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Late Shift Review #2: THINFS Revisited

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Old 07-06-2024, 08:11 AM
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Default Late Shift Review #2: THINFS Revisited

Another late shift, another opportunity to listen to an album through and write up my not particularly valuable thoughts about it. I decided to just pick an album out of a (digital) hat. I wound up with THINFS.

Oof. I hated everything about this album when it came out and I can't imagine my opinion has changed. But I guess we'll find out. To mix it up, I'll do the Deluxe version. 17 songs? Jesus.

When We Were Us--obviously was written with the HOF in mind. Decent chorus. Jon seemingly pushes his voice. The musical backdrop is unfortunately mostly just a cacophony of noise. Which, from what I recall, fits in very much with this album. 4/10

Walls--Build up to the chorus promises something. The chorus sounds like everything I've heard on the radio in a doctor's waiting room the past 20 years blended into one thing. That's not a compliment. Is Shanks on guitar here? His solos always feel like they're lagging behind the song. I'm not sure if that complaint makes sense. Speaking which, the whole thing really drags by the last chorus. Not great. 3.5/10

Jon's voice wasn't good in this era. It's still a lot better than how he sounds on Forever, I have to say...

THINFS--I wrote off this song the moment I could hear the HAND 'influence' (which is funny, because HAND had, uh, IML 'influence', which means THINFS is sort of a second generation ripoff). Kind of funny that the album where Shanks became the de facto number two, his first move was to replicate his first success with the band. One of the worst things about this song is not really the song's fault--it's the fact that Jon can't sing the chorus live. That really sucks. The metaphor for the band as a house is kind of dumb, but it's also a pretty typical Bon Jovi lyrical device, so i can't knock it. I remember liking the music video. That's all I got. 5/10

Living With The Ghost--aaand here we go, a big block of sound with a generic melody to open a song. That's most of this album in a nutshell and why I do not like it. A bit frustrating. With a better soundscape some of these songs would stick out. I think this is one of them... although the chorus is a bit of a snorefest. And honestly, this shit really drags by the time we get through the second verse. What an absolute bore. Telegraphed attempt at a Springsteen moment post-solo. If you can call that a solo. A completely unwarranted buildup to a final chorus that Jon gives a little more urgency to. Unfortunately this song flatlined well before then. I honestly hate it. 2/10

Knockout--Without Richie, Jon decided to give up on guitars and went with the 'woooaaaahs' to open most songs. A generic choice that is also chasing hit appeal. I'll admit, I do kind of like this song. It actually does have a beat to it. Love the keys in the build up to the chorus, which unlike the last dreadful song, takes off. Even the 'Boom Boom Boom' is more or less the same thing as the 'I don't give a f-' in Bounce. It's obvious this has some IML clone stuff going on. Especially in the verses. You can almost transplant them, for Chrissakes. But if that's what it takes to get a decent song on this album, fine. Kind of an abrupt, weird ending. 6/10

Labor of Love--The song might be Labor of Love, but listening to it sure is working. Heh. Also, I get it's a love song, but too much about lip tasting here. And too many refrains of lines that don't really deserve it! The pause is really dumb too. Also swear to God this is a Springsteen song. 2.5/10

Born Again Tomorrow--OK Opening. Song totally lost my attention after that though. Some of these verses just go on too long, as if Jon thought he had a lot of important shit to say. The choruses have a lot of gaps to accomodate Jon's voice. Unfortunately there's really nothing else to this music that grabs you. And these songs needed some changeups to hold your interest--that is something Forever did do a better job with. No one was willing to tell Jon none of these songs were interesting enough as are, I guess. I do appreciate this track is an endorsement of Nietzsche's Eternal Return. I guess that's worth a point or two. 3/10

Roller Coaster--Incredibly bored. Oh boy here we go with more 'woooaaaah woooah'. Chorus at least does something. Sort of. Boring by the second... third... chorus. I can't even remember where I am now. When you have a band that was driven by the lead singer's vocals, and when the lead singer can no longer sing, plus your musicanship was irrevocably compromised when your guitarist bounced, I guess this is the kind of stuff you get. Bad. 2/10

New Year's Day--Ah well I'm sure this song is gonna get my attention. Oh, what's that? Another clump of noises followed by Jon crooning over a generic beat? Wow what a shock. Almost every chorus on this stupid album is a battle of aural attrition. You just wait for it to end so you can get on with the god damn song in some vain hope it'll do something that actually surprises you. Nope. Jonny boy was certain the profundity of his lyrics and his angst over his drugged guitarist getting sick of him being a depressed Tony Robbins would carry this whole stupid album. The result is lazy shit like this. 'Shalalah, its new years day'??? Get the f*** out of here. What an utterly worthless song, and a good candidate for a song that represents everything wrong with this band. 2/10

