Sound — 4
Dear friends and commercial partners,
The day is finally here! Bon Jovi are back! We've built our brand all over the globe over the past 30 years and in that time we've delivered nothing but the finest solutions and most efficient service to our clients. This year the living legends return with "What About Now", 12 tracks of booming stadium rock to suit any need.
It doesn't matter what you're advertising. It could be a Hollywood rom-com, a theme park opening or just a half-price sale on pine wood flooring; if you need it to seem like a really big deal, Jon's got the song for you. Enquire today!
Bon Jovi really do love a good fairytale. Their new album "What About Now" is overblown, overdramatic stadium flatulence from start to finish but it would be unfair to overly criticise something so fit for purpose. Unless Hollywood studios have started looking for a different sound or their audience has suddenly stopped aging, this album will do perfectly well.
The formula is familiar but a little different from their last few. The country twist of "Lost Highway" is left to the past but so, unfortunately, is the (relative) heaviness of "The Circle" and "Have A Nice Day", which will be a disappointment to the many who may have thought it was the start of a new era for a band who had lost their harder rock edge. Every other song is a ballad of sorts, and while the hooks are strong on "Because We Can" and "Beautiful World", the incredibly talented lead player Richie Sambora is mostly confined to basic arpeggios and occasional, throwaway licks. For all the high drama the absolute peak of adrenaline comes with an open hi-hat and hard downstroke and nothing more on "That's What The Water Made Me". That's genuinely it if you're looking for anything to get your blood pumping.
Lyrics — 4
As for lyrics, let's put it this way. If the cheesy tunes fill you with inspiration, then there's a chance the cheesy words will strike a chord too. Be warned though, these are real classic cases, abound with the clichs of a songwriter who's run out of things to sing about. There's genuinely a "baby, baby, baby" on "That's What The Water Made Me". Reading the booklet is half after-school special and half adolescent Tumblr page, all done via the pen of an experienced rockstar. As long as you hold strong, be yourself and eventually fall in love with a beautiful girl, you should get by without these lyrics.
Overall Impression — 4
This is worryingly middle-of-the-road. What Bon Jovi do have that most bands don't is the ability to wring a tune out of even the most questionable stylistic choice, and while "What About Now" is far too safe to be considered a disaster, their hook-writing instinct does carry them through this almost on its own. Only enough for a few of the discerning fans who may still be loyal to this tired old hit machine.