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"These Days" Review 25 July 2000
The kings of -95!

A review by Fredrik /

As to start out with is that I want to say thanks to all the people replying on my reviews, and especially to very nice guys as RO'K and The Flash. You rock!!

Anyway, this review is about their album "These Days" which is one of my big favourites.

I really don't think I would be able to give a top 10 list of BJ's albums, cause there's several of them I'd like to have as #1. The best thing I can say is that considering the times the different albums have been released it has fit perfectly with the current musical surroundings at that time. The same goes for this album!

This album had a darker side and a very social side that probably was very unexpected. I remember the first time I put it in the stereo I went: "hey, what kind of music have they done?" But after a few weeks I sang a completely different tune. It went more like: "This is rock, emotions and true BJ power all over!"

Lets see what I think about the album track by track.

Hey God, 10/10:
A good way to start out this album. A song about loosing your faith no matter what you believed in, but somehow you always seem to find your way back. It is performed with heartful vocals by our always favourite vocalist Jon, and soothing rock guitars by Captain Kid of Swing Richie Sambora (New Jersey, remember? :) ). However, this is a song that many people can relate to at some point in their life. I know I have at times. This is really the essence of what Bon Jovi is about...

Something For The Pain, 9/10:
Another of my favourite songs of "These Days". A great rock song that they unfortunately didn't perform live when I saw them in -95. It brings sort of the same concept as "Hey God" does, just with a little different view of it. I think The Flash couldn't have said it better. "It brings us again that strange but perfect connection of pessimism and optimism". You know the words man, and so does Bon Jovi!

This Ain't A Love Song, 9/10:
Ok, what can you say? The almighty and world famous ballad of "These Days". A song where the story tells of a man who knows that his true love will never last. Heartful and not to forget an awesome song. So why don't I give it a 10 then? Well for the simple fact that I don't think it's the best ballad on this album.

These Days, 10/10:
A song that speaks of working towards what you believe in, no matter how hard it might be. Always go for it and never give up. Excellent intro played by Richie and David as well..

Lie To Me, 9/10:
One of the songs Jon loved to perform most on the tour 95/96. He sings about true love and how hard it might be to work things out all the time. But in the end, it's always worth it. A fact, a true Bon Jovi fan will definitely love this song!

Damned, 7.5/10:
As many of you said (and asked), why is this song so underrated? Well, I don't really know. It is however not a favourite song of mine, and it's reminds (at least me) a bit too much of the "Keep the Faith" song thus loosing a little of it's creativity and originality. A great song, but nothing that stands out very much. It's a song about love and how hard it can be, and despite the hard times it can always make you stronger. Excellent lyrics, but the music itself isn't too original in its own sense..

My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms - 9.5/10:
Very imagitive title, although the undermeaning speaks of someone who has been seriously heartbroken and that particular person doesn't know what to do. Overall this is song is VERY melancholic and depressing, and what kind state of mind Jon and Richie was in when they wrote this song is hard to imagine. The song is great both lyrically as well as musically and has a very deep touch..

(It's Hard) Letting You Go - 10+/10:
My favourite song on "These Days". I just love the soft and gentle atmosphere and how the lyrics speaks of a man trying to get away from his past, but no matter what he does it always comes back to torment him. I just don't know what it is that makes this song so special to me, but it just gets to me in ways music rarely does. If I would have to make a Top 10 song list this is seriously close to #1..

Hearts Breaking Even - 8/10:
Again, an underrated song. Sure, I didn't appreciate this song either when I listened to this album for the first time. It has a somewhat good rocking atmosphere, but maybe mixes too much between different tempo styles. The lyrics are good and as is the music, but it's nothing out of the ordinary..

Something To Believe In - 10+/10:
For some reason the two songs Jon wrote by himself for this album became my two biggest favourites. This song has so much power in it. Innovative drumming by Tico brings it to a whole new level, the heartful vocals by Jon takes it to heights that are amazing. Richie's guitar-playing is one of the best I've heard. He changes his playing in such numerous ways in this song that it's breathtaking. This song really bespeaks the same things as "Hey God" is about. How you're loosing faith and you need something to hang on to and believe in. And if you stop believing in something, something else will be dragged with it along the way. THIS IS AWESOME!!

If That's What It Takes - 8/10:
A powerful beginning breaks into a soft verse. Innovative? Yes. Does it work? No, not completely. I think the beginning somehow gives false hope of what the song is supposed to be, and that just follows me through the entire song. It's a great rock song with powerful chords and excellent playing by the guys, but I think they should have made this song a little heavier. It would have worked out better then.. The stick part also takes a turn it shouldn't have. It almost gets a rock/blues feeling, and I don't give much for that..

Diamond Ring - 8/10:
A really slow piece and maybe not the best way to end the album, at least for those who have that version. It gets too slow after a song like "If That's What It Takes" and to me this sounds almost like a filler. The lyrics are good but why this really soft and gentle music? This isn't just my cup of tea, and even though a ballad was good in this track space it could have been a little different. More in the likes of track no. 3 or 8. The stick part with the vocals "You know, I bleed every night you sleep. 'Cause I don't know if I'm in your dreams. I want to be your everything..." is my favourite. If the song had more of that influence this could have been really close to a 10..

All I Want Is Everything - 10/10:
This is awesome! The vocals in this song is one of the best on the entire album as well as the heavier music. To me I find this track to be a little throwback to the songs on "Keep the Faith" which by me is great. :) This is almost better than "Hey God"..!

Bitter Wine - 8.5/10:
Definitely better than the US version end track "Diamond Ring". It has somewhat of the atmosphere as that song, but I think that the specific lyrics and that there's a little more drums and guitar makes this one better. Good way to end one of their best albums.. :)

All in all this album was probably unexpected by many Bon Jovi fans, but as you can see it turned out to be one of their best. Sure, many didn't like it at first but if you look at it now you see that this is die hard album for all the fans around the world. There is however one thing that The Flash said that I definitely agree with. The demo song "Wedding Day" should have been on the album, cause it's one of the best songs the wrote during the These Days sessions. To me, it should have replaced the song "Hearts Breaking Even". However, that was just a side note..

Now take care all and lets enjoy the wonderful world of Bon Jovi some more!

Rating: 10/10

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