Bouncing around Track By Track
This review outlines each song, with my thoughts and conclusions. It also dictates my feelings towards critics, and contains info that most fans already know.
Bouncing around Track By Track
October 19th 2002
On Tuesday October 8th 2002 New Jersey based rock band Bon Jovi released their 8th band album called "BOUNCE."
The title is two-fold. It represents the emotional "bouncing back" of America, specifically New York City, post-911. Bounce also refers to the band's resilience over the last 19 years - to stay together, make music, and please over 93 million album buying humans.
The twelve tracks on BOUNCE range from love songs, rock songs, I'm sorry songs, and friendship songs.
The record opens with solid rock drums, bass, keyboards and power chords leading us to "Undivided" and "Everyday." These songs are both responses to the tragedy of September 11th 2001. They are also, as most Bon Jovi songs, relatable, and relevant to other aspects of life. Human nature suggests survival of the fittest. Who decided that the fit cannot help the weak? Why did it take such a tragedy for one stranger to help out another in a dyer time of need? Undivided says: “Where we once were divided, now we stand united. We stand as one. Undivided.” These heavy rock songs pose these questions and raise the issue of living. “I had enough of crying, bleeding, sweating, dying. Hear me when I say, gonna live my life Everyday.” As the lyrics of Everyday suggest, overcoming tragedy, facing adversity, and moving on is part of life.
“The Distance,” “Misunderstood,” and “Love Me Back To Life,” all outline love courted, love gone astray, and love regained. These mid tempo future classics are perfect for driving to. They make you chuckle at moments you can relate to. You’ve had a fight with a loved one, what you thought were words of gold turned out to be the absolute worst thing you could have said, or your significant other found you in your dark place, and managed to bring you into the light. Promises made in these songs give you hope when you listen to them. It’s as if these songs help you deal with that fight you had, that thing you, or your loved one said, or that dark place you or your loved one was in.
Jon Bon Jovi’s knack for storytelling make “Right Side Of Wrong” and “Joey” two favorites of mine on this record. These epic songs, both under six minuets, outline lives that could easily be captured on the big screen in your standard ninety minuet feature film. These songs illustrate Jon Bon Jovi’s immense knowledge and respect for the art of songwriting and filmmaking. “Joey,” written in the style of Elton John’s “Levon,” also hints at lyrics from The Beatles, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, music by Leonard Cohen, and characters like Billy The Kid, John Wayne, and perhaps a little bit of a young Jon Bon Jovi trying to ‘get outta Jersey.’
“All About Loving You,” is also a ballad that documents a man’s love for his woman. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora collaborate with Andreas Carlsson & Desmond Child to come up with a true to life love song simply outlining how one woman can capture the heart of one man so completely. It can almost be called a proto-type for “You Had Me From Hello,” which takes a line from the film Jerry McGuire (1996) and gives it a life of its own. Jon did this with the song “Thank You For Loving Me,” from Crush (2000). He took a line in a film (Meet Joe Black, 1998), and created a whole new world for it in a song. In both cases it worked. It gave us insight into Jon’s thoughts on the films, the characters, and life in general. He has said that it means more to thank someone for loving them, than to just say I love you. In “You Had Me From Hello,” Jon does his best Eric Clapton, and illustrates to us a history of a man who can actually remember when, and why, he fell in love with his woman.
Jon turns a news story into another classic tale with “Hook Me Up.” This song is about Two young men, two friends, on opposing political ends, trying to contact each other by short wave radio in the middle east. (I also believe that this song is an unconscious opinion on The Internet, and how fans of Bon Jovi, be them any color, creed, or age, “hook up” on the net to discuss their favorite band.) The song opens with a killer riff and then an eerie echoic “Hello… is there anybody out there?...” The verses continue in an eerie echo, soft solo, a short bridge, and then, like a shortwave radio being suddenly cut off, the song just ends.
The title track is second to last on this record. “Bounce,” is a no nonsense hard rocking fun tune that works in the car, on the head phones, and will especially be a great one to hear live in concert. Experimenting with synth-voice converters and an amusing pre-chorus this song is bold. It says “It ain't karma, it ain't luck, Me, I just don't give a F-F-fff- Bounce, Bounce Nothing's Gonna keep me down. Bounce, Bounce Stand up, shout it out. Bounce, Bounce I play hard, I play to win. Count me out, count me in. I'll be bouncing back again.”
This past year Jon Bon Jovi had a recurring role on the one hour dramatic TV series Ally McBeal. He played Victor Morrison, a 40 year old, middle class classy guy with odd jobs. “Open All Night,” takes us into Victor and Ally’s relationship. Jon takes characters from a television show, a line from a Tom Waits song (“I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You”), and melts them together to produce the sweetest epilogue to a relationship that was doomed to begin with. In this ballad, Jon uses the tool of songwriting to effectively, and honestly work out his feelings towards this particular aspect of his life. I believe that this is the most honest song on the record. That is why it is the last track.
Expected to exceed the 100 million albums sold-to-date mark, Bounce debuted on the Canadian charts at #3 (preceded by The Rolling Stones, #2, and Elvis #1). Not bad for 5 guys from Jersey.
Bon Jovi have never been the critics darlings. Mixed reviews by people who do not like this type of music, nor accept this band as a relevant part of society will tell you that BOUNCE is about a band who has never had a good song since 1986's You Give Love A Bad Name (co-written by Desmond Child). They will frown upon a persistent, passionate band, who not only continues to write in the face of adversity, but also transcends fads and fashions. A band who took a dream, penned it on paper, belted it out in song, and led 500 million people to victory and beyond.
An inspiring band. A band that live their lives EVERYDAY.
Come June of 2003. Bon Jovi will have been together for Twenty years.