Bon Jovi: Jon Bon Jovi (vocals, guitar); Richie Sambora (guitar); David Bryan, Tico Torres, Alec John Such. Digitally remastered using 20-bit technology by George Marino (1998, Sterling Sound, New York, New York). This is an Enhanced CD, which contains … see full wiki
Cons: Will anyone take a listen to the great lyrics?
He is the man we all love to hate. Boyish good looks, women swooning over him, singing tender ballads that turn the girls into mush! That is the persona that Bon Jovi is best known for. But there is another side.
This group can rock. This album more than any other by the band, exemplifies that fact. Sure, there is still the love song or two to keep the female listeners happy, but for the better part of this disc, we are treated to a heavy dose of good rock and roll! Call him a guilty pleasure, there is a quality to his music, especially on this album, that transcends the boundaries of pop idol. Here he shows both sides of a band that is the epitome of the power balladeers.
The sounds of Richie Sambora's guitar kick off this album. Taking you into opening of the powerful "I Believe." This song is classic Bon Jovi. The positive message of hope and love set against the thunderous guitar work of Sambora. Jon's voice has that dynamic quality that makes most women unable to contain themselves and this song is one that will have them quaking! This is not a bad thing. It is what made the band and will continue to fuel all their subsequent releases. I really like the way that they do this one. The texture and layering of the guitars give it that rich full wall of sound quality. Solid music that is the kind that any would be rocker would be proud of!
Next up is the title track, "Keep The Faith." This is a much heavier feeling song than most of Bon Jovi's work. It has a darker and more menacing feel. This fits perfectly with the message. Being down means that you have to keep the faith, the only way to go is up! This is one of the really good rockers on here. Sambora delivers a smoking solo and his work throughout is what we have come to expect from this guitar master. Quality music that is as strong as any that this band has ever done.
"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is much more upbeat and one song that would fall into the category of anthem rocker. An ode to the hard and fast lifestyle, this song is a joyous bit of old time rock and roll. A tinkering piano gives it that old style quality while the rhythmic clapping and the background chorus add an almost 50ish feel to this song. Good stuff again from this highly underrated rockers!
Well if I had to pick one song that says power ballad, this would be the one! Even though it was not as big of a hit as some others, this one is as good as it gets. "In These Arms" blends the chunky and dynamic guitar work of Sambora with the almost crooning effect that Bon Jovi uses to melt the hearts of the females listening. He uses such direct and straight forward lyrics, it is very easy to figure out just what he has to say!
"I 'd hold you I'd need you I'd get down on my knees for you And make everything alright If you were in these arms tonight!"
Not much doubt about what he means. This is one of those songs that definitely goes on the romance mix tape. Even better than a good sax player when it comes to making her more receptive! Another song that exemplifies the smarts that this band has. Great music, great lyrics again.
Now we come to the real love song. This is the one that has been played at thousands of weddings since it's release. Even though this song tells an almost sad tale of love and the problems of long distance relationships, it's powerful chorus speaks volumes to what true love really means. "Bed of Roses" is Jon wearing his heart on his sleeve. There is one at home that is his true love, but there is also some "replacements" while he is away from her! A strong song that was one of his biggest hits.
"If I Was Your Mother" shows off the hard edged side of the band. A heavy tune that demands your full attention. It is highlighted by Sambora one more time. Some strong guitar work makes this one a dynamic and powerful rocker. The vocals run the full gambit. From the distorted sound of Jon's voice being run through a voice box in the first verse, to the full choir quality that ends the song. It gives this song that edge that never lets you get settled in. It keeps you on off balance throughout. Once more the band provides a powerful rocker that will keep you entertained. Not the best work on here, but that is not a slam, since there is really no weak spots on the album!
Dry County" is Bon Jovi's epic song to the middle class working man. This song tells the story of someone who puts his all into the oil business and finds that all good things must come to an end. The well eventually will run dry! Lyrically, this is on a par with Springsteen when it comes to painting the picture of despair that faces the worker who sees the loss of his job through circumstances beyond his control. The music is strongly reminiscent of the tune Blaze of Glory. This is one of the highlights of this disc!
Another great rocker, "Woman in Love" is good time R & R at it's best. Jon has never received credit as a writer, but this song shows off his lyrical ability. Funny and to the point, he delivers a powerful ode to the downfall of many a man....Women!!! Just sit back and enjoy these guys rocking out on this one. It will put a smile on your face!
"Fear" is a darker type song that explores the fear of being successful. You have to go for the brass ring. He tells you to grab it when you get the chance, another one may not come along! Good tune again but it might get lost in the shuffle on this collection!
Power ballad to the max! This song,"I Want You," again just oozes that seductive quality that only Bon Jovi has been able to capture. This song would be called sappy if it came from another artist, but Jon has a way to make it truly enjoyable! As long as you have that special someone with you, this is a must have to that seduction mix tape!!
Fire it up! Arena rock at it's best. See that wave of pumping fist as you hit the chorus, that is what the song "Blame It On The Love Of Rock And Roll" is all about. Just as Kiss's Rock and Roll All Night, became their concert main stay, this one is destined to do the same for Bon Jovi.
The last song on this disc the one that I think is the best yet! "Little Bit Of Soul" is just that. Not blaring and bombastic as their other rockers, this subdued touch gives you a feeling of closeness. Here they are not the rock stars up on the stage so far away, they are sitting their right in front of you playing from the gut! All involved with this song due a fantastic job, from the normal exquisite playing of Sambora to the fiery delivery of Jon, this one sounds like it was done to please themselves...not as one to keep the fans happy. A great way to end this fine album.
A little while ago we did a big hair band write off and this group had more entries than any other. While this is good, I think that this band has more talent and their music far exceeds what you normally think of when you say hair band. This album is the best that they have done so far and it is going to be hard to beat. I hope that they keep on trying though!!