Between the release of Crossroad and These Days, there was a 5 year gap - Richie and John both released solo albums. These Days must still be thier biggest gamble to date. All previous (and later) albums were full of optimism, hope and faith. These Days had either none or very little of these characteristics.
Even though sales didn't match that of Slippery (let's face it - none of thier albums probably ever will) it still kicked Michael Jackson off the No. 1 spot in the UK and was praised by critics worldwide. It's certainly thier most mature album to date and my favourite. Best tracks on the album have got to be Hey God, These Days, Something to Believe In and My Guitar Lies Bleeding.
From being a Bon Jovi fan since I was 13 (born in 1980) I wasn't really a fan of this album until I hit my 20's.
I'm really looking forward to release of the new album 'Bounce' in September (probably earlier in the UK), but after September 11th, bio-terrorism and everthing else - I think Bounce will be These Days #2.