A great album, but wouldn't work now...
Well it was a toss up between "These Days" or "Keep The Faith" which are in my opinion BJ's two finest albums to date. I was slightly dissapointed with "Crush" and horrified with the outcome of "Bounce".
It's a shame the boys can't make as such fine albums as their two 90s efforts, anymore. My favourite actual BJ song is "Keep The Faith" but all in all I found this album I am reviewing now better because in general the songs were better than those on "Keep The Faith".
Anyway, on to the review!
I have the 1999 remastered edition of "These Days" which unfortunately does not include "All I Want Is Everything" or any other tracks that any other versions include. So I can only review the standard album tracks.
Here's a track by track review, I shall do a summary at the end.
HEY GOD - Well, this is an amazing track I thought. Listen to the lyrics you will know what I mean. It tells the story of one man's fear that God is no longer on his side, and he doubts his existance at times. I think sometimes we all feel that the big man himself has deserted us though, don't we ? It's a great rocker. Which is good because if you don't like rockers this is not the album for you!
SOMETHING FOR THE PAIN - The second of only three "rockers" on the album. A great song with amazing sitar effects by Richie at the beggining. This song is about one man's love for a woman and how he needs something to cope with the pain of life, her! It's a good all round song. It's a fairly upbeat song which is good, because most of the songs on "These Days" are shall we say, depressing?
THIS AINT'T A LOVE SONG - "These Days" was one of Bon Jovi's least successful albums in terms of record sales which is a shame, because it is his finest album as far as sogwriting goes. This was the only major selling single off the album. It's a great love song and sets the trend for things to come. This is one of my favourite Bon Jovi songs to date.
THESE DAYS - The album's title song. This is a truly amazing song and did not sell too bad as a single either. It's one of the band's finest songs and is right up there with the likes of "Keep The Faith" and "Livin' On A Prayer" in my opinion. It tells the story of everyday life and how times change, sometimes too fast. It has brilliant piano work by David and is naturally a live favourite. My advice is listen to it. Clocking in at 6:26 it's something of an epic by Bon Jovi standards too!
LIE TO ME - This is another great love song. I think it has a potent meaning also. If you listen to the lyrics you will know what I mean. If you have ever fallen in love and never wanted it to end then it will have a deeper meaning to you as a person. It certainly does me.
DAMNED - This is the third and final "rocker" on the album and also another good song. It has a great opening and Jon's vocals compliment the song very well. The lyrics are well thought of too. It's a song about a man's affair with a married woman and how he is "damned" no matter what he says or does. Not a favourite of mine, but a good song nevertheless.
MY GUITAR LIES BLEEDING IN MY ARMS - This is by far one of the greatest and most meaningful songs ever written. On first thoughts it may come across as depressing, but it certainly makes you think. It is such a great song it is hard to describe. Trust me on this one, you need to listen to it to believe it. One of the album's stronger songs, I cannot understand why it was never issued as a single myself.
(IT'S HARD) LETTING YOU GO - This is another of my favourite Bon Jovi songs. It's deffinately the finest of his "mellow" songs that I've heard. This song is amazing, not only because Jon wrote it on his own but also because the opening of the song is set out like a heart beating. It's a great, original idea and suits the song very well. The lyrics are brilliant. This is about a man madly obsessed with the woman he loves, and cannot let her go but feels he needs to. It tells of the changes in his world and how he tries to cope alone. In my opinion the best song of the album.
HEARTS BREAKING EVEN - This is yet another love song, but this one is slightly more upbeat and happier. This is the exact opposite of the above song. It is about how two people who love each other are parting, but it is probably for the best and they both accept it and move on with their lives. Not my favourite but still very good.
SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN - This is a very original and "different" song to say the least by Bon Jovi's standards but it is easily one of his best, and has few equals when played live. I would not class it as a "rocker" but I suppose it could be. The title says it all really. A man who has to shake himself off, get on with his life and knows that he needs to find, something to believe in. Brilliant drumming by Tico and by far the most recognisable song from the first few notes. This will be remembered as a classic in a few years time, trust me.
IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES - This is probably the only song on the album I don't really like. It is a great song like all the rest but because this album is comprised of more mellow and heartfelt songs it seems out of place. Would have been better on "Keep The Faith" I think possibly because of the style of song on that album. Nevertheless it's a great song. It is also a simple enough title. A song about a man who will do literally anything to please his girl.
DIAMOND RING - This is a great acoustic song and is quite good live to quiet the crowd down. It is a good song overall and has some nice lyrics to it but I don't think it's in the same league as some of the other songs on offer here. I think "All I Want Is Everything" should have been here instead and "Diamond Ring" should have been a bonus track on the other CD as the before mentioned is a fabulous song (I downloaded it) it's a crying shame it was not on this version of the album.
BITTER WINE - I really like this song. It's a great closing track and one of the album's best songs, but saying that most of them are incredible. It has a great combination of piano and acoustic guitar which really compliment each other. This is a song about two lovers and their rises and falls together. It has a great chorus line also. One of the stronger songs Jon has written I think. Strangely enough this song would have done just as well on "Keep The Faith" because it is a similar tone to say "Bed Of Roses" or "In These Arms" I think.
Well that's my track-by-track review of "These Days" I hope you found it helpful. I may do another review in the future. My favourite tracks are "These Days" "(It's Hard) Letting You Go)" and "Bitter Wine" but they are all so good it's really impossible to pick the best. I am upset "All I Want Is Everything" was not on the UK version though, it's a great song, kudos to you if it's on your version. Overall it is the band's best album to date ("Keep The Faith" is a close 2nd) and surpasses any other album I have ever heard in regards to songwriting ability ten fold. My advice is buy it and play it like hell.
PS: See if you can find the bonus disk it was issued with originally (in 1995) I bought it off amazon ( www.amazon.co.uk ) it's fantastic and even has some great live songs!