2020- The year of COVID-19. The year of another US presidential election but also the year of another amazing Bon Jovi album.
I have been a fan of this band since I was 5 years old and since then they have never let me down. This album is no different.
Let us be honest the overall concept and subject matter on this record is one of sadness BUT in pure Bon Jovi fashion there is always an underlying optimism to the writing.
The record starts with ‘Limitless’ and Jon crooning out ‘WAKE UP EVERYBODY WAKE UP!’. That is such an impactful line these days (no pun intended). For me this song cry’s out to us to realise that yes we have the daily routine and struggles but life is still precious and we can still do almost anything we our minds to.
We the skip into the country sounding sing along ‘Do What You Can’. This is sure to be a massive track live with crowds belting it out with their arms around each other. Quite obviously a song about the global pandemic through the eyes of the band and it really has that signature hook and melody that we have come to know and love from them!
‘American Reckoning’. I am just going to say it. WHAT…A…TRACK! In the same way Bruce Springsteen does, Jon plants such a vivid picture in your mind with this track. For me it is a true testament to great song writing and story- telling. The harmonica, the wonderful rolling guitars, the message…. perfect!
We then move onto ‘Beautiful Drug’ with does edge on the ‘poppy’ sounding side of Bon Jovi but still it’s got the hook that will keep it in your head after listening. Mid Album we hit ‘Story Of Love’. It’s simply a nice, solid, ballad that doesn’t really go anywhere but that’s kind of nice, I like understated sometimes.
Number 6 brings us to ‘Let It Rain’. This song could have been on several previous albums. I really like Jon’s voice on this track. His still knows how to deliver a point he must make.
‘Lower The Flag’. Lyrically, fantastic. Another great story that again kind of reminds me of Springsteen.
The backend of the album starts with ‘Blood In The Water’. The intro to this is nothing short of stunning and the vocals come in and I instantly imagined that Leonard Cohen could have written this. Its no surprise as I believe he was a big influence on Jon. Then the chorus kicks in and its changes to this beautiful melody that really hits you if you listen, really listen!
A bit of a departure from the rest of record ‘Brothers In Arms’ sounds very bluesy indeed, again with some cool guitars parts and hooks galore.
Finally, we arrive at ‘Unbroken’. Its starts with moody guitar ring out and then plodding guitar under the vocal throughout. Probably where the drums shine the most is this track and its nice to see Tico really being shown because he is a great drummer!
All in all I think this is a strong album. Bon Jovi have always been a force to be reckoned with. They have been around long enough and know exactly what they are doing.
Is Jon’s voice a strong as it was? NO I guess not BUT what I absolutely admire is how he is not trying to sing like he did on the older albums that we all love. He is growing and showing a different side to his art and his vocal. He may not be able to hit the notes that he uses to but he can still write a damn good song and share that with us in a way that they always have! Two thumbs up from me.
Review by Luke Short for MPM