Picks and Pans Review: Crush
Bon Jovi (Island)
Like one of those Bermuda Triangle legends about a lost squadron of World War II fighter planes discovered in tip-top shape 50 years later, this fabled group from another era lands among us virtually intact. A full decade after hair bands last ruled the air waves—and five years since their last studio album—Jon Bon Jovi (né Bongiovi), Richie Sambora and the boys return with locks shorn, somewhat. They have aged, of course. But their music is another story; in fact many of these tunes sound an awful lot like Bon Jovi hits of yore. The opening track, "It's My Life," is "Livin' on a Prayer" (1986) with different lyrics. "Two Story Town" sounds remarkably similar to "Wanted Dead or Alive" (1987). Of course, Bon Jovi was always cuter and more charismatic than the competition, and no one could make clichéd lyrics, nasally vocals and predictable arena-rock riffs sound so good. The secret weapon, then and now, is guitarist Sambora, 40, whose harmonies help lift Jon Bon Jovi's sometimes leaden lead vocals. Despite his limitations as a crooner, however, Bon Jovi, 38, sells songs with the sheer force of his enthusiasm. After seven films, he certainly knows how to act like a rock star. Backed by bandmates David Bryan, 38, on keyboards, and drummer Tico Torres, 46, Bon Jovi proves that the old squadron can still fly.
Bottom Line: Glory days are here again
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