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BON JOVI
CRUSH

Mercury/Universal
Produced by: Not Listed

Released: May 29 / Website
Closest Relative: Themselves
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 80%

  1. It's My Life
  2. Say It Isn't So
  3. Thank You For Loving Me
  4. Two Story Town
  5. Next 100 Years
  6. Just Older
  7. Mystery Train
  8. Save The World
  9. Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen From Mars
  10. She's A Mystery
  11. I Got The Girl
  12. One Wild Night

So it's May 2000 and Bon Jovi are back! A new album and a new attitude, a return to the hey day of their first thumping hard rock anthems....er, NO!
This is Bon Jovi and yes, a few of the songs do rock, but this is another division of the band's sound. This is another new facet of the bands capabilities. It is not anything near or like Slippery When Wet or any other album before or since then.
Crush has old elements and new ones. This is mainly an aging rock band providing what they are best at in this era, catchy mid tempo rock songs and smooth stripped back pop anthems and a few big ballads.
Let's take it track by track:
The opening track is the obvious single as it gets the fans thinking this is Bon Jovi returning to their hard rocking best. True, but on this and one other track only.
It's My Life is clearly the biggest hard rocker on the album and takes only the one listen to know instantly. This is classic Bon Jovi with a modern edge.
Things are looking good, but the pace of the album is unfortunately stunted already with track two.
Say It Isn't So has a hard-edged guitar sound, but is only a mid tempo track. The chorus is pure psychedelic Beatles meets rock n roll in the same effect that Shaw/Blades and even the Rembrandts have used - just heavier. It does proove one thing, the guys are capable of re-inventing themselves consistently.
Then with track three it's big power ballad time already. These guys have done so many big commercial ballads now it is hard to tell them apart. Add Thank You For Loving Me to that list.
This will be another radio hit and is a nice song of course, but I have enough tracks like this already. Plusses for the song is the use of an orchestra adding another dimension to the song and it does build to a big powerful finish.
Two Story Town is a hard rootsy rocker, using some special effects and is more in a raw stripped back Midwestern feel. It's another mid-tempo track, no big anthem but a good verse and a much better chorus. There are several layers of guitars and vocals, even if it is in a live bluesy style. A cool guitar solo features mid way, but it doesn't go long enough!
Next 100 Years is mid tempo again and multi layered, but still has that Midwestern feel to it rather than a hard edged rocker. More southern rock vocals from Jon and a chorus that is OK, without rising above the rest of the track.
Just when we really needed an uptempo track to save the day we get one. This is a more typical New Jersey style Bon Jovi rocker. Just Older isn't overly heavy to start, with a softer verse, but the chorus is a pure Springsteen in style (complete with piano) and where the song picks up and goes off. Much better.
Mystery Train slows things back down again. This is an acoustic driven track that has a real emotional feel to it and a great couple of melodic hooks. I like the feel of it a lot. It is basically an uptempo ballad and as close as Bon Jovi gets to AOR.
More laid back, stripped back Midwestern ballad rock comes in the form of Save The World.
This is the sort of song I can pretty much do without. Just as the album was building real momentum, these songs just wipe out the gains. More Beatles & Shaw/Blades comparisons and a chorus that rises nicely, but the song is just too laid back for me.
Now once again, this is more like it! The intro brings a smile to my face as I can hear the guitar building and just know this will be an anthem. It doesn't quite fulfill expectations as it turns more into an acoustic driven track, but the tempo is up and the song is happy. Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen From Mars has some great melodic hooks, but could have been rockier.
An then once again, the tempo is lost and it's back to a slow ballad. But in this case I will let the guys off as Bon Jovi have proved with She's A Mystery that they can still, after all these years, write an original ballad. This is a quite cool, atmospheric, mysterious pop ballad with an almost new age feel to it. A cool soft and moody chorus.
I Got The Girl sounds like it is heading down the ballad road until after a soft intro, the verse crashes through the speakers. This is a happy uptempo pop rocker in the vein of the Rembrandts I'll Be There For You. A stripped back acoustic driven rocker.
And the final track for the album sees the guys ending it like they started it. One Wild Night is a more traditional hard rocking Bon Jovi song that moves at a pretty frantic pace and is noticeably heavier than most of the rest of the album. It's still not Bad Medicine though! A good party anthem.
This is much preferable to These Days, but I will still rather listen to Slippery When Wet, New Jersey or Keep The Faith over this.
BOTTOM LINE: Crush is not what everyone had hoped for when Jon Bon Jovi announced the band were returning to their Slippery When Wet roots.
It is however a much more upbeat and positive album and is therefore easier to listen to than These Days. This is not a hard rock band at their peak as they were with Slippery When Wet. This is more an older, more mature pop rock band still proving that they can cut it with the younger generation of chart topping groups. They can still write an original ballad and they can still party like the old days. This is the best of what Bon Jovi is in 2000, but not in 1987.
Please guys, don't pass it off as a return to the glory days. It's just something different.
PRODUCTION: 90% SONGS: 80% VIBE: 75%ATTITUDE: 70%
ESSENTIAL FOR:
DISCOGRAPHY:Bon Jovi . 7800 Degrees Fahrenheit . Slippery When Wet . New Jersey . Keep The Faith . Crossroad . These Days . Crush



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