3 decades of rock, in convenient bite-sized pieces


#39 - Love Lies

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Bon Jovi
Other Versions: None
Era: early 80s "synth rock"


The thing about Bon Jovi is they've always been cheesy, but very serious cheese. They take themselves very seriously, and a lot of the time I'm pretty sure they're unaware of the high cheese factor.

This song is the perfect summation of that serious cheese. The keyboard intro is thumpy and very straightforward piano-y, none of the synthesizer they use a lot in the first two albums. It sets the mood of this song - it's hardish and serious.

The bass does the bunk bunka bunk bunka bunk bunk bunk thing that shows up nowadays in "Unbreakable", and just like in "Unbreakable" it's subtle, but without it the song would be very different. Alec was a crazy talented bassist, I think I will always prefer him over Hugh "overwhelming stage presence" McDonald. And I don't think Jon made any corny jokes with Alec's name like he does with "Huge McDonald", so there's a big plus.

But I digress. The drumming in "Lies" is very simple, but it works. Unlike in some other early songs where the beat is so steady the song actually feels confined, this has a little breathing room without sacrificing the steady poundy rhythm that, along with the bass, gives this song an extremely intense feel. This could be a much more upbeat song without ruining the lyrics, but the bass and drum bring it into this whole other place and keep it from being just a piece of fluffy pop.

This is a very piano-heavy song (David co-wrote it, that's probably why). In rock, the focus is on the guitar - always has been, always will be. But here the keyboard makes itself heard, you really can't ignore it. I love it when they do that - it gives songs a bit less of a genero-rock feel. Also, anything that reminds the rest of the world that David exists is a good thing.

The lyrics to this - eh, what can I say? Same story as all the songs on the first two. They're not epic poetry, but they're cute and catchy and fun to sing. And sometimes they don't make sense. But that's okay, because they're fun. Sometimes that's all music needs to be - something fun and catchy and singable, with a good beat and some pretty piano playing. Maybe my standards are too low.

Maybe everyone else's are too high.

My Rating: 8/10

I've got a recommendation for y'all: Check out SR-71's song "Axl Rose", it's a really good catchy little song about being stuck in the 80s (Bowling for Soup's "1985" with a chorus that's about ten times as awesome - actually, "1985" is originally an SR-71 song)

the cd it's on is out of print, you can check out the song here

Bon Jovi get a mention - for Wanted, not Prayer, even. Now there's the way to my heart

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#38 - The Answer

Artist: Richie Sambora
Album: Stranger in This Town
Other Versions: None
Era: N/A, Richie's work doesn't really have distinctive eras


This is a completely different approach. For a class, I had to analyze a song, and I chose "The Answer" because its depth and spiritual ties have always fascinated me. So instead of the usual analysis, here is a strictly lyrical, in-depth analysis of the meaning of the song as a piece of writing.

The Answer is about the search for religion throughout a lifetime, beginning with a child's questioning and inherent fear of the unknown, and culminating with an adult acceptance of religion and what that acceptance can bring to life.

Sambora uses language very effectively to hint that this song is not just about searching and questioning in general, but as it applies to religion specifically. Terms like "angels", "spirits", "devils", and the use of "heavens" in the second line of the couplet following the first stanza all add a religious atmosphere to the work. More subtle implications are also present - the angels in the first stanza are riding "fiery chargers through the clouds", in what is most likely a reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the Bible's book of Revelations.

Not every religious reference in the poem is a Christian reference. In the fourth stanza, the author mentions "a guide up in the sky". The idea of spirit guides is a common Native American religious belief. The mention of "pass[ing] from world to world / So you never really die" references those Eastern religions that believe in reincarnation. The use of a broad range of religious beliefs in his writing demonstrates a searching throughout the whole of religion, not just the Christianity which is most common in the present-day United States.

The turning point in the poem is the fifth stanza. Sambora describes an encounter with death, complete with stereotypical "scythe and cloak". Whether he alludes to a near-death experience or a dream is left up to the reader. Regardless, the encounter leaves him confused - "he leaves you one more riddle". This confusion leads him to the realization that his faith has to be blind in order to exist. There are no answers on Earth for the questions he has, so he now has the choice to either keep questioning "in vain" or to turn to the childlike blind faith his view of religion requires.