The Devil's In The Temple--I remember this being the only song that grabbed my attention back in the day. And I mostly still like it. It sounds interesting and doesn't linger on shit it shouldn't. The solo is of course garbage but that's to be expected. Better production and Jon's voice 5 years earlier and this would be great. 5.5/10

Scars On This Guitar--Could you make a trilogy out of 'My Guitar Lies Bleeding', 'Scars On This Guitar' and 'My First Guitar'. Not really fair for the latter two songs, I guess, although I do like 'First Guitar' quite a bit. This one, not so much. It's obviously a similar lyrically to 'First Guitar', but whereas that song hits the right 'vibe' of sounding like a grand arena song about an absurd topic--quintessential Bon Jovi in my opinion--'Scars' tries to sound like Jon the storyteller, which I always hate. Ultimately this isn't a bad song, just kind of boring. The introduction of backing vocals in the final chorus really works. Not bad for what it is. 5/10

God Bless This Mess--is this a ripoff of THINFS? Which in turn was a ripoff of HAND? Which in turn was a ripoff of IML? Which in turn was... Jesus. I don't think this is like 'Love Me Back to Life' sounding a lot like 'The Distance' on Bounce, which I figured was thematically intentional. I don't think this was. That weakass guitarwork coming off of each chorus is dreadful. This might be a candidate for worst album track on any Bon Jovi album. I know, I probably will eat my words on that if I keep doing these reviews. 1.5/10.

Reunion--isn't this the song that Jon played when he spoke at Rutgers graduation? By the way, that was at Rutgers University-Camden, which is sort of the 'lesser' Rutgers. I'm an alum so I can say that. In the campus food store they used to have a framed copy of These Days along with a guitar signed by Jon. I imagine it was from the concert they played in Camden in 1995. I've listened to that show on Youtube before and my God, I wish I was there to see it. Would be a much better association with my alma mater than this track. 2/10.

Come On Up To Our House--There's a forest fire not too far from me at the moment. Not in any danger or anything, but I can smell smoke even with the windows closed, and it's getting a bit pungent. Will make sleep a bit troublesome. I'd go out to see if there's a haze, but that would delay me getting through this review, and at this point the sooner I end this album the better. 2/10
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Old 07-06-2024, 08:12 AM
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Real Love--Don't people like this one? I forget. I hope not. What a bore. Way too many lyrics about 'kisses' on this album. I guess Jon knows his target audience, and I get it's a love song, but still. In comparison to this track, some of the ballads on 'Forever' are IBTFY-BOR-Always-TAALS territory. Not really, not remotely, but you get my point. Will happily never listen to this song ever again. Unfortunately I can say that about the entire album. 2/10.

All Hail The King--Oh boy, another Shan-era wall of sound intro. What interesting piece of artistry does this vague block of music doing music things portend? Boring. That word unfortunately defines, for me, this song, and the entire album. Another chorus that goes on way too long, another chorus that drags. I'm not sure if I can finish this one.

While I ignored the rest of this song doing the same stupid thing over and over, the lyrics did catch my interest enough that I decided to look up interpretations. Naturally this board came up, here, because outside of diehards no one knows or cares this song exists. Love the idea it's about Richie. Who knows. I'm sure Jon forgets too. 2/10

We Don't Run--I always had a soft spot for this song, dumb 'Woooaaah oooohs' and all. I absolutely prefer the mix on Burning Bridges. There's nothing incredible here, but with a big chorus, frantic verses, some fist pumping moments, it at least has the slightest trace of being a Bon Jovi song. Which is more than what I can say about the 16 songs that came before it, besides maybe Knockout. Obviously this song blows live because Jon can't actually sing it, but that's not the song's fault. 6+/10

Anyway, that leads me to my main grievance with this album. It doesn't sound like what I think Bon Jovi should sound like. This sounds like a Jon vanity project. Which is exactly what it was. And I know he claimed Tico and Dave helped out at least on a few tracks. If that's true, then I guess Richie is the missing link. Or perhaps more generously, just any real guitarist co-driving the songs. The fact Phil was made a member by this album, but didn't really partake in the creative process until Forever--a decade after Jon lost his original guitarist and cowriter--is just so stupid. It's like Jon was determined to prove BJ could survive as a de facto JBJ solo band. It's why Shanks is such a comfort for him--ostensible Shanks can play guitar, help write songs, do all the things Richie did. But he's forever just the weird, sleazy looking dude playing beleagured solos well in Jon's shadow, rather than the force Richie was. Phil, despite not having quite the right sound for Bon Jovi, is certainly a force. But if you're not going to even try to use him in that way, what's the point?

