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Revisiting HAND Album

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Old 07-01-2024, 06:35 AM
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Wrath Mania Wrath Mania is offline
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Default Revisiting HAND Album

Apologies if there's a recent thread I missed where such a discussion would be better-suited, but while working late today I decided to listen to HAND from start to finish and thought I'd try and give it an honest, real-time review. Ratings from 1 out of 10. Trying to be honest here. Only the LOAPs and Dry Countys of the world would get 9 or above. Not gonna rate 'I Want to Be Loved' a 9 out of 10 because it gave me strength after a breakup or some garbage (that's true though).

Have A Nice Day--the album version is overproduced, overprocessed, I hate the sugary glint that coats the main riff. Jon's voice is borderline robotic in the chorus, not to mention identical in all three. Not as bad as the automaton that basically became his record voice on any demanding song from WAN onwards, but still. You get the sense that Shanks came in with Audacity or something (did that exist in 2004? You get my point) and wowed Jon with simple tricks to protect his voice, which was a bit precarious at this point (though, sadly, miles better than where it is now). In comparison, this song is a beast live, with its rawer instruments and Jon singing like a real human--at least back when he could, but I always was happy to see this song pop up in shows from 2008-2011, where you knew it was easily in Jon's range to kill. I think it speaks to the quality of the song itself that it quickly became a mainstay in setlists, and it was honestly a bummer when it didn't show up.

The other bone to pick with this song is that it is structurally an IML clone. Can't deny that. You can also argue that it's a better song than IML, with its soaring chorus and less wasted space. Either way, I think there's a reason this song works while another IML clone (at least, in spirit), Everyday, fell off the face of the earth.

Yeah, the lyrics are vague and goofy (the idea it was about the '04 US Election is impossible to discern from the somng itself. Somewhere between HAND and 'Do What You Can', Jon would find the perfect political song). But for a fist pumping song, it works just fine.


I Want To Be Loved--man, I wish they just workshopped this song a little more. There's a lot to like here. The admittedly very 00s but interesting opening, the acceptable use of the talk box to create a gurgling undertone throughout the interesting lyrical content. The chorus has something, though the instruments become sort of a fuzzy background noise--if not quite a 'wall of sound', a gaseous nebula of one. Also, did Shanks tell Richie "I'm doing your job" in regards to this solo too, because Jesus Christ. A little care really could have taken this one over the top. I do think it's a decent second track.


Welcome to Wherever You Are--I know everyone hated this song back in the day. I do think it's funny Jon thought this was gonna be a big single. For such a commercially-obsessed man, his instincts on what's a hit and what's not seem to be really bad! The lyrics don't really bother me at all--I think it's a reach to believe this song is crypto-religious or something like that. Hokey? Sure. But that's not too unusual for Bon Jovi. That said, there's nothing special about this song. No solo, no variations. Just very straightforward. Not good, not terrible.


Who Says--It's all right. Heh.

Look, I get it's not in many peoples' private playlists around here. It's not my preferred cup of tea either. But honestly? This is a good song. It knows exactly what it's going for and hits out of the park. And, give me the themes and sincerity of this song over some other 'fun' tracks on subsequent albums (WGIGO, This Is Our House, etc) 365 days a week. I wish they put as much thought into some other songs on the album as they did this one. Every choice is correct (yes, including 's'all right').


Last Man Standing--It's so lame it's the exact same vocals as the box set version. Also, I swear to god, the riff was taken from Mario Tennis 64. No, I haven't played that game since I was like 10. But the first time I heard this song I thought that. Actually, in this day in age it's easy to check... let me settle this once and for all...

...Nope, I was wrong. There's some similarity but not really. I guess my theory that Richie saw his kid or something playing that game and stole the riff wasn't true. Thank God.

I wish Jon pushed his voice more in the chorus. I think if one was going to redo the tracklisting for this album, this would have been a good first track, followed by HAND.


Bells of Freedom

This is another one where I recall people getting way too new atheisty-paranoid about the lyrical content. Nothing about this strikes me as overtly religious. Maybe a bit Americana, but honestly I dig that. This song is beautiful, but the obvious complaint is that it is a clone of TAALS. Which it definitely is. People who know music way better than me can opine, but it also feels like way more of a blatant ripoff than, say, HAND is to IML. This is kind of like in a fighting game, when you can unlock a load of new characters, but they got sick of making truly new ones so it's just a reskinned version of an og. Dr. Mario! Wow! He's Mario, but he shoots pills instead of fireballs. Apologies for all the gaming shit. I don't even play video games that much.

