A very frank review of BOUNCE
What I like and what I don't like in Bon Jovi's latest release
Before I go into my track-by-track review, I make a little premise: this album is fantastic, but it’s NOT their best-ever… it’s just a masterpiece on equal level with such other BJ masterpieces as “Keep the faith” and “These days”.
Undivided: Very very very good as the album opener. Great Richie guitaring (here and all through the disc) and powerful chorus: Jon does really does his best in communicating the meaning of the song. Look forward to hearing this live. 10/10
Everyday: Everyone knows this one, no? So I’ll just add that I found the chorus “I – oh I – oh I” structure very catchy, and that I don’t mind at all about all the “why-this-one-as-first-single” stuff. What the heck, you can tell it’s Bon Jovi even without their name on the cover. 9,5/10.
The distance: Great song composition, great lyrics, good riffin’… the fusion of powerful guitars with (real) strings, here and elsewhere, reminds me a little bit of Bruce Springsteen in his latest “Rising” incarnation, but Jon’s marvelous voice puts this one several steps above Bruce’s efforts. 10/10.
Joey: A wonderful lyric, worth to be really read in deep, studied, apart from the music, which in itself is a little more complex than the usual BJ output: all this contributes to make up a song that needs two or three listenings to be fully understood in its entirety. 9/10.
Misunderstood: I always read the lyrics before listening to a song I’ve never heard before, and this one gave me the impression of being a ballad… well, it’s not. But again, it’s very catchy, and it has all the numbers to turn into a crowd-pleasing live item. A great 70s feel with Dave’s Hammond and Jon’s “I, I, I, I, I” chorus. 9,5/10.
All about lovin’ you: Ah, here it is… the song that a good BJ album must absolutelely have… the great big classic BJ ballad. Piano, acoustic guitar, strings, vocals: everything in its right place. A “Never say goodbye” vibe on the chorus, very fitting. 10/10.
Hook me up: Oops. What a strange song, full of weird effects everywhere (including its ending), that somehow manage to hide the deeper meaning of the lyrics (check out “Behind the songs” on the Bounce area of www.bonjovi.com). Sorry to everyone who likes this, but I don’t. In my opinion it doesn’t sound at all like Bon Jovi, but maybe, again, it’s because of the way it’s recorded. If Jon hadn’t filtered his voice and Dave didn’t do those squeaky things with his keys, maybe it would have been better. 6/10.
Right side of wrong: Bon Jovi meets Garth Brooks... The absence of steel guitars & fiddles takes a good deal of Garth’s soapiness off this song and, of course, the great vocals make it soar a lot higher. Plus, a film-like orchestration (David Campbell is a magician) brings the whole thing further upwards. It’s really kinda like a movie that Jon & Ritchie wrote the soundtrack to. 10/10
Love me back to life: Another non-ballad-song-with-ballad-like-lyrics, but, unlike “Misunderstood”, this one kinda misses the mark. Richie mutters something into his talkbox (kind-of nudging our memory), followed by Jon going into a great verse, followed by ... oops ... a so-and-so chorus. A bit anticlimactic, ain’t it? Not totally bad, but also not totally good. 6,5/10.
You had me from hello: A gentle acoustic number with a very nice lyric and (yet again) a wonderful vocal performance by Jon & Richie. The only thing I ask myself is: why is more-than-half of the song driven by a machine beat? What has it got to do with the estabilished ‘Unplugged’ feel? If I were Tico, I’d have made a very good use of my bongoes & tambourine. 8,5/10.
Bounce: Another soon-to-be classic (the only thing that keeps it to be a “Livin’ on a prayer” no. 2 is the absence of an evident talkbox riff... and yet some talkbox is here, somehow hidden), absolutely worth to be put in the BJ live setlist side by side with “Saturday night” and “These days”. And don’t forget the bonus, i.e. the funnily powerful verse-chorus transition: “Call it karma, call it luck, me, I just don’t give a… B-B-B-B-B-B-BOUNCE! BOUNCE!” Yes, this will really make crowds bounce and sing along. 10/10.
Open all night: Just as “Undivided” was very very very good as the album opener, this is a very very very good way to close it, to bring its tail down, to turn out the lights; Jon & Ritche exploit it as a further occasion to show off all of their experience in the difficult art of songwriting. They have mastered it and you can clearly hear it here. And to all those who aren’t satisfied with Richie’s acoustic guitar playing on this album, I’d advise them to take even a distracted listening to this one. 10/10.