Picks and Pans Review: Bon Jovi

updated 10/03/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/03/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

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"What you get ain't what you see," sings Jon Bon Jovi on "Complicated," one of the fist-pumping highlights of his namesake group's new album. On the contrary, Bon Jovi has sold millions of albums and outlived many a hair band by delivering the kind of straightforward, crunch-and-munch rock that is tailor-made for tailgate parties and stadium sing-alongs. The quartet's latest is no exception, showing that even in their 40s and 50s, these dudes still give anthemic pop-metal a good name. Working through-out with Grammy-winning producer John Shanks, best known for his work with such pop princesses as Kelly Clarkson, Ashlee Simpson and Hilary Duff, Bon Jovi pumps up the hooks and the guitars on tracks like the sneering title tune, whose defiant spirit echoes past hits like "It's My Life." The New Jersey-bred rockers also stay true to their working-class sensibilities on cuts such as the catchy chugger "Who Says You Can't Go Home" and the trademark power ballad "Welcome to Wherever You Are." However, they succumb to their cheesier instincts on the bombastic "Bells of Freedom," which rings decidedly hollow.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Who Says You Can't Go Home"


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