Anyway, if it wasn't for the fact it rips off an earlier song, I'd probably grade this fairly high. But it is what it is...


Wildflower--I remember when I first listened to this album, I was pretty engaged until this song and then I lost interest. Always hated it, and that hasn't changed. Considering some of the excellent outtakes this album had, it's a shame this song was chosen instead--definitely not the last time this complaint comes up! 'Nothing' would have been so much better here instead. Anyway, this song sucks. As often happens, Jon does pull a decent bridge out of his ass. I like Jon singing over the solo, something he'd do a lot on the Circle (and maybe LH too? I forget). The outro is okay in concept, I just wish it was something other than Jon shouting "Nobody knows!". And it doesn't save the fact this track is a boring, muddled mess.


Last Cigarette-This is a solid, fun song. Good chorus, the rushing 'nebula of music' in the chorus actually kind of works to elevate Jon's voice in a productive way. The whole song kind of zips by. I like it. I think this song absolutely is a good example of how Bon Jovi has shifted the 'Overton Window' of quality the past 10 years. If this song was on any of the past few albums we'd shit bricks about it and say it's one of the best things they've done in 20 years. Yes, that's a sad commentary about where we are. As is? It's not amazing, structurally it's kind of on autopilot, but it's pretty good.


I Am--I hate the opening to this song, a big block of noise with a vague melody that defines so many Jovi songs in the Shank age. Fortunately, the rest of the song makes up for it. Is Jon's voice obviously processed a bit in the chorus? Yes. Does it still soar? Yes. A nice, tight little track. A shame they only played it once (I think?) and then never again. Would have been great to complement Always or one of the other Big Ballads Jon could sing in the 2008-2011 era.


Complicated--and now we have this historic landmark in the descent of this band's artistic integrity. This track is like if someone took a migraine and put it through a speaker. "I'm smart enough to KNOW what I don't KNOOOOOOOW". Jon took a bunch of shredded paper with all his most cliched lyrics and just threw them together randomly. The music is a stilted, stop-and-started traffic jam of attempts to catch that snare drum magic one last time and tapestries of generic noise that should never have been sown together. I remember I got this song at one of the LH tour shows I went to and wept at my misfortune.

Any of the outtakes should have made it over this turd, without question.


Novocaine--this song never grabbed me as much as it did some others. I think it drags a bit in comparison to Last Cigarette. And to be honest, it still doesn't. I think part of the issue is, at this point, the production of this album is starting to grate me. Everything sounds the same, an issue that would rear it's head for me again, and in a much worse way, come WAN. At least HAND still feels high production, even if it's dated. Still, a decent and original song I guess.


Story of My Life

Perfectly decent closer, nothing amazing, but not bad. Seems to be a running theme here. Also again seems to structurally 'borrow' from the back catalog quite a bit. But I always thought it was a decent song, and don't dislike hearing it again. Don't have much else, I'm bored.


Who Says--Nettles version--wait, no. I'm not counting this. At least it's not 'Do What You Can' folks.

Anyway, overall this album is just... well, exactly what I said for 'Story of My Life'. Not outstanding, not not terrible as some of the records to come either. And it did springboard, for better or worse, the last great era of the band--as well as the elements that ultimately killed it.

Forget the hearse, 'cause I nevah die.

Last edited by Wrath Mania; 07-01-2024 at 06:44 AM..
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Old 07-01-2024, 07:02 AM
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Aloha !

Have A Nice Day, I Want To Be Loved and Complicated are all It's My Life clones. Unbreakable, an outtake, is as well. Then there's Bells of Freedom and Last Man Standing, which you've heard before. Excluding Wildflower, which is Joey Part II, that's 6 songs with a better alternative.

Originally Posted by Wrath Mania View Post

Still, a decent and original song I guess.
Yes. By My Chemical Romance.

This makes it the 7th song with an alternative. As to whether it's better is kind of up to the listener, but this means Who Says You Can't Go Home, Welcome To Wherever You Are, I Am, Story Of My Life and One Last Cigarette the only somewhat original songs on there. I'm pretty sure of these 5, there's bound to be some undiscovered lifting as well.

