This was the very first "Gorwn up" cassette I ever owned. I recieved it for my birthday the year it came out. I've spent much time listening to, and debating the significance of this album. I have come to two conclusions over the years. It was meant to give Glam/Hair Rock of the 80's some form of a real credential. It was also meant to make this music female friendly.
The album opens with Let It Rock. This is a great album opening. The big, dramatic, keyboard opening that just lights up your auditory system. It lets you know that you will have to Rock, and you'll have to enjoy it. Even if you don't want to. It's just one of those songs.
The next two songs are Bon Jovi's greatest hits. You Give Love A Bad Name and Livin' On A Prayer are the two most recognizable songs this band has ever released. Over the years I've come to accept the first one as a staple in the 80's lexicon of Arena Rock. The second song I've come to consider as one of the most over rated songs of all time.
The only thing Livin' On A Prayer has going for it is the use of the talk box with the guitar. I have no use for this song and will skip it everytime. I think it's totally overrated and is nothing more than your basic run of the mill New Jersey Midwest Rock dressed up to look fancy. Lyrically I can understand the plight of two young adults in love and struggling to make it, but this really isn't any better than listening to any of those songs that are really boring and are meant for girls.
I'll never forget the first time I heard Social Disease. I didn't get the joke at the beginning, but I understood every word that was being said. This song has all the subtlety of Gene Simmons on Viagra and Ecstasy. The music is just as beautifully dirty as the lyrical content, and Richie Sambora's guitar work is so infectiously cliche it gets right into your being. This sounds just like every other song released by a band worth anything in this period of time. At least when it comes to the subject of sex. Just to clarify that statement I mean that this sounds like, Guns N' Roses or Aerosmith, not Skid Row or Poison.
My absolute favourite Bon Jovi song is Wanted Dead Or Alive. This is one of those songs that I would hate to have to live without. First it has such a cowboy sound to it. Not Country music cowboy, but a real man riding the earth cowboy. Except that you can replace the horse with a motorcycle instead. This song belongs right next to Alice Cooper's Desperado as far as I'm concerned. This is one of those classic road songs that I'm sure will live on forever in one way or another.
That was the end of side one of my cassette. A lot of the time I would just hit rewind and start from the begining again. The second side had some good tunes, but only one of them ever really captured and held my attention.
Raise You Hands has a great guitar opening, and I love the way the keyboards make those certain sharp phase cuts into the mix. The rhythm is fantastically solid, and if this wasn't Bon Jovi it could be believed that this may have been a Metal band. I know what I say sounds like a blasphamy to the Metalheads, but they need to stop lying to themselves. Also it only applies to this song, and it's furious paced Arena Rock. This is one of those songs where you have to show Richie a little love.
I personally have no use for the next four songs, which finish off the album. If I were to burn a copy of this CD, or dub a tape, for a friend, I'd swap out the last four songs with much better tracks from other albums.
"I saw a man down on lonely street / A broken man who looked like me / And no one knows the pain that he's been living / He lost his love and still hasn't forgiven / He said: I've been through some changes / But one thing always stays the same / Without love, there's nothing without love / Nothing else can get through the night / Nothing else feels right without love". This is the second verse and chorus to Without Love. This is so typically 80's Power Ballad. If you close your eyes you can picture the high school dances and the big hair, and there is nothing romantic about that.
I'd Die For You is trying to be all tough and bad boy, but all deep like Pony Boy in The Outsiders. Instead there's this keyboard in the background that makes it sound like a Michael Jackson song, and about as tough as Beat It. In fact that might be the perfect comparison for this song. After a few repeat listenings I would like Bon Jovi to die for me, but I don't have a vagina so I don't think that will happen.
Seriously what's with the three love songs in a row? I understand that I'd Die For You is not a slow song, but it's still a love song. It's all for the girls and their wet romance fantasies. But, by the time that Never Say Goodbye reaches the first chorus I remember why I mock Bon Jovi so much. Jon is personally one of the biggest pansy asses to ever be allowed to reach platinum record status. The worst part is that I can't even blame Desmond Child for any part of this piece of shit either. This was all Jon and Richie.
The album ends with Wild In The Streets. I don't know what to say about this one. Pretty much take everything I said about Livin' On A Prayer, make it a sped of Rock tune, and that covers it all.
Basically, if you take an earlier Bruce Springsteen album, or John Cougar Melloncamp, and add a distinctively 80's sound to it, think Footloose (the original), you get the idea behind most of this album. Well, make it also geared a little more towards women too.
Musically, I do respect this album. Lyrically, I would like to see Jon Bon Jovi get ass raped by Desmond Child while they are forced to listen to just the vocal and keyboard tracks over and over again. But, the chicks enjoy the album and that's all that matters right?
Bottom line is, listen to the first six tracks only, and at the most.
7/10 - content
7/10 - production
6/10 - personal bias