Revisiting These Days
As some of you may have seen in my review of Keep the Faith, I mentioned that These Days was my least favorite Bon Jovi album. I've always felt a little hypocritical about that, especially when I hear so many fans are so in love with this album. I tend to love things with plenty of artistic integrity, deep meanings, innovative sounds, etc. But when it came to this album, I just had to turn my head. Why?? Well, when I first bought it when it was released, I certainly found it interesting. But I didn't listen to it all that much. A few weeks had passed since I bought it, I had seen them in concert and had the time of my life. And then it just started to piss me off...why couldn't I get into this album? I just couldn't put my finger on it. One day, I'm listening to the radio (adult Top 40) and a dj starts going off on how music was that year. It was the time of angst rock. Angry, disillusioned rock idols to look up to. He goes on to say how great it was to have a band like Hootie and the Blowfish (HA!) that is just your good old time rock and roll band. This dj was tired of hearing the angry, upset with the world songs of the day. And it hit me- THAT'S what it is!!! That's why I can't get into These Days! It's just not what Bon Jovi is about to me. Bon Jovi was always about escape. It didn't matter to me if they were breaking new ground musically or saying new or relevant things. As long as they could take me away from the world, I would always have a place in my heart for them. These Days was living in the world with me. For some reason, I can take that from any other band, book, movie or especially a play...but not Bon Jovi. Isn't that awful? I suppose it's because when I play Slippery or Faith, it takes me back to a simpler time, when a song could completely turn my mood around and make me forget about the world. I know that it's not that simple now, but it reminds me of a time when it was, so it instantly lifts me up, just to remember this.
So...after that long introduction, I now must get to the point. I decided to give These Days a listen after, what is it, 6 years?
Wow. Musically this is a very impressive album. Some of the most hauntingly beautiful melodies they ever wrote. I used to find the album a bit insincere- I thought they were just writing it to be in with the style of the day. But now it doesn't seem forced or insincere. It's heartfelt. I suppose the guys just wanted to go in another direction, and this was the time to do it. It was probably highly necessary.
Hey God- that song would have been my theme song in high school. It's so hard to believe that Jon could be singing these words! The man of believing, keep the faith, we're halfway there...etc. etc. But it sure rocks. But man, it is so out of character that it distracts me! It's not as if Jon is not entitled to these feelings, he certainly is...but as far as the image of the band, wow does it go against it.
Something for the Pain- that song used to irritate me. It's slightly grown on me now.
This Ain't a Love Song- always enjoyed it. I used to swoon (okay, not literally hehehehe!) when it came on the radio. Such a great melody.
These Days- I always thought it was a great song, never denied it. Great piano solo for Dave! Woohoo!
Lie to Me- Gorgeous, I've always loved this one. Very Beatle-esque as far as production(my favorite band of all time!)
Damned- rocks hard. Doesn't mean much else to me though.
My Guitar Lies Bleeding- yikes. Dark dark dark. I don't know if I can really take it seriously! But I can understand where the lyrics come from...it really is about wondering if you will lose your creative soul. I can relate to that!
Letting You Go- hmmm. How do I feel about this one? It is pretty beautiful, but not astounding. Depressing as hell!
Something to Believe In- this song, on One Wild Night Live, kind of inspired me to go back to this album. It's got such a great sound. But I can't help but feel that it seems like he's rehashing a John Lennon song ("God" from Plastic Ono Band).
Hearts Breaking Even- okay does anyone else feel that this sounds like an Aerosmith song (and I love Aerosmith to death!)? I know Desmond Child collaborates with them, so that's why. But still, it's so Aerosmithy, that it's distracting! Great hook, though.
If That's What it Takes- I remember when I first heard the album, this song bugged me. Sounded like total filler. After this recent listen, I actually don't mind it.
Diamond Ring- ooooh do I have memories of this song! I'll never forget, right around the time New Jersey was released, there was a radio program with the boys. They sang this acoustically on the program (I had it all on tape- don't ask me where it is now!) and I just MELTED. I feel as if this recording doesn't live up to the first version I heard, but of course that's not fair. I just can't forget the impact it had on me that night when I first heard it, it could never match that feeling.
So, in conclusion, I can say I completely respect this album. It's quite an achievement for the boys. But while I was listening, my heart was heavy. It was breaking. I hated that feeling. Bon Jovi depressed makes me depressed. I can listen to any other band sing songs like that (and get quite fanatical about them, too)...but not Bon Jovi. No matter what, they will always be heroes. They are best when they're laughing in the face of adversity. I suppose it's just a hurdle I can't get over...they will always be the same Bon Jovi when I was 12, listening to Slippery to get away from those awful awkward pre-teen feelings. Poor guys. Luckily they have other fans that enjoy this album and will let them take another direction, cuz I sure feel bad about it!
This album put me in such a sad mood that I didn't want to go to bed with the songs in my head...I had to put on Crush to just get it all out of my mind!!! Isn't that nuts???
To those of you who love this album and count it as your favorite- more power to you! I wish I was as strong as you!