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"Looking for a little zest after a rather deflatory Bounce?" 20 November 2003
"This Left Feels Right" review at Rockdetector

Source: Rockdetector

Looking for a little zest after a rather deflatory 'Bounce'? The trouble with 'Bounce' was quite simply that it didn't… bounce. It was OK, but at this stage in the game OK doesn't cut it. Bon Jovi had solidified their undeniably worthy status as Rock leaders with previous releases but 'Bounce' showed a chink in the armour. Oddly, it may not have been the band's fault - at least half an album's worth of superb, hooky, radio friendly material from those sessions was relegated to the netherworld of B sides. Dumb move.

So, 90 million album sales down the road and here we are with 'This Left Feels Right'. The initial press releases did not look too promising - "acoustic re-works of old hits". Yawn… But, wait a minute, some last minute snap decisions seem to have put this band back on the rails. Bon Jovi have not only re-worked these songs. They have chucked away the guitar tabs, the rule books and even some classic lyrics to breath a brand new life into a set of (mainly) 80s arena rock, big hair classics. The trepidation in the studio must have been enormous.
First up is 'Wanted Dead Or Alive'. Now this song is somewhat of a catalyst in firing up the whole MTV acoustic movement. BJ have ripped the guts out of it and started afresh and what you now hear is a well oiled, lean and mean Zepp machine complete Bonzo approved thundering drums. The familiarity of this song is well and truly broken as Jon sings "I've seen a million faces and…" Yup, it's gone! It is not a 100% success but it does give the listener some indicator of what is to come and that is, expect the unexpected.

'Livin' On A Prayer'. Could anything reek more of the 80s? Not now, no way, oh no. The 'Slippery When Wet' original has been hammered into a restrained, melancholic and poignant lament much more in keeping with Jon's Springsteen-esque urban lyrics. Complementing him on this track is actress Olivia D'Abo, whose powdery ripostes come across like a cuddlier Marianne Faithful. It's a neat idea which could have backfired horrendously but in fact works beautifully. D'Abo and JBJ really click and its nice to hear some nuances that only actors can give. It is also with this song that you began to realise two very strong pluses delivered by this album. Not only does Jon give his best vocal performance to date but Richie Sambora really goes to town on his guitar. These two explore every emotion made available to them and come out of it with flying colours. They're not making a hit album here, they're making music.


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