Picture this. America, 1988. The whole world is in a state of Bon Jovi induced frenzy. People can not get enough of the five guys who make up the biggest musical act in the world. No one thought they could do it the first time. People expected them to do it a second time. This, their 4th album, had to be good, had to be a smash. It had to throw people for a loop and show the world that Bon Jovi was for real.
Critics were still skeptical. Looking back 12 years later, some critics are being kind to Bon Jovi, admitting they have staying power. It all may have started for the guys with “Slippery When Wet,” but “New Jersey” was the album that set it in stone.
Chock full of fast-paced rock songs blended in with power ballads in a fashion that only Bon Jovi seems to be able to master. Even when picked apart, the songs can stand on their own.
“Lay Your Hands On Me” – The opening track starts off ascending. The music fades up with a drumbeat and breaks into loud guitar riffs. If this song doesn’t get someone up off their feet, they must be dead. Jon’s vocals on the provocative lyrics are the perfect fit. You can even almost picture his face when singing “your satisfaction is a guarantee.” I would even venture to call this one of the ultimate live songs (I can’t say that this isn’t biased – this is one of my fave BJ songs of all time) but that is definitely something someone has to experience for themselves to fully understand what I mean. A definite 10/10.
“Bad Medicine” – “Lay Your Hands On Me” wastes no time going into this, the second track. I have to say, the words, when read or really listened to, sound like a porn movie (not that anyone’s complaining). The best part is the line “Cause of there’s something better baby, well they haven’t found it yet.” A classic rock song, “Bad Medicine” is one of the album’s many highlights. 10/10
“Born To Be My Baby” – Along with track number one, this is one of my personal favorite songs. The song starts “2, 3, 4!” and the na-na’s begin. A story of love and determination, some people say “Born To Be My Baby” is another song referring to the infamous Tommy and Gina. This song is irresistible (just ask my friend – she’s now addicted) fun and full of hope. 10/10
“Living In Sin” – I am going to admit this now, I didn’t like this song at first. I had seen the video and just wasn’t sucked in. But the more I listened to it, the more it began to grow on me. This is a song that, if you were doing like I was and skipping over it, don’t. It needs a chance to grow on you, because when it does, you’ll be playing it all the time. It tells a very sad and at times enthralling story. But, because of the lack to grab some people’s attention, 9/10
“Blood On Blood” – Very fast, very fun, “Blood On Blood” is another great example of a rock song. This displays Jon’s voice nicely in the sense of how he can hit certain notes and hold them, not quite screaming but not quite singing either. Listen and you’ll know what I mean. I’ve often wondered if this is a song about him (call me naďve if this is something I should know) cause it sounds like it is. If not, great job, cause it certainly sounds like it could be. 9/10
“Homebound Train” – This song I used to skip over as well cause the beginning is kind of slow and I just wasn’t interested. Of course I let my curiosity get the best of me and I checked it out. It’s not one of the shining moments on “New Jersey” but, if for nothing else (and I know there’s more than this) Jon’s WooWoo’s make the song enjoyable (for me anyway) 9/10
“Wild Is The Wind” – The first time I heard this I thought “What a great song!” and though I stand by that, after listening to the other songs on the album, I’ve formed the opinion that it isn’t one of the best. The words are great, but I just feel that if you were to put it up against some of the others, it would make it look bad in a non-bad way (does that make any sense, cause I don’t know another way to describe it) 9/10
“Ride Cowboy Ride” – 1:25 seconds, but such a great 1:25 seconds they are. I don’t know what about this “song” I like, but I like something about it. Maybe I like its random nature. 8/10
“Stick To Your Guns” – Another good dong about hope and determination, and another song with that “cowboy” feel to it. Personally, this song doesn’t do much for me. I don’t dislike it; I just don’t sit back and say “Let me put on ‘Stick To Your Guns’.” 8/10
“I’ll Be There For You” – The ultimate power ballad, this song is a lot of fun to sing. You can actually feel the pain that they were trying to convey and that’s something not all artists are able to do (but Bon Jovi has on many occasion – being biased again :0) ) Everyone knows this one and I haven’t heard one person who doesn’t like it. It’s also a very fun song to sing along to cause the way Jon sings is kinda difficult, but not where people can’t emulate it. From before it was released, it screamed “hit song.” 10/10
“99 In The Shade” – If there was ever a song about having fun and relaxing and all the great things about summer, this is it. The song has an enjoyable feel and has a reference to Tommy and Gina. If this is saying anything, my mom liked it (she likes Bon Jovi, but she’s not in love with them or anything. This song she liked though) Gives the impression of fun, sun, and vacation. Who wouldn’t like that? 9/10
“Love For Sale” – When I first heard this song I thought, “What the hell is this?” I was taken off guard; it sounds nothing like any of the other songs. I didn’t listen to it (I’m sure many a last track has the same fate). Again, I don’t know what possessed me to listen to it, but when I did I cracked up. And because I laughed at it, I began to like it. It’s a real fun song to dance to, in a hokey kind of way. (as the liner notes say, it was recorded “in the middle of one hell of a party”). Now, I’m afraid to say, I’m addicted to this song. It’s one of those songs you get stuck in your head a lot. 10/10