Burning Bridges review by Bon Jovi

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  • Released: Aug 21, 2015
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 4.8 (17 votes)
Bon Jovi: Burning Bridges

Sound — 6
It has been a bizarre time to be a Bon Jovi fan, and it isn't too difficult for those rock listeners who have been left outside of the feud between lead vocalist and mainman Bon Jon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora to understand why. After Jon gave Sambora an ultimatum which would either result in the founding guitar player heading back out on the road and into the studio or spending time with his family and being kicked out of the band, Sambora chose the latter. The remaining members of Bon Jovi would then head back on tour with the aid of guitarist Phil X without actually naming him as the official replacement for Sambora, before heading into the recording studio to record and release the band's thirteenth album "Burning Bridges". While this would all be generally digestible for dedicated Bon Jovi advocates, here's where things become more bizarre. "Burning Bridges" would later be described by Jon as a "fan album", meaning that those recent recording sessions with Bon Jovi were actually dives into the archives to retrieve songs from previous albums (with Sambora) that didn't make the cut and rework them for release. The actual "new" Bon Jovi album that will feature all new compositions won't be out until next year, and essentially "Burning Bridges" is something to justify another world tour.

At this point, it would be rather effortless to count "Burning Bridges" out as just an effortless rehash with possibly one worthwhile track to walk away from, right? That's where it gets even more interesting in the case of this latest installment. What we find on "Burning Bridges" surpasses anything that has come out under the Bon Jovi name in years, especially when compared to the dreadful 2013 soft rock release "Because We Can". The members of Bon Jovi actually deliver some of their best hard rock anthems since 2009's "The Circle". Yes, that's probably because this material is largely based on the sessions for "The Circle," but it is still a readily accepted improvement for the band. "We Don't Run" could be interpreted as a modernized take on the Bon Jovi brand of old, but the bold group vocal harmonies and driving chord progressions are enough to compel the listener to throw their fist in the air and jam along. "Saturday Night Gave Me Sunday Morning" is the same way, and maybe even rocks a little harder due to the strengthened emphasis on laidback melodies and a sing-along guitar solo. If one turned to the list of songwriting credits, it wouldn't exactly be a surprise to see (who else?) but Richie Sambora's name there alongside Jon Bon Jovi, but that alone may make "Burning Bridges" a more tolerable title for purists.

Lyrics — 7
Jon Bon Jovi has never been known as a dynamic lead vocalist. Although he does press for some dark groans on the aforementioned "We Don't Run," his middle-of-the-road vocal range has done wonders for the Bon Jovi catalog and has allowed the band to venture across contemporary rock, country rock, pop rock and hard rock territory over the years. It's that similar breed of lyrical execution which is featured all throughout "Burning Bridges," whether it's the all-too-familiar assortment of ballads ("Fingerprints," "Life Is Beautiful," "Blind Love") or the raging upbeat moments on "We All Fall Down" and "A Teardrop to The Sea".

Overall Impression — 7
Is the latest Bon Jovi album "Burning Bridges" a "new" album? That depends solely on what you consider "new" to mean. They're fresh recordings with the band's current lineup, and I'm sure some interpretations were included along the way. These tracks are also some of the finest hard rock compositions to arrive from Bon Jovi in some time. Rather than questioning the status of what we find on "Burning Bridges," it may prove to be more worthwhile to turn towards the future of the band. If all Bon Jovi can do is rely on the previously abandoned scraps of earlier efforts when Richie Sambora, someone Bon Jon Jovi seemingly can't bury the hatchet with, was in the lineup and writing material, this progression may be over just as soon as it begins.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Damn. I always give in to Bon Jovi. I'm like an ex-girlfriend who can't stay away from her abusive boyfriend. No misogyny intended.
    hard rock? really? i wouldn't call them hard rock, especially at this point of their career. i think richie, with his blues rock roots, was what gave them enough integrity to escape the hair farmer band tag. phil is a great guitarist but richie, for me, was the quality of the band.
    This album is indeed better than I expected. It's an improvement if you compare it to What About Now. There are more solos but I do miss Richie
    Jon Bon Jovi writes song lyrics like a high school drop out. Oh, uh... nevermind.
    utter gash of an album, really missing the Sambora touch IMO...kinda reminds me of the last Genesis album "Calling All Stations" recorded after Phil Collins left the band. alright in it's own right, and if you're not an uberfan, you'll probably quite like it, but missing SOMETHING to make it great. Phil, Like Richie, brought that extra quality to the table that is sadly lacking in the albums released without them
    I thinks it's not that bad. Definitely notable improvements since The Circle. Yes it is different, it is nothing like with Richie, but hey I still like to listen him singing in his own manner with his prominent voice. He's good he keeps doing what he loves no matter what.
    I really didn't like the album. I'm probably gonna be downvoted to hell, but at least I listened and tried it.
    been a big fan of bon jovi since the late 80s,been to see them 7 times ... but jon's once great voice has left him,the past few albums have been terrible as for burning bridges...not good at all!!!
    Without Richie there is no Bon jovi. I am a fan for 21 years butt this album does not make it. The only song that i like is Saturday night gave me sunday morning. It is my opinion but this album is a laugh.
    Did noone ever noticed that the chorus of "Saturday Night gave me Sunday Morning" is almost the melody of Nickelbacks "Gotta Be Somebody"??? Ive been a fan of Bon Jovi for a long time, but this will be the first record i wont buy, on the one hand because Sambora is not a member anymore, on the other hand because "Because We Can" is the worst record ive ever listened to.