BON JOVI - 2020 (2020)


I seem to have gained a reputation for disliking Bon Jovi. Giving Burning Bridges a 10% grading might have helped propel that train of thought for some, and my views on This House Is Not For Sale, This Left Seems Right, Lost Highway, What About Now and The Circle certainly wouldn’t have helped.

Now I look at it, I actually dislike more Bon Jovi album than I like. I’ve never broken it down like that before. This revelation should say more about the band than my personal critiques. I hold their first 5 albums in high regard and worship at the feet of New Jersey.

I also think Have A Nice Day is one of the better examples of a classic band updating their sound and still kicking ass.

With 2020 being universally regarded as the year of Satan’s armpit, it may not have been the wisest idea to give your big new album the same moniker. Perhaps though, it is quite fitting for the wrong reasons.

We all know the great Americana singer/songwriter Jonnie B Jovee wishes to take his place alongside fellow rockers Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, but he’s missing more than one ingredient that makes those two legends the icons they are.

Jonny B Jovee could have been a legend in his own standing had he just stuck to what he did best. Of course, his voice will no longer play along and his lifelong writing partner Richie Sambora bailed in 2013, so fans have to live through his midwestern acoustic heartland rock dreams with him.

For me the album holds just one track of note and that is the lead track Limitless. It remains me a little of the modern rock Have A Nice Day vibe, just without the voice.

There’s a couple of token rockers thrown in, but the majority of this album is comprised of self-aware slow to mid-tempo tracks, carrying forward the album’s political and social messages.

That part doesn’t bother me - for the most part, I’m on a similar page as Jon’s political commentary, but you don’t have to be boring to make a point.

The deluxe edition adds two more utterly lifeless ballads and a duet of the uptempo Bruce Mellencamp styled Do What You Can.

I’d love to say that Bon Jovi are back, but they’re not. Jonny B Jovi is however and if you’ve been riding alongside his recent musical path, you’ll know what to expect here.

Jonny sings that ‘we start to die the day we are born’. Same could be said of this album’s sales on release day. Who could ever have imagined the guy that sang Living On A Prayer would one day be versing about chicken farms in Arkansas?