles of open highway separated the songwriting of Jon Bon Jovi and his mates from that of Springsteen, Keep the Faith deserves plenty of points for ambition, and it did succeed in updating the band's sound -- even if the replacement parts were bought used. © Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 19, 1988 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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Bon Jovi had perfected a formula for hard pop/rock by the time of New Jersey, concentrating on singalong choruses sung over and over again, frequently by a rough, extensively overdubbed chorus, producing an effect not unlike what these songs sounded like in the arenas and stadiums where they were most often heard. The lyrics had that typical pop twist -- although they nominally expressed romantic commitment, sentiments such as "Lay Your Hands on Me" and "I'll Be There for You" worked equally well as a means for the band and its audience to reaffirm their affection for each other. The only thing that marred the perfection of this communion was Jon Bon Jovi's continuing obsession with a certain predecessor from his home state; at times, he seemed to be trying to re-create Born to Run using cheaper materials. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 19, 1988 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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Bon Jovi had perfected a formula for hard pop/rock by the time of New Jersey, concentrating on singalong choruses sung over and over again, frequently by a rough, extensively overdubbed chorus, producing an effect not unlike what these songs sounded like in the arenas and stadiums where they were most often heard. The lyrics had that typical pop twist -- although they nominally expressed romantic commitment, sentiments such as "Lay Your Hands on Me" and "I'll Be There for You" worked equally well as a means for the band and its audience to reaffirm their affection for each other. The only thing that marred the perfection of this communion was Jon Bon Jovi's continuing obsession with a certain predecessor from his home state; at times, he seemed to be trying to re-create Born to Run using cheaper materials. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 21, 1984 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

From the opening track, "Runaway," which rode to glory on E Street Band-mate Roy Bittan's distinctive keyboard riff, to the sweaty arena rock of "Get Ready," which closed the album, Bon Jovi's debut is an often-overlooked minor gem from the early days of hair metal. The songs may be simple and the writing prone to all clichés of the form, but the album boasts a pretty consistent hard rock attack, passionate playing, and a keen sense of melody. The prominence that keyboardist David Bryan (credited as David Rashbaum in the liner notes) gets on this record is an indicator, perhaps, that Bon Jovi had more than a passing interest in the pop market, which was then dominated by new wave and synth pop. Mixing Journey-like '70s rock ("She Don't Know Me") with shout-along stadium anthems ("Love Lies"), the self-titled Bon Jovi lay the foundation for the band's career, which reached its apex several years later with that very same combination of pop melody and arena-sized amibiton. © Leslie Mathew /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 21, 1984 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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From the opening track, "Runaway," which rode to glory on E Street Band-mate Roy Bittan's distinctive keyboard riff, to the sweaty arena rock of "Get Ready," which closed the album, Bon Jovi's debut is an often-overlooked minor gem from the early days of hair metal. The songs may be simple and the writing prone to all clichés of the form, but the album boasts a pretty consistent hard rock attack, passionate playing, and a keen sense of melody. The prominence that keyboardist David Bryan (credited as David Rashbaum in the liner notes) gets on this record is an indicator, perhaps, that Bon Jovi had more than a passing interest in the pop market, which was then dominated by new wave and synth pop. Mixing Journey-like '70s rock ("She Don't Know Me") with shout-along stadium anthems ("Love Lies"), the self-titled Bon Jovi lay the foundation for the band's career, which reached its apex several years later with that very same combination of pop melody and arena-sized amibiton. © Leslie Mathew /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

