Picks and Pans Review: Slippery When Wet

UPDATED 10/13/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 10/13/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

Bon Jovi

What is this, '70s nostalgia? Here's a talented group of long-haired arena rockers who play fist-in-the-air power rock as if punk and New Wave never happened. These are all the musical clichés the punks loved to lampoon, performed by guys who don't seem the least bit self conscious playing them. Then again, why should they? Their brand of metallic pop is as big today as it was when dinosaurs like Deep Purple and Grand Funk Railroad last roamed the Top 40. This, Bon Jovi's third album, following last year's tenacious 7800° Fahrenheit, is destined to be a big hit on AOR (album-oriented rock) radio stations. The first single, You Give Love a Bad Name, already is lurching toward monster status, despite such lyrical banalities as "There's nowhere to run/ No one can save me/ The damage is done." The record opens with a snatch of Garth Hudson-inspired organ-grinding by Dave Bryan—he's obviously listened to the Band—who along with lead guitarist and composer Richie Sambora provides Bon Jovi's musical backbone. Those Phantom-of-the-Opera flourishes lead into Let It Rock, a standard rock anthem that sounds like Argent's Hold Your Head Up. Such songs as Raise Your Hands and Wild in the Streets, while they never venture into the decibel-defying outer reaches of power rock, are bound to appeal to adolescents who like it loud and simple. This is music for head-bangers who use a pillow. Slower songs—Never Say Goodbye, for instance—hint that the band is capable of subtlety, a trait not much in evidence elsewhere. Bad news for teenage girls who plan to buy this record for gazing at closeup photos of Jon Bon Jovi: There's not one potential pinup picture in sight. It's surprising that the record packagers, who included a picture of the boys in the band and a gaggle of chesty femmes in "Slippery When Wet" T-shirts on the record sleeve, failed to exploit the looks of the cutest guy rock's seen since Frampton first shook a lock onstage. (Mercury)

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