An open mail to BJ from an Indian fan: Guys, give us the rocking intensity of These Days
A request for the good old Bon Jovi sound, with more complexity in music
Dear Jon, Richie, David, Tico & Hugh,
I know this ain't gonna be the first time you're hearing this complaint, but I'm probably the only guy from my country (India)who's writing about this.
First thing you should know is that you're damn popular in India, and Crossroad, These Days and Crush have all reached #1 here in some chart or the other.
Crush is still going great guns, but because of a whole legion of bloody disco-dancing boy band fans. Boy bands seem to have taken over the world. There was a time when we used to have a large rock following; there still is, in North-East India, where practically every second guy is a band member. There used to be concerts & stuff.
But now because of the boy bands all that is dying. People in my hostel (I'm an IIT engineering student) never used to listen to rock and would mock me for it, but then they gradually began to like YOUR songs. Your songs have soul, love, intensity. You seem to get better with each album. After Keep The Faith, Crossroad and the monumental These Days, I only expected something even better. I expected a renaissance of rock in India coming about due to Bon Jovi with Crush. But no, what you give us is something 'in tune with the times', a pseudo-rock album which sounds like stuff churned out by another of the boys.
It's My Life was promising, but as I heard the songs one after another I was left wondering "What the hell has happened to these guys? There's not a guitar solo anywhere." (Never mind Next 100 Years) "And Jon shows us his greeeeeaaaaat vocal range only in the last notes of Save The World, the rest of the songs being a bit too sugary.
Nobody who's been a fan of yours from the days of SWW can possibly like Crush. The album lacks intensity. There's practically no music in it.
Look, guys, most people who play in bands don't like your music. That's because you're mostly ballads, Richie rarely shows off his dexterity except in songs like Lay Your Hands On Me and Dry County, and there's not much variety in keyboards, beats and bass. To sum up, except for the vocalist, other band members won't be interested in performing your simple songs. I don't believe that David, Tico and Hugh are so amateurish that they can't whip up some really amazing stuff. If you wanna keep your first singles like It's My Life simple so that they sell, that's perfectly fine. But do give us some really hard & complex rock in the rest of the album. Even Whitesnake plays ballads, but they're much more respected than you guys in band circles. Why? Because although David Coverdale is no better than Jon, his musicians play amazing stuff: riffs, solos, et al.
Even I'm in a band. The only band in a university of 4000 people. We play Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Metallica, Deep Purple, Pearl Jam, Van Halen and ultimately aim for Dream Theater & Extreme. I would just love to cover your songs, guys; you're my all-time favourite band. But I can't because my band members are simply not interested in playing songs which they've no work in.
As a vocalist, you're my God, Jon. I can sing Dickinson, Coverdale, Vedder, Lee Roth, Gillian and James LaBrie, but I just can't come up to your style and standards. All these people reach the high notes in nasal tones, you, on the other hand sing high from the chest. And you're the only one who can sing in a distorted voice even at very high notes.
I have this knack for remembering lyrics more accurately than the original singers, and I remember every word of almost all your songs, but I'll never get to sing them unless you churn out some really complex stuff which my other band members will love to play. Richie should reproduce the guitar effects of Lay Your Hands On Me or the speed of Dry County, David should play something like what Deep Purple sounds, Tico should vary his beats much more often. I don't need to be giving you guys this advice, but I really want to sing your songs, and unless and until you bring out an album blazing with musical complexity, I never will get to.
So guys, please don't try to be too popular. Look at what's happened to Metallica because of Load & Reload; they've lost many old fans. Please don't let the same thing happen to you. You'll lose the people who loved your power ballads, and there's not much satisfaction in gaining fans who also swear by Backstreet Boys & Britney Spears, is there?
Don't give us another Crush. These Days was one album in which I liked every song, and my band members also have a respect for that album because of musically rich songs like Hey God and Damned. Give us an album as intense as These Days but with a lot more musical complexity. That way I'll realise my ultimate dream of singing a Bon Jovi song.
And please do it soon.