The album that defined a decade
When people think about the 90's, alot of things will come to mind - blockbuster movies, cyberspace, the launch of a new world...and Bon Jovi. That might sound very ambitious, but throughout the decade, only one band had the charisma and skill to pull in audiences from every stadium in the world. I know, because I saw them in my hometown - a harbour city tucked away in the northern coast of South Africa.
"These Days" is my favourite Bon Jovi album of all. I love all the albums I have of Bon Jovi's (except the first one - don't have it yet), but there's just something different about this one. Maybe it was the time I found myself in - a 15 year old kid ready to take on the world...with a little help from the band! Their music made you believe you could do it, and "These Days" re-introduced a taste of reality, but still making the impossible seem within your grasp. Here we see a mature Bon Jovi, and it's their most balanced album, I think. Jon said he doesn't know what direction the band is taking with "These Days", but he knows it's not backwards. In my opinion, if there was no "These Days", there'd be no Bon Jovi in the new millenium. At a time when the greatest hits was released, the band needed an slbum like this. Any other time in their career, and this album would seem out of sorts. But the beauty of it is that like all their albums, it will stand the test of time. A perfect album, for (an almost) perfect time.
1. Hey God (9/10): One of Bon Jovi's best album openers, continuing from the just-as-energetic "I Believe". I just love Richie's guitars, and the lyrics are so thought-provoking too. Excellent production on this one!
2. Something For The Pain (10/10): I Love This Song! There's just something so alive about this one. A kind of 'fun' atmosphere that takes you in for a great ride! Love to hear this one live.
3. This Ain't A Love Song (10/10): How anybody cannot love this song is beyond me. One of Bon Jovi's best songs of all time. This was as big a hit as "Always" and "It's My LIfe" and deservedly so. The whole song from start to finish is flawless. Jon's voice is the symbol of what the band is about on this one - HEART. Love the video.
4. These Days (9/10): This song may have defined the decade. The lyrics speak to the heart and the message it sends is clear."The world keeps going round and round and round these days". Piano at the beginning sets the tone for something magical.
5.Lie To Me (6/10): A good song, but a little too slow for my liking. I really do like it, but in comparison with the rest of the songs on this album, probably the weakest.
6. Damned (8/10): Had to listen to this one a couple of times before it grew on me - and how! A different idea in this song compared the others that the band have done. Also great live.
7. My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms (7/10): If you're in this kind of mood, then the song is perfect for you. If you concentrate on Richie's guitar solo here, you'll really appreciate this one. One of the album's hidden jems!
8. (It's Hard) Letting You Go (9/10): The part that appealed to me about this song was the melody in the background. Bon Jovi have not used such a heavy bass note in one song before, and i'm not thinking in terms of "Keep The Faith". One of my all time favourites. Very moving played live.
9. Heart's Breaking Even (8/10): A different take on Bon Jovi, but this song is great for the broken hearts out there. Still love the rhythm here.
10. Something To Believe In (10/10): You've got to listen to this one for yourself. It moves you to believing Jon in this one. Tic's drum work is one of the best on any BJ album. Haunting when it's played live. In the future, this will go down as a classic.
11. If That's What It Takes (8/10): The guitar work here is quite different from anything Bon Jovi has done before. The message is sincere too. Very enjoyable.
12. Diamond Ring (8/10): When I first heard this one, I though "nice ballad, easy-going". But six years later, this song still speaks to you in a way that can't really be described. It's different - not a filler as some would say - I like the second half of the song especially. It's very honest, I think.
13. All I Want Is Everything (7/10): Like the energy in this one. The title is quite catchy as well. A good song that deserves it's place on the album.
14. Bitter Wine (9/10): This album had the perfect opener in "Hey God", and "Bitter Wine" is the perfect song to close it. Lovely piece of music that always sounds good, no matter your mood. On any other BJ album this would stick out. Here the album wouldn't be complete without it.
Many will call this album Bon Jovi's darkest, but I believe you should take a listen at least one more time. I was convinced the first time I heard it that it's one of Bon Jovi's best, as good as "New Jersey", because I feel like that album, this one tells a story from beginning to end. That's not to take anything away from their other albums, which were fantastic too! It's just that I like the way this album sounds. and it grew into the best album for me, not just of Bon Jovi's, but of all time.