With These Days, Bon Jovi firmly established themselves as an adult contemporary act. They still have their fair share of rockers, but they seem half-hearted and incomplete. Instead, the band sounds the most comfortable with love ballads and working class anthems, from hits "This Ain't a Love Song" and "Lie to Me," to the acoustic "Diamond Ring." In fact, as the years go by, Bon Jovi gets musically stronger. Not only are their best songs stronger now, their playing is more accomplished. Keeping these improvements in mind, it's no surprise that the group was one of the few pop-metal bands to sustain a career in the mid-'90s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 18, 1986 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Slippery When Wet wasn't just a breakthrough album for Bon Jovi; it was a breakthrough for hair metal in general, marking the point where the genre officially entered the mainstream. Released in 1986, it presented a streamlined combination of pop, hard rock, and metal that appealed to everyone -- especially girls, whom traditional heavy metal often ignored. Slippery When Wet was more indebted to pop than metal, though, and the band made no attempt to hide its commercial ambition, even hiring an outside songwriter to co-write two of the album's biggest singles. The trick paid off as Slippery When Wet became the best-selling album of 1987, beating out contenders like Appetite for Destruction, The Joshua Tree, and Michael Jackson's Bad. Part of the album's success could be attributed to Desmond Child, a behind-the-scenes songwriter who went on to write hits for Aerosmith, Michael Bolton, and Ricky Martin. With Child's help, Bon Jovi penned a pair of songs that would eventually define their career -- “Living on a Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” -- two teenage anthems that mixed Springsteen's blue-collar narratives with straightforward, guitar-driven hooks. The band's characters may have been down on their luck -- they worked dead-end jobs, pined for dangerous women, and occasionally rode steel horses -- but Bon Jovi never presented a problem that couldn’t be cured by a good chorus, every one of which seemed to celebrate a glass-half-full mentality. Elsewhere, the group turned to nostalgia, using songs like “Never Say Goodbye” and “Wild in the Streets” to re-create (or fabricate) an untamed, sex-filled youth that undoubtedly appealed to the band’s teen audience. Bon Jovi wasn't nearly as hard-edged as Mötley Crüe or technically proficient as Van Halen, but the guys smartly played to their strengths, shunning the extremes for an accessible, middle-of-the-road approach that wound up appealing to more fans than most of their peers. “It’s alright if you have a good time,” Jon Bon Jovi sang on Slippery When Wet’s first track, “Let It Rock,” and those words essentially served as a mantra for the entire hair metal genre, whose carefree, party-heavy attitude became the soundtrack for the rest of the ‘80s. © Andrew Leahey /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Even if it was classified as pop-metal, Bon Jovi never really was much of a metal band, relying on big, catchy melodies and not guitar riffs to make their songs memorable. That's why, in 2000, they're able to make an album like Crush, which strays far enough into pop/rock to actually stand a chance of getting airplay (which it did, with the hit lead single "It's My Life"). The guitar crunch on the uptempo numbers keeps Bon Jovi from becoming a full-fledged pop/rock band, but in addition to the typical hard rockers, there are nods to heartland rock, Bryan Adams-style adult contemporary balladry ("Thank You for Loving Me"), the Beatles (the surprisingly effective "Say It Isn't So"), and even British glam à la T. Rex or David Bowie ("Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen From Mars"). Occasionally, it sounds like the band is attempting to cover as many bases as possible for multi-format appeal, but for the most part, the variety -- coupled with the consistently polished songcraft -- makes for a surprisingly listenable album. The production is a little more electronic-tinged, but not obtrusively high-tech, so the band doesn't come off as desperate to sound contemporary. Aside from a couple of missteps (the soppy, aforementioned "Thank You for Loving Me" and the mawkish posturing of "Save the World"), Crush is a solidly crafted mainstream rock record that's much better than most might expect. Even if Crush is more measured than Bon Jovi's early work, "Just Older" sums up the band's acceptance of their status nicely: "The skin I'm in is all right with me/It's not old, just older." © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 22, 2001 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Die-hard Bon Jovi fans will swear on their sacred Slippery When Wet albums that Bon Jovi is by far one of the best rock bands to sing (or scream) along to, no matter where you are -- in the car, on the road, or in your room, crooning into your hairbrush or anything you can get your hands on. One Wild Night: Live 1985-2001 is the perfect album for fans and newcomers alike, as it features a plentiful bounty of the band's biggest hits and most-screamable tunes. Set against the backdrop of the roars and accolades of their adoring fans at concerts across the world, the songs on this live album become even bigger hits that blast right out of your speakers, making you feel like you're part of the action. The opening track, "It's My Life," starts the Wild Night album off right, with Jon Bon Jovi singing what could be considered the band's credo: "It's my life/it's now or never/I ain't gonna live forever," as the band rocks on around him. The classic Bon Jovi tune, "Livin' on a Prayer" may be addictive enough for you to hurt your vocal chords, but Jovi pulls off the 1986 tune (from the Slippery When Wet album) seemingly without effort, working the crowd into a frenzy. Guitarist Richie Sambora struts his stuff on the live recording of "You Give Love a Bad Name" from the band's 2000 show in Zurich, Switzerland. The New York City recording of "Keep the Faith" will kick your speakers in the ass the way the band did as they nearly wore out the wild crowd at their 2000 show. The album also features a live recording of the band's popular ballad "Something to Believe In" and one of the band's coolest bad songs ever, "Wanted Dead or Alive." The crowd went nuts at the live recording of "Bad Medicine," as the band played one of the tightest sets on the album, where everyone in the band sounded like he was on fire. © Kerry L. Smith /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

