Jovitalk - Bon Jovi Fan Community
Home Register Members FAQ Mark Forums Read
 

Brian's (Not At) All Mattering Review Of What About Now:

New Bon Jovi Releases


Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 03-13-2013, 07:48 AM
Crushgen24/88's Avatar
Crushgen24/88 Crushgen24/88 is offline
Senior Member
Blaze of Posting
 
Join Date: 18 Mar 2007
Location: Staten Island/Long Island New York
Age: 32
Gender: male
Posts: 9,607
Default Brian's (Not At) All Mattering Review Of What About Now:

(NOTE: I did purchase the Deluxe Edition of the album, but I'm only using the 12 Standard Edition tracks for the purposes of this review.)

It would be impossible to talk about Bon Jovi's 12th studio album, What About Now, without talking about their 2009 effort The Circle, since the two albums are the most intertwined back to back releases the band has offered since Slippery When Wet and New Jersey in the late 80's. Not that former are lyrically, thematically, or musically similar to the latter two however, as What About Now continues The Circle's template of recession-era lyrics about getting through hard times set to modern light pop-rock. However, both albums also suffer the same distinction of being just flawed enough to forever be second-tier Bon Jovi records, though for different reasons. Despite being the band's best album since 2000's Crush (in this author's opinion), The Circle was better than the sum of it's parts. While the album as a whole is strong, several of the songs suffer when taken out of the full-album context. What About Now suffers from the opposite problem. While there are some clunkers, the album has some very decent tracks, but bad sequencing, several songs sharing similar themes, and an overload of singer-songwriter ballads hurts the overall package, leaving the full-album experience muddled.

Track By Track:

1. Because We Can: I know I'm in the minority here, but I LOVE this song. For my money, it's the best pure pop song the bad has released since 2000. The intro is pretty much copped from Some Nights by fun., but it works (unlike some much more obvious and much less successful theft 10 tracks from now).

2. I'm With You: One of those middle of the road Bon Jovi tracks that litter the Post-2002 albums. It's not bad by any means, and I really dig the sound of the chorus, but nothing about it sonically grabs me. Lyrically, it would have fit interchangeably on any of the last 3 records.

3. What About Now: I would bet good money that this song was initially written as the lead single for this album, as it's a slightly less-poppy version of the same themes as Because We Can without that song's energy or ear-worm quality. Again, not terrible but not all that good either.

4. Pictures Of You: The album picks up with this strong track, a boy/girl song that's not an overdramatic ballad. Granted, the lyrics border on bad at times, but the simple metaphor works well.

5. Amen: If Bon Jovi's Open All Night (the 2002 Bounce version) had sex with Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah they'd give birth to this song, which isn't surprising, considering Jon's avowed love for the former and love of covering the latter. The result is a track that's desperate to be epic, but is just ordinary in the end.

6. That's What The Water Made Me: Now this is a damn good song. It works lyrically and musically, and sounds like the full band playing. Honestly, if I were to pick one song off this album and say "This is the direction I hope Bon Jovi goes down on the next record" it would be this one. However, I fear this song will end up just like Lost Highway's Any Other Day, a great song off the record that the band will ignore.

7. What's Left Of Me: A spiritual... and musical... and lyrical successor to Someday I'll Be Saturday Night, What's Left Of Me is probably the most "Bon Jovi" song on the record. While Jon has tried the "character" approach before, it's rarely worked as well as it does here. Thematically, the song takes what Jon tried (and failed) to do with Work For The Working Man on the last record and makes it relatable, as opposed to the condescending jackass tone of WFTWM.

8. Army Of One: This seems to be the most divisive track on the album, and I can see why. Whereas the previous track is a much more effective version of the Circle's worst song, Army Of One seems to be an attempt to write a more arena-friendly version of The Circle's best song, Loves The Only Rule. And it succeeds for the most part. While it's not nearly as good as LTOR, it's musically strong. Lyrically, the verses as work. As for the "chorus" ("Never give up, never give up, never. Never give up, never let up, ever. Never give in, you're an army of one. Never give up, never give up, never. Never forget where you're from, never give up, you're an army of one.") I honestly think that looking at it as a chorus is a mistake. It seems to me that the idea was to create a simple chant that audiences could easily latch onto, as opposed to a traditional chorus. I can see why some people don't like that, but I personally think it works.

9. Thick As Thieves: A boy/girl version of Right Side of Wrong, this song is a a bit of a letdown sequenced after the last three songs. As a standalone track, I enjoy it, personally because I'm a sucker for the Bonnie and Clyde themes, but it should have been moved down a bit in the track-listing. Musically it's nothing new, but it does have the record's best Sambora solo (not that that's saying much). Lyrically it's okay. Certainly not the best on the album, but nothing embarrassing. I do love the electric chair line.

10. Beautiful World: I can't even take this song seriously, considering it's a complete rip-off of Matchbox Twenty's How Far We've Come. The melody, the rhyme scheme, the structure are all carbon copies.

11. Room At The End Of The World: A lot has been discussed about this album being more of a Jon-project than anything else, and while I think much of that is overblown, this song just screams Jon solo song. There's a couple of interesting lyrical ideas, but not enough to sustain the whole song. Musically, the song never takes off. Filler track.

