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SHANE’S MUSIC CHALLENGE: BON JOVI – 1988 – New Jersey

| 6 March 2014 | Reply

SHANE’S MUSIC CHALLENGE: BON JOVI – 1988 – New Jersey
5.5/10

Bon Jovi - New Jersey cover

Jon Bon Jovi was always a driven (some might say ‘opportunistic’) soul – which is probably why he has been so successful at selling records at the expense of any shred of rock cred, and seems not to care one iota.

New Jersey was his transition album. After perfectly tapping into the ‘cocaine and boob job’ zeitgeist of hair metal, he instantly turned his back on being a bouffant-haired pop metal idol and aimed the controls for the heart of the blue collar, working class rocker, set.

He’s never hit the bullseye though with that goal – real working class dudes and dudettes are usually smart enough to sniff bullshit a mile off, and JBJ’s deliberately-written heartland-appealers aren’t even close to the same league as his idol Bruce Springsteen’s by a yawning chasm.

Still, he and Ritchie Sambora have written some good tunes, and Lay Your Hands On Me and Bad Medicine are perfectly tailored stadium rockers, while Born To Be My Baby treads Bryan Adam’s footpath, and I’ll Be There For You remains a soft rock ballad favourite amongst those who like that sort of thing.

It’s the last Bon Jovi album that I can actually sit through – the commercial imperative to shift more units quickly over-rode any artistic integrity, leaving a vacuous sheen over pretty much everything they’ve done since.

My favourite here? The recorded-in-a-hotel-room demo-sounding Ride Cowboy Ride. Despite the clichéd ‘rock star as cowboy’ lyrical theme (which he rode into the ground over and over), it’s still far more real and organic than anything else here – or that he’s released since.

PS – yes, yes, I know ‘Bon Jovi’ is a BAND. But it’s JBJ’s baby and this is my blog so live with it!

Shane

Category: Shane's Rock Challenge

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