Sambora never clearly states what his decision is, but continues to subtly show what is going on as he has the whole poem. In the next stanza, he writes "Come along with me, come along with me/Seek the truth, and you shall find another life". That choice of words shows that he is accepting Christianity. The "come along with me" alludes to Jesus' call to the fishermen James and John to join him and be his disciples, and "another life" refers to the idea that when you accept God the door is opened to eternal life. His use of language shows that he has chosen to accept Christianity, without him stating that outright.

The final two stanzas are the result of his decision to accept God. His life is "growing stronger every day", and he "feel[s] the joy that life can bring". Clearly Sambora feels his decision to accept Christianity, rather than continuing to question for the rest of his life, was the right one. The final four lines reinforce the feeling that he is happy with his decision. The repetition of "Come along with me", which as I stated before refers to Christ's call to the fishermen, with "you shall not find another lie", implying he feels he has found real truth in his religion, show this.

This is an interesting work because it is religious but not overly so. The casual listener/reader would pick up that it is a spiritual poem, but the references to Christianity are so subtle that it takes some concentrating to pick up on. As a songwriting tactic that not only shows great talent for using language in a subtle way, but a good knowledge of how to make a song appeal to a much broader audience. Sambora is one of my favorite songwriters, mostly because of this ability to say what he feels without being too pushy in his beliefs.

My Rating: 9/10

At some point, I will likely do a more normal entry about this song, although maybe not because I feel this one can stand on its own as a lyrical work, not much has to be said about the instrumentalism or this as a piece of music once the lyrics have been covered.

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#37 - Every Word Was a Piece of My Heart

Artist: Jon Bon Jovi
Album: Destination Anywhere
Other Versions: None
Era: Jon's pretentiousish phase


Destination Anywhere is, for me, about a 3/5 * album. There's some terribly mundane crap, there's some moderate-to-good stuff, and then there's one or two good tracks. It's too bad this album disappoints me so much, because I love Blaze of Glory, and I was expecting more of the same quality.

But I like this song. It's got Jon doing his mid-tone husky, almost-but-not-quite bored voice, but this time instead of that voice contending with boring instrumentation, it's got a cool shaker-y beat and a tempo that actually kicks it up a bit.

I really really like the lyrics to this one. That's what has me sold on the song. "These love letters mix with whiskey / just don't light a match when you kiss me" is a line I adore. Someone just has to mention matches or whiskey or lighters for this to pop in my head and the whole song to get stuck in there. It's good writing, plain and simple.

"You've been the blood in my veins / the only one who knows my middle name / and the smiles they came easy 'cause of you

You know I love you / but I hate you / 'cause I know I could never escape you / so let the choir sing, for tonight I'm an easy mark"
Those lines turn this into one of the most interesting views on love I've heard. it's such a realitic, stream-of-consciousness kind of thought process. Melancholy, but he really does love her. The whole point of the song - everything I said, I meant it and felt it - is undermined and enhanced at the same time by the melancholiness of the delivery and word choice. Jon is an excellent songwriter, and this is a prime example.

My Rating: 8/10

(Anyone else catch the Soul game today? Gonna be a good season!)

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#36 - Neurotica

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Crush (Bonus Track)
Other Versions: None
Era: early 00s "hard pop"


I usually wouldn't do two songs from the same era right next to each other, but I listened to this earlier and can't get it out of my head, so why fight it? Plus, it's proof that I'm not entirely negative when it comes to the Crush/Bounce era.

Right from the intro you know you're in for something good. It doesn't do the slow build I usually prefer, all the instruments are there at once, but it's crunchy and poundy and you just know you're going to be feeling this one.

Jon's voice in this song is excellent for the song. It's a bit nasal, but it's husky and fits right in with the crunching pounding sexiness of this song. This is a sexy sexy song, and Jon matches his voice perfectly to that tone set by the instruments. Without the vocals, this is a song you can fuck to - with them, it's about four and a half minutes of straight-on sex.

