By Entertainment Online
With an album title like Bounce (2002), one might suspect that Bon Jovi has ventured into the world of the rap bridge. Thank Heavens that is not the case. Though some nice venturing wouldn’t be such a bad thing for the Jon Bon Jovi/Sambora headed rock band, since, musically, they haven’t gone anywhere since the early 90s. This album, new but not new-sounding, is simply more New Jersey rock’n roll from New Jersey’s biggest band since Springsteen’s E Street. True, there were some good times from ‘89 to ‘94. The band sure had its share of fans, and they still do because, well, they’re the same fans. But Bon Jovi won’t be gaining major MTV airplay these days because although folks enjoyed themselves immensely during “their time,” the big-hair-day images their sound conjures up are for whatever reason not fondly remembered.
Still, solid rock ‘n roll is solid rock ‘n roll, and there is plenty of it on this album. From its start with Undivided, the compilation serves up equal doses of Jon’s trademark scratchy, soulful vocals and Richie Sambora’s heated electric guitar, a dynamic duo if there ever were one, old-fashioned though they may be. Misunderstood and the title track, Bounce are similarly devil-horn inducing in their hard-rockedness, and nearly as catchy as Livin’ On A Prayer.
If only the album’s balladry were as nicely put together. All About Lovin’ You is bargain basement run-of-the-mill sweet stuff with Jon’s vocals being the only high point, while Open All Night, the last track on the album, somehow manages to ruin an elegant piano melody with the same vocals, making it structurally, but not auditorially, pleasing. And don’t even get me started on You Had Me From Hello. One must first overlook the fact that the song was named after a movie line as infamous as "show me the money,” and as tiresome. Unfortunately, one can’t overlook it too easily, because the ballad is nearly as cheesy and dry as its title. The woefully drab love songs would consume the album like a virus if it were not for the fourth track, Joey, a surprising gem of a piano-based ballad containing a moving melody that suits Jon’s bluesy rasp to a tee.
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