These Days is one of the best rock albums produced during the '90s. While many Americans have dismissed Bon Jovi as a group that should have died in the '80s, These Days harkens to something grander. The album achieves what every "good" musician sets out to do - evolve.
There is a darker side to These Days blended with new instrumentation ("Diamond Ring" and "If That's What It Takes") Phrases like "I'd bet my life on a roll of the dice for you" are classic. "My Guitar Lies Bleeding in My Arms" followed by "(It's Hard) Letting You Go" are the most creative Bon Jovi tracks I have heard. They contain beautiful guitar riffs and keyboards on top of gallons of raw emotion with JBJ brings to the vocals. Consider the line: "I wish the stars up in the sky would all just call in sick, and the clouds would take the moon out down some oneway trip."
These Days has more than the candypop produced by certain boybands. There is a distinct message to the album: life isn't perfect but there are ways to get past it. Each song on this album could have been a #1 single in Europe or Australia. Jon Bon Jovi clearly became influenced by strains of Blues and almost Country Western. At the same time, elements of grunge make the album bolder.
The only negative comment I can make about These Days is that its long-awaited follow-up, Crush, is a step backwards in artistry, yet I'm thrilled that Crush is plain and simply, good.
Bon Jovi Forever!