I like the lyrics to this one, although really they're secondary to the instrumentation and the vocal tone. The verses are short and choppy, but Jon drags out words for this contradiction that really works. The girl this song describes is hot, smoking, just amazingly fuckable, and you get that without a single word telling you what she actually looks like. Excellent writing.

"Neurotica" is pure lust in a nice little package. The beat throbs and the guitar is dirty and the vocals are just begging for sex. I can't even listen to this without dancing. If I were a stripper, I'd strip to this. It's just sex and lust and fucking in song form and it's good sex and lust and fucking. Amazing, amazing song. Shame it's just a bonus track.

My Rating: 9/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#35 - Misunderstood

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Bounce
Other Versions: Acoustic version played TLFR Live DVD and at the Yokohama 2003 Unplugged Show
Era: early 00s "hard pop"


This is okay. Nothing spectacular, but there's much worse on Bounce.

I don't like the almost total lack of instrumental intro. My favorite BJ songs are when they build up into the vocals, it starts up this logical chain of getting bigger and bigger that leads you right into the chorus. This doesn't have this, it's an extremely quick BANG BANG of instruments-vocals.

Jon's Bounce-era voice wasn't that great. It got very nasal - before HAND I chalked it up to his age, now I assume it's because he was smoking at the time and supposedly he's quit now. Either way, on this cd it got on my nerves more often than not, which is a shame. It doesn't help that the use of backing vocals on Bounce was very weak, and this one's not any different. I don't really know why there's less in the way of really good backing from the guys, because that had always added a lot to BJ songs, and it's a big part of what's missing from Destination Anywhere.

Lyrically, this is pretty weak. It's a lot of really obvious rhyming, simplistic to the point of seeming kind of stupid. That would be ok if the rest of the song, the tune and instrumentation, were strong enough to carry it, but they're not. That's what comes to my mind when I hear this song - weak. It's just not a strong composition. It's pure filler, completely forgettable.

Good points (see, I'm not totally negative)
1. I like the long "I" in the choruses
2. The drumming, which is a pretty consistent strong point with BJ, but here it's actually the only aspect of the song I don't find dull
3. I like the video
4. The phrase "stumbled like my words" is excellent and should have a place in a much stronger work

My Rating: 4/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics
Edited 3/26/06: Added video

"exciting" site-related stuff

Just want to mention a couple little things

I added Just Jovi to the links section

I've added a link button down on the sidebar. If you've got a site and want to link me, it's there for you to use. And let me know if you link me, I'll be glad to return the favor. Don't feel bound to that, either - I was just fiddling around in Photoshop. Feel free to use your own button, or let me know if you want that one messed about with to match your color scheme. I'll probably add more over the weekend, as I get bored and fiddle around more.

I made a big link banner, it's not down there because it's too big, it'll mess with the look of the sidebar.

Click here if you want to look at it/use it. Same deal as before, I'm willing to mess around with it to suit you.

I'm thinking of adding some of those google keyword-related ads to the page, but at the very least I'm going to hold off on that a bit. My own list of links is more relevant than the stuff I've seen google come up with on other BJ sites. If you've got some vicious objection to the idea of me adding ads, or if you think it's a good idea, or whatever, let me know!


#34 - Little Bit of Soul

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Keep the Faith
Other Versions: None
Era: 90s "moody rock"


I love love love the beat of this song. I like how it starts out with just that drum beat, and kind of slowly builds with the guitar, then organ, then in with the vocals, then it all picks up as the verse goes on. Another example of some really excellent drumming - the beat is consistent, but it doesn't feel rigid, it feels like the song can kind of break out and go other places. And it makes me dance.

The whole tone of the song works really really well. It might be one of the best jobs they've done making everything just work together and fit really nicely, without being formulaic.

I think the lack of generic-ness comes from the way Jon sings this one. It sounds a lot like he is just going off the top of his head - there's a spontaneity there that adds a lot of life. It's the mix of spontaneity and the consistent pounding drumbeat that makes this something unique.