God knows why Bon Jovi felt the need to recut its best songs in an adult alternative style with Patrick Leonard as the producer. In the thorough liner notes -- presented as an interview between Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora -- by the suddenly ubiquitous David Wild, Jon claims that the roots of the album derive from a Japanese show he recorded where the intent was to release live, acoustic versions of the band's standards. Alas, the recordings weren't up to snuff, so the band reentered the studio and cut versions that have more overdubs than the original releases. To its credit, the band sounds committed to this rather bizarre project, an endeavor so unconnected to reality that actress Olivia d'Abo -- best known for either her role on The Wonder Years or her lead in the brilliant '90s indie film Kicking and Screaming, depending on your viewpoint -- provides counterpoint vocals to "Living on a Prayer," while "Bad Medicine" boasts breathy, echoed vocals that suggest it was conceived as a reflective affair, not as a dumb hard rock song. This holds true throughout the album, and while the arrangements are relatively interesting, they're rarely improvements on the originals and rarely rise above the level of novelties. And while longtime fans may find it worthwhile on that level, it doesn't offer proof that the band's songs are resilient enough to withstand new arrangements, nor does it shed new light on Bon Jovi or prove that the group is maturing gracefully. And all of that is really too bad, because the songs have stood the test of time, sounding better in their original incarnations than they did upon release, plus the group was moving in the right direction with its last album, adjusting to the sound and feel of middle-aged maturity seemingly effortlessly. This, however, sounds simultaneously safe and hazy; it's the sound of a band that's earned the right to indulge itself and has followed that inclination here. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 11, 2016 | Bon Jovi Profit Split

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"I ain't livin' with the ghost/No future living in the past," sings Jon Bon Jovi on "Living with the Ghost," the second song on This House Is Not for Sale, the first new Bon Jovi album without guitarist Richie Sambora. From those words, it's clear that Jon Bon Jovi isn't shedding many tears for his departed collaborator, and This House Is Not for Sale proves this to be true. While there are certainly moments of sweetness here -- he pens love songs to his woman ("Labor of Love") and guitar ("Scars on This Guitar") -- they're somewhat overwhelmed by the aggressive arena rock that dominates the album. Musically, this is a throwback -- not to the '80s but to 2005's Have a Nice Day, which is the first album Bon Jovi recorded with producer John Shanks. Often, This House Is Not for Sale -- which is the sixth album Shanks has recorded with Bon Jovi -- recalls the exuberant singalongs from Have a Nice Day ("God Bless This Mess" is a kissing cousin to "Who Says You Can't Go Home"), but where that 2005 album felt joyful, this 2016 album is driven in part by spite. Thirty years into his career and Jon Bon Jovi still acts like the underdog ("Every day I wake up with my back against the wall/Anytime you get up, someone wants to see you fall"), and he still sings like he has scores to settle. Presumably, some of these outstanding debts may be with Sambora, who did not leave on good terms, but Jon Bon Jovi is determined that "This isn't how the story ends, my friends, it's just a fork along the road," which goes a long way toward explaining how muscular This House Is Not for Sale is. Bon Jovi and Shanks may not have done much to freshen up the band's sound -- they don't take any mid-2010s musical trends into consideration -- but that simmering defiance does mean this is the band's liveliest album in years. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 2, 2020 | Captain Kidd Corp.

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Jon Bon Jovi planned to release Bon Jovi 2020 early in 2020 but like everybody else in the world, his plans for the year changed. Taking advantage of his time in a Covid-inspired quarantine, JBJ rejiggered Bon Jovi 2020 so it reflected all the political turmoil of the year, adding songs about war, disease, empathy, and compassion. Jon Bon Jovi doesn't disguise his somber attitude. He reigns in both volume and hooks, keeping focus on lyrics and mood, resulting in a record that deliberately avoids good times even when Jon Bon Jovi is singing about love and transcendence. To his credit, Bon Jovi never avoids directly confronting America's ills -- he lays it all out in "American Reckoning" and implores listeners to "Do What You Can" -- but despite the good intentions, Bon Jovi 2020 winds up getting swallowed up by its heavy-handed rhythms and earnest murk. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2005 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Have a Nice Day, Bon Jovi's ninth studio album of original material, picks up where 2002's Bounce left off, showcasing a harder, heavier band than either 2000's Crush or Jon Bon Jovi's 1997 solo effort, Destination Anywhere. Not only that, but this 2005 album finds Jon Bon Jovi picking up on the serious undercurrent of Bounce, writing a series of angry, somber neo-protest songs that form the heart of this record. While he's not exactly explicitly political here, there's little question that he's dissatisfied with the world today, whether it's about life in small town America or the sorry state of pop music; he even goes so far to write a variation on Bob Dylan's classic "Chimes of Freedom" with "Bells of Freedom." Since he's stretching out lyrically, the band finds a comfort zone in sticking in the tried-and-true arena rock that's been their signature sound for 20 years now. While they sound appropriately grand and powerful -- this is one of the few groups that sounds right at home in large venues -- at times they pump up their choruses a little bit too much, so they sound strident, not anthemic. That heavy-handedness, coupled with a loud but colorless production from Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora, and John Shanks, with Desmond Child acting as executive producer for the whole thing, gives Have a Nice Day a sound that's a bit too monochromatic for the band's ambitions, or for its own good: at times, getting through the record can be a little bit of a chore, since there's not much fun to be had here. Nevertheless, it's hard not to admire Jon Bon Jovi's attempt to stretch himself, particularly when he balances his earnestness with tunes as gentle as "Wildflower." © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Lost Highway PS (Audio)

