The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier review
|Bon Jovi Goes Acoustic On Greatest Hits Album
Bon Jovi's Nov. 4 release, "This Left Feels Right," is without question the most inventive greatest hits album on the market. But beware, die-hard fans of the boys from Jersey may have to give it a few plays before they recover from the shock. Bon Jovi has taken a left turn, pulled the plug and gone acoustic.
The old adage, "If it's not broke, don't fix it," certainly doesn't apply here. These men are masters of their craft; they were the driving force behind the entire unplugged movement back in 1989, when they performed "Livin' on a Prayer," and "Wanted, Dead or Alive," at the MTV Music Awards with just a pair of guitars. "This Left Feels Right" is a perfect example of their genius. In an extremely gutsy step, rather than simply reiterating the songs that have made them pop icons, Bon Jovi chose to reduce them down to their cores. Then, with the help of veteran producer Pat Leonard (Rod Stewart, Madonna, Elton John), they proceeded to recreate them.
The opening classic cut, "Wanted, Dead or Alive," has been reworked with a decidedly Zeppelin feel. The influence of Jimmy Page can be easily felt in Sambora's proficient strings, while Tico Torres' expert percussion is reminiscent of the late, great John Bonham. Furthermore, "Wanted" feels as if it's discovered its true essence. In an excerpt from the album sleeve Jon explains, "When we were originally writing 'Wanted, Dead or Alive,' there was no acoustic guitar on the radio. We wanted to bring it back alive." Apparently this song was conceived ahead of its time, and no typical Greatest Hits clone is going to do it justice.
"Livin' on a Prayer," the band's second No. 1 single from 1986's "Slippery When Wet" is no longer an anthem on "This Left Feels Right." Gone are the electrifying power chords, and Richie's hallmark talk-box "wah-wah." But, don't worry. Tommy and Gina are still very much alive in this intimate duet featuring Bon Jovi and Leonard's singer/actress wife, Olivia d'Abo. Her ethereal vocals bring a haunting otherworldliness and vulnerability to this new "Prayer."
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