While many ‘hair’ bands of the 80’s are either long gone, struggling to make a comeback, or tour occasionally as a nostalgic act, Bon Jovi
continues to crank out new rock anthems. Their new album, Have A Nice Day, showcases catchy pop tunes, fun rock songs and improved songwriting skills. Though staying true to their signature sound, the band seems to try too hard at some parts to appeal toward younger fans. Bon Jovi is definitely at their best when displaying their classic rock style.
The title track can be described as “It’s My Life” part II. Full of attitude, it’s a fist pumping, screw-the-world, give-me-a-break rock song that puts the listener in a good mood. “Have A Nice Day” can be taken literally, or more probably, as a sarcastic comeback, delivered with a smirk. The pop solo version of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” is an infectious ear worm that’ll eat at you for several hours. The duet version of the song is recorded with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and has more of a country feel to it. “I Want To Be Loved” deals with desperation and confusion, and is not the best song on the album. Other tunes that get a low grade are “Wildflower” and “Bells of Freedom”. All are worth the listen for lyrical content, but drag the mood of the album down.
Stand out tracks like “Last Man Standing” is a sweet commentary of the decline of the music scene. It basically states that true musicians are a dying breed and the industry is being taken over by talentless, lip-syncing ‘artists’. “No dancers, no diamonds”, just good music. “Welcome To Wherever You Are” has the clever line “drowning in a shadow of a doubt” and speaks to everyone’s insecurity. Albeit slightly corny and not quite the Bon Jovi style that long time fans have come to know and love, the song has merit for positive attitude and “keeping the faith” mentality.
Power ballad “I Am” is counteracted with break-up rock song “Novacaine”. “Complicated” and “Story of My Life” have the most teen appeal, complete with a catchy chorus. Bon Jovi compares love to one “Last Cigarette” and does it with a simplistic beat reminiscent of the Beach Boys, even mentioning Brian Wilson at the song’s end.
To quote the band themselves, “It isn’t black or white, and it’s anything but gray.” Bon Jovi’s working class image and loud rock style is still in tact in this album, but it’s been evened out with a few pop friendly tracks. Life-long fans will enjoy this latest effort and will be pleased to find familiarity with the classic driving beats that is the essence of the Bon Jovi sound. New younger fans can revel in the angst and emotions brought about by a few tracks. Overall, Have A Nice Day has a little something for everyone.
The Jersey boys are currently on tour with Nickelback. For more information on Bon Jovi or tour dates, visit www.BonJovi.com and www.ticketmaster.com.