12. The Fighter: Another song that suffers from bad placement in my opinion. The song itself seems to be Jon's attempt to write his version of Paul Simon's The Boxer, and is much more successful than Amen is at replicating Cohen. Lyrically, the song is damn good, and musically it's no more than it has to be. Unfortunately having it end the proper album, especially with 2 of the 3 songs proceeding also being drawn out slow songs, leads to a flat ending.

All in all, What About Now is exactly what I expected it to be. A very listenable, but not spectacular Bon Jovi album. It's better than Bounce, Have A Nice Day, Lost Highway, and the band's first two records, but doesn't quite leapfrog The Circle, and doesn't come anywhere cracking the Holy Five.
__________________
*8/7/03 12/21/05 7/18/06 10/28/07 11/9/07 11/10/07 2/12/08 7/12/08 7/14/08 7/15/08 11/15/09 (JBJ Solo) 5/26/10 5/27/10 5/29/10 7/9/10 7/24/10 2/24/11 2/25/11 3/5/11 5/6/11 5/20/12 7/25/13*
New Jersey/Keep The Faith/Slippery When Wet/Crush/These Days/The Circle/Have a Nice Day/What About Now/Lost Highway/Bounce/Bon Jovi/7800*Farenheit

Last edited by Crushgen24/88; 03-13-2013 at 07:58 AM..
Reply With Quote

  #2  
Old 03-13-2013, 09:17 AM
steel_horse75's Avatar
steel_horse75 steel_horse75 is offline
Senior Member
It's my post
 
Join Date: 29 May 2007
Location: Klopp Army
Age: 45
Gender: male
Posts: 4,877
Default

Quote:
All in all, What About Now is exactly what I expected it to be. A very listenable, but not spectacular Bon Jovi album. It's better than Bounce, Have A Nice Day, Lost Highway, and the band's first two records, but doesn't quite leapfrog The Circle, and doesn't come anywhere cracking the Holy Five
Im sorry but I cant agree with this.
__________________
Wembley Arena 90, Wembley Arena 93, MK Bowl 93, Wembley Stadium 95, MK Bowl 96, Wembley Stadium 00, MK Bowl 01, Hyde Park 03, MK Bowl 06, o2 07, Twickenham 08, o2 10 (x2), Hyde Park 13, London Palladium 16, Wembley 19
Follow me: @iam_emmo
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-13-2013, 01:25 PM
bjcrazycpa's Avatar
bjcrazycpa bjcrazycpa is offline
Senior Member
Jovi Geek
 
Join Date: 30 Aug 2002
Location: Weehawken, NJ
Age: 56
Gender: female
Posts: 6,816
Default

Very nice review Brian. I agree about your take as far as Room At The End Of The World being a Jon song...but that's why I love it....it's very atmospheric for me as Jon solo songs tend to be.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-13-2013, 06:40 PM
Crushgen24/88's Avatar
Crushgen24/88 Crushgen24/88 is offline
Senior Member
Blaze of Posting
 
Join Date: 18 Mar 2007
Location: Staten Island/Long Island New York
Age: 32
Gender: male
Posts: 9,607
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjcrazycpa View Post
Very nice review Brian. I agree about your take as far as Room At The End Of The World being a Jon song...but that's why I love it....it's very atmospheric for me as Jon solo songs tend to be.
Usually so do I, but Room... almost seems unfinished for lack of a better term.
__________________
*8/7/03 12/21/05 7/18/06 10/28/07 11/9/07 11/10/07 2/12/08 7/12/08 7/14/08 7/15/08 11/15/09 (JBJ Solo) 5/26/10 5/27/10 5/29/10 7/9/10 7/24/10 2/24/11 2/25/11 3/5/11 5/6/11 5/20/12 7/25/13*
New Jersey/Keep The Faith/Slippery When Wet/Crush/These Days/The Circle/Have a Nice Day/What About Now/Lost Highway/Bounce/Bon Jovi/7800*Farenheit
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-13-2013, 06:45 PM
Crushgen24/88's Avatar
Crushgen24/88 Crushgen24/88 is offline
Senior Member
Blaze of Posting
 
Join Date: 18 Mar 2007
Location: Staten Island/Long Island New York
Age: 32
Gender: male
Posts: 9,607
Default

As far as the bonus tracks:

With These Two Hands: Sounds like something that could have come out of the Crush era, which is certainly a compliment coming from me. I like it.

Into The Echo: Another middle of the road song. Again, not bad per say, just a bit meh. I like the lyrics in the verses though.

Honestly, if you replaced Beautiful World and Room At The End Of The World with these two on the album proper it would flow much better IMO.
__________________
*8/7/03 12/21/05 7/18/06 10/28/07 11/9/07 11/10/07 2/12/08 7/12/08 7/14/08 7/15/08 11/15/09 (JBJ Solo) 5/26/10 5/27/10 5/29/10 7/9/10 7/24/10 2/24/11 2/25/11 3/5/11 5/6/11 5/20/12 7/25/13*
New Jersey/Keep The Faith/Slippery When Wet/Crush/These Days/The Circle/Have a Nice Day/What About Now/Lost Highway/Bounce/Bon Jovi/7800*Farenheit
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 03:23 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11.
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.