Serious country fans know that "Lost Highway" is a Leon Payne-written Hank Williams classic, but even though Bon Jovi's 2007 album shamelessly trades on iconographic country imagery in a bid for a genre-skipping crossover hit, it's designed for those country fans who don't much care about Hank's legend (never mind knowing anything about Leon Payne). Lost Highway has little to do with any country prior to Garth Brooks, a move that makes sense since Garth was the gateway drug to country music for old Bon Jovi fans in the '90s. In that regard, it makes perfect sense for Bon Jovi to refashion themselves as a modern country act, because their heartland anthems are as thoroughly middle American as any country artist, and in 2007 country was at the core of mainstream pop music; in other words, the band's fans already have made the crossover, so they wouldn't see this crossover move as crass, just as catching up. But when it comes right down to it, Bon Jovi's self-styled country album has little to do with contemporary country in 2007, either. Despite duets with LeAnn Rimes and Big & Rich, despite the occasional fiddle or steel guitar, Lost Highway recalls nothing so much as a latter-day Bon Jovi record in how it balances fist-pumping arena anthems with heavy doses of sentiment. Not long after the buried fiddles on "Lost Highway" fade from memory and enough time passes to excuse the bad Toby Keith knockoff "Summertime," it's virtually impossible to distinguish this album anything after 1992's Keep the Faith. Which isn't necessarily bad, mind you -- Bon Jovi has a flair for commercial craft, knowing how to hit the sweet spot between the mundane and melodic, and there are times on Lost Highway where the group does so again. Ironically enough, what hurts is when they really try to fit into the conventions of country -- usually on the rockers, as on the aforementioned "Summertime" and the even-worse Big & Rich duet "We Got It Going On," which manages to cram in every sports-bar cliché into an unpalatable mess, a talent that also emphasizes Jon Bon Jovi's unfortunate tendency to rely on hackneyed imagery -- but when they're just being the smooth, efficient pop crooners they are, Lost Highway is as good as, and no different than, any Bon Jovi album since Keep the Faith. Which may not make it as adventurous as it appears, but it should still be satisfying all the same to those loyal fans. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 27, 1985 | Bon Jovi Profit Split (Catalog)

Bon Jovi's sophomore release found the New Jersey group continuing with its engaging mix of hard rock dynamics and blatant pop-metal overtones, and primed the pump for the coming popular explosion of Slippery When Wet. Ever since the keyboard call to arms of the breakthrough "Runaway," Bon Jovi had understood that real success lay in a billowing smoke, soft-focus derivation of true metal, where Journey-style synthesizers and soft rock chorus vocals were the name of the game. To that end, 7800° Fahrenheit tempered its black-leather rock & roll with a rudimentary form of the sound that would make Bon Jovi superstars. They puffed out their chests for the groupie-groping, Mötley Crüe-style catcalls of "In and Out of Love" and made sure "King of the Mountain" rumbled with boys-night-out bravado. But they seemed much more comfortable with the twittering ballad "Silent Night" or "Price of Love," where arena-ready riffing met smoke machine keys and vocal trills. There was even "Tokyo Road," a valiant attempt at the epic scope of Springsteen that featured a Japanese-language intro and full-on character development. It was in these moments -- when the tenets of metal tried on the hairstyles of pop -- that 7800° Fahrenheit burned its brightest; the professional songwriting and increased cash flow of Slippery When Wet just made the existing mercury burst. © Johnny Loftus /TiVo