UG Team, on june 22, 2007 4 of 7 people found this review helpful
Sound: Bon Jovi's last few albums have rapidly strayed from the rock genre that the band embraced back in the 80s, and it's latest CD Lost Highway bounces between adult contemporary and country more than ever before. While there's nothing wrong with letting go of the past, the CD just doesn't feel like the band's most original offering. Thankfully, there are some heartfelt songs (particularly in the lyrical department) that do deliver, with the always-reliable Desmond Child co-writing one of them.
The band has always injected a strong country feel into many of it's songs, with Wanted Dead Or Alive and vocalist Jon Bon Jovi's solo Blaze Of Glory showing off the best of the country-rock style. Lost Highway actually feels more like a country album most of the time, dabbling heavily in adult contemporary country rather than old school Hank Williams. The production value is great, but it never approaches classic status like earlier hits like Wanted Dead Or Alive. Bon Jovi recruited the help of country stars like Leann Rimes (Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore) and Big & Rich (We Got It Going On), but the band is at it's strongest when it's just Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora with a few guitars and harmonies.
The best track is easily the single (You Want To) Make A Memory, which was co-written by Desmond Child, the man responsible for such hits as You Give Love A Bad Name and Livin' On A Prayer. It's just a beautiful, stripped down ballad that is the most original piece on Lost Highway. The song was the only one in which Child helped out in writing, and that's very telling. While nearly all of the songs have vivid and engaging lyrics, the melodies just don't make the same kind of impression that (You Want To) Make A Memory does. // 7
Lyrics: Bon Jovi has mastered the art of storytelling like many great country artists out there, and it's absolutely the high point on Lost Highway. The title track could easily be considered the road trip theme on the album thanks in part to some cleverly penned lyrics about the traveling life. Bon Jovi sings, In my rearview mirror; My life is getting clearer; The sunset sighs and slowly disappears, and later adds So I drive watching white lines passing by; With my plastic dashboard Jesus.Lost Highway is a great opening track thanks largely in part to the descriptive lyrics.
Summertime is another track where it feels like we're getting a detailed day-to-day chronicle, courtesy of Bon Jovi. He sings, It feels something like summertime; I was a warm breeze with a cool tan; Life mapped out on the back of my hand; When God was laughing I was making my plans. Bon Jovi's careful choice of words creates an effective mood of nostalgia, which in the end is a theme he carries through most of the record. // 10
Overall Impression: Bon Jovi amazingly still has most of it's original members (Bon Jovi, Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, and drummer Tico Torres), with the exception of bassist Hugh McDonald. Considering they are an extremely competent group of musicians, it would have been nice to see them showcase a few more piano or keyboard solos. There are quite a few tracks that are driven by run-of-the-mill chord progressions, and Sambora is just much better than that. But every once in while Sambora does break out the slide (Any Other Day) or talk box (We Got It Going On) and it usually pays off.
Although Bon Jovi found it's original home amidst the hair metal crowd, the band has now found a cozy spot in the world of top 40 radio. For someone who grew up with a more rock-driven sound (and yes, I'm sure some out there might not call it rock), at times something does feel missing from the new CD. But the band does seem to have won a crowd over in the adult contemporary and country worlds, and those fans will likely be very content with the songs on Lost Highway. // 8
DStobbs, on june 22, 2007 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Respect to Bon Jovi. Not even two years since the release of his last studio outing, 2005's "Have A Nice Day", and the band make a return with "Lost Highway", their fourth record since the start of the millennium. With the creative blueprint laid down as well, opting to attempt something fresher, it really does make you questions why it is taking other 80's rock/metal peers such a long time to return with new material and not tour on past glories. (Anyone heard of a band called Metallica by the way?)
In the much lesser-felt run in on the promotion to this record, very little has entered the media waves other than the fact the record takes a much more country inspired influence, this mainly due to the success of single "Who Say's You Can't Go Home" from H.A.N.D. Talk also of the fact this is the bands last long-player on their current deal may also lead some to wonder just how forced and pressured the final product may turn out to be.
So for those overly sceptical as a result, erase all pre-conceptions. Whilst the country vibes are certainly amongst the mix and themes for this record and are clearly in evidence amongst the majority of the tracks, the band certainly have not made a full investment in this sound. The style obviously will have an effect and does shape the overall sound of the record, but the prominent type of anthem here lends its self more towards the soft-rock side as a pose to the rockier side "Have A Nice Day" was largely based around. The album starts off at it's most upbeat, and like this records predecessor, the title-track again probably boasts the albums biggest chorus, and Ritchie Sambora maintains his knack for once again finding a killer, uplifting riff progression and balancing it nicely within the easier-said-than-done song structuring. From here on in, it's that softer-rock style with the odd sprinkle of a country-esque moment. The order of the day either way though is simply relaxed and laid back tunes, the acoustic and piano being dusted off and the electric guitar taking a backseat. Whether it be the chilling and delicate, unplugged feel of particularly emotional first single "Make A Memory", to the dreamy, floating, almost Foo Fighter "Next Year" feel of "Everybody's Broken" or the really slide-driven, acoustic orientated moments like "Whole Lot of Leavin'" and "One Step Closer", the style lends itself a lot more towards Jon's vocal qualities, and opens your eyes at times on just how powerful a depth and range the guy has on him. With this said however, the rock side is not completely abandoned. The particularly "Crush"-era sounding "We Got It Going On" provides one of the albums top moments, and is surely single-bound. Packed with Bon Jovi trademarks - the vocal/guitar interchanging verse sections, simplistic go immensely catchy "woah-ohs", the cheesy in-band references, and most prominently, Ritchie's talk box in full voice and on superb form, the guitar solo in particular a real gem. Combined with the other, more traditional sounding rocker "Summertime", you're reminded of the common Bon Jovi ground you're used to, and this leads to the records only flaw - the lack of these moments. One could argue of course the band are trying to dodge the one-trick pony moments, and they have definitely succeeded and proven their depth with this release, however you feel maybe another couple of these moments may have actually given the record more balance and a much vaster variation in retrospect. // 8
Lyrics: The common themes covered within the record deal with progressing in your life and knowing your place, relishing particular moments and creating new ones and the familiar and warm feeling of your surroundings. Lyrically it is not far from the matter referered to on "Have A Nice Day", with every set being upbeat and positive, reflective and relating to you on more that one basis. Like with the last record it is refreshing to hear. // 9
Overall Impression: With one of the most large and loyal fanbases in the world, I'll be amazed if many are detered by this record. Yes, it is a softer sounding record, but the Bon Jovi trademarks never completely fade. Another rock moment here or there may have just given it that touch of balance and added appeal to keep all fans completeley satisified, but otherwise this is still pure Bon Jovi, fashionable or not fashionable, nobody does anthemic rock like it. // 8