THINFS is a collection of boring songs, written under Jon's delusion that his success is due to him being a 'storyteller' ala Bruce, rather than just being really, really good at writing catchy songs. But those catchy anthems can't exist anymore if Jon can't sing and he doesn't trust the musicanship to back him up. Instead you get what WAN portended, and what THINFS heralded--the totally forgettable recordings of a man who has entirely misunderstood what made him a success.

3/10
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Old 07-06-2024, 11:52 PM
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Not going to lie, I was very tempted to stop reading after you gave 'Living With The Ghost' 2/10 but then 'Knockout' a 6.

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Old 07-07-2024, 12:11 AM
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I never got the love for Living For The Ghost either - I think It's terrible. But I also think Knockout is worse!

It's funny, but revisiting this album makes me realise how much better Forever is than this!
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Old 07-07-2024, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Thinny View Post
I never got the love for Living For The Ghost either - I think It's terrible. But I also think Knockout is worse!

It's funny, but revisiting this album makes me realise how much better Forever is than this!
That was my immediate takeaway as well--even though I basically just took a handful of songs from Forever to put in my regular rotation and discarded the rest, I still think as a whole it's miles better as an album and a step in the right direction.

Ha. I hear you. I feel I --should-- dislike Knockout. It's a goofy song. I think I'm just relieved something has a pulse on this album. It feels so devoid of any otherwise.
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Old 07-07-2024, 04:22 AM
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Not going to lie, I was very tempted to stop reading after you gave 'Living With The Ghost' 2/10 but then 'Knockout' a 6.

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Old 07-07-2024, 04:54 AM
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Not even close to being a good album for me. Much like WAN, it desperately needs RS and Jon sounds frail. I just can't make it through both of them.
Every single song has something seriously wrong with it, be it the lame guitar playing or the usual "oh oh oh ohs".

I take Forever over it as well, which is on the low end of my list but it sounds like a much better effort. Same for the og 2020 tracklist.
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Old 07-07-2024, 07:22 AM
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Having just read Wrath Maniaís review, I have to admit I mostly agree.

On this board Iíve obviously always been the overtly positive poster who has even been mistaken for Jerry. By the time THINFS was released Iím sure I valued it quite high (as usual). But even back then I think I already had my second thoughts.

Boring wall of sound, voice problems, lack of serious guitar work, not too many cute vintage choruses.

The title track is ok. I love the attitude. But HAND did the same job miles better. I am in a minority here to really like Knockout, easily the best track on the album. DITT has potential but I canít help but imagine how it could have sounded in the 90ís. Real Loveís lyrics are very beautiful but as a whole the song is far from a classic BJ ballad. WDR is great but I strongly prefer the BB mix and I never really saw it as a THINFS song anyway. Adding it to the album felt artificial cause we already had the song. WWWU was okay I guess but not much more. The other songs I barely listen to at all.

One of the weakest post 2000 albums for me, then. 2020 was a lot more enjoyable even with its obvious flaws. And I still think Forever is their best post TD album.
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Old 07-07-2024, 11:22 AM
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Never liked this album. Its horrible. It makes WAN & 2020 sound like masterpieces and that takes some doing.

Devil in the Temple is a great song but its lack of solo and play out makes it sound unfinished.
Kockout is embarrassing as is born again tomorrow. Labour of love and Scars on my guitar are bland.
Reunion, come up to my house and the others just go in one ear and out the other.
God Bless gets a lot of hate but its the only song that sounds a bit like Bon Jovi.

Just a real bland collection of songs. Always makes me laugh when jon refers to this as a "statement" album. If the statement is "my voice is crap, we miss richie and can no longer write good songs" - then yes it makes that statement.

My least fav album along with HAND

1/10



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Old 07-07-2024, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrath Mania View Post
I do appreciate this track is an endorsement of Nietzsche's Eternal Return. I guess that's worth a point or two. 3/10
Sorry to reduce your hard work down to one line. Nice review, I agree with some and disagree with others, as it should be. Regarding the above, is this the case? I can't imagine Jon getting that deep. If so, the music video completely misses the point, then.
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