Salaam Aleikum,
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Old 07-01-2024, 09:21 AM
BonJovi100 BonJovi100 is offline
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For me, this is their best album. I love everything on there. Lots of energy, passion, good playing and the album still sounds fresh today. Very catchy lyrics. The production is also very good. Shanks' best work.
Plus a mass of capital outtakes. Dirty Little Secret is my number 2 of all Bon Jovi songs.

Plus a lot of cool memories related to this album (the "Smirk" action, the band's first concert, waiting for videos, etc.).

Probably the most important album in my life.

Of course 10/10
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Old 07-01-2024, 05:17 PM
Cheese Champion Cheese Champion is offline
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This is my 3rd favorite album behind These Days and Keep the Faith. I love HAND, I Want to be Loved, Who Says, Last Man Standing, Bells of Freedom, Wildflower, Dirty Little Secret, Complicated, and Story of my Life. Some of my favorite songs in general are on this record and it was the 2nd Bon Jovi album I listened to after This House is Not For Sale made me a fan in 2019. There isn't a song on it that I instantly skip when it comes on (well maybe the who says duet but I don't want to think about that)

9/10 album for me
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Old 07-01-2024, 05:23 PM
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I have great memories of being in NYC when this was released and seeing them at the Nokia Theatre gig which was streamed online. I loved the album at the time and it's still in the top half of my Bon Jovi best album lists. The title track is still one of my favourite Bon Jovi songs but a lot of the album just hasn't aged very well.
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Old 07-01-2024, 05:36 PM
brunorc21 brunorc21 is offline
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Dirty Little Secret is an amazing song. I still canīt believe it that it wasnīt even included in the regular album. It should be the second single from the album.
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Old 07-01-2024, 07:14 PM
Faceman Faceman is offline
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Although knowing Bon Jovi my whole life, I started to become a real fan during the Bounce tour. So Have A Nice Day was the first "real" new studio album with me being a fan. So I was very hyped back then. Unfortunately, the album couldn't quite hold up to my expectations. Although I like most of the songs as stand-alone tracks (with Have A Nice Day, Last Man Standing and Novocaine being the favourite ones and Who Says and Wildflower usually getting skipped), I very very rarely listen to it from start to finish or some songs alone.
To me, the production is too generic, the song order isn't well balanced and the compilation of songs isn't as well. While in Bon Jovi history a lot of outtakes and B-sides used to have been a better choice for being album tracks I think with this album that occurance is extreme. To my ears, Unbreakable, Dirty Little Secret, These Open Arms and especially Nothing should have been / must have been on the album.

I loved the tour, I loved the energy especially of the first leg in 2005, I loved the hype I had back then. But in retrospective the album is a 5/10 for me.
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Old 07-01-2024, 07:42 PM
Alphavictim Alphavictim is offline
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Best record they've released after Keep The Faith.
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Old 07-02-2024, 12:25 AM
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Dave 1986 Dave 1986 is offline
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I think I articulated my current feelings toward Have a Nice Day rather well in 2014 and in 2016. Couldn't get enough of it back in 2005/6 but feel almost nothing for it now.

The title track blew me away when I eventually first heard the studio version. I loved the abridged version they played live in 2004 (which used the original lyrics) then they played the finalised version at Live 8 but it does nothing for me now. Interestingly, I still enjoy "It's My Life" from time to time to this day.

At the time, I was thrilled to hear a more stripped down sounding album with more emphasis on the band playing following two rather overproduced poppier-sounding albums that preceded it. Nowadays in terms of it's production, it sounds more like a Busted album to me.

That all being said, it's probably still the last "good" Bon Jovi album for me. It does still have it's moments and did really like the red smirk gimmick at the time. Out of all the 21st Century albums they've released, it's still probably my 2nd favourite after Bounce.

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Last edited by Dave 1986; 07-02-2024 at 12:28 AM..
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Old 07-02-2024, 12:32 AM
Wanted94 Wanted94 is offline
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It's their best post-2000 album. Remove WSYCGH and throw "Nothing" and "Dirty Little Secret" in and it's up there with the classic albums.
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have a nice day

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