I love it when they put the kind of revivalist church organ - that high-pitched kind of fluttery organ - in songs. It's a fun sound but it also adds a lot of weight to the song because of the kind of churchiness of it. It's like taking some meaningless fluff music and managing to slap some meaning on it without losing the fluffiness. That's hard, but David's piano work in this song does it really really well.

The lyrics to this are good - it's that "optimism" thing they do, plus a "power of music" thing. And I love when Jon says "here we go", which usually indicates something crazy huge is about to happen, and then instead of the song getting jacked up a couple notches, he just tightens up the rhymes and sings a bit faster. It makes you pay a little more attention. And Jon's voice is superb.

This is a song I would love to see live that I doubt I ever will. It's got a good enough tempo to get the place going, without being too much. It'd fit in well between a couple of fast hard rockers.

My Rating: 9/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics

sorry, folks

sorry about no update yesterday, I didn't have time until late, when Blogger was down for maintenance

there will be at least one update today, I might go for two to make up for yesterday

two quick shout-outs/plugs I need to do:
Jemma = amazing. Totally amazing.

Check out Just Jovi at some point. It's an excellent reference, I use it whenever I can't remember what album a song came off (happens a lot, I mix up songs from SWW and NJ all the time), and she's got a really good lyrics section


#33 - Born to Be My Baby

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: New Jersey, This Left Feels Right
Other Versions: Acoustic (Yokohama 2003 Unplugged show)
Era: Late 80s "hair metal"

Lyrics (TLFR)

This was my favorite Bon Jovi song for a long time before I even heard Bon Jovi sing it.

I swear that makes sense. A little while after I got the box set, when I was in one of my crazy hardcore obsessive periods (my Bon Jovi thing is cyclical, I have different stages of fandom/obsessiveness), I picked up Covered Dead or Alive: A Tribute to Bon Jovi because it was a lot cheaper than any of the actual Bon Jovi cds. Most of the songs on there are fairly mediocre, but BTBMB really stood out.

I wasn't disappointed at all with the real version. This is one of the most fun songs in the history of time. I am totally not exaggerating. Try to not at least bounce along in your seat with the "na na na na / na na na / na na na na" part. I don't think there's any better song for when you're alone in the house and want to turn something way up and just belt it out..

This is one of my favorite BJ videos. They're all so freaking adorable in it. This video is the only time I will drool over someone in a Yankees hat, and that's probably only because at no point does it actually show the NY symbol. Freaking Yankees stole my Johnny Damon.

The acoustic version doesn't lose any of the fun bounciness of the original. If anything, it's actually more fun than the original. I think they play it a little faster unplugged. Ify ou can get your hands on it, give it a listen.

The TLFR version I can take or leave. I'm not like a lot of people, I don't mind TLFR at all. It was kind of a pointless venture, and I don't like that "Wanted" at all, but some of them turned out pretty good. I think it would have been a cooler idea to go back and redo some of their early stuff they don't like, see if they can tweak it to a point they like it now. I love TLFR "It's My Life". This one, it's ok. It's not better than the original, and it's a bit overblown, but it's not bad.

My Rating: 8/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics and video


#32 - Unbreakable

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Have A Nice Day (Bonus Track)
Other Versions: None
Era: Current "power pop rock"


I remember reading David has a writing credit for this, but it hasn't been confirmed for me so I can't say for sure. It wouldn't surprise me, though. Throughout BJ history the songs David has contributed to have been fun and cheesy, and this certainly fits the bill.

This song makes me laugh, although I bet that's not the desired result. Lyrically, it might be the corniest song they've written since the first two albums. That's not a knock, remember I love corny. They wrote some cheesy stuff for Bounce and Crush, but nothing on those hit 'so bad it's good' levels of cheese. And These Days and KTF were almost completely devoid of cheese.

This is an ass-kicking song. A Bon Jovi ass-kicking song. The premise just entertains me so much. The chorus has cheesy rhyming, and probably my favorite cheesy lyric of all time is "News flash: I'm causing a commotion / Jump back - I'm poetry in motion / Think fast / Talk trash / Well I ain't talking back but I'm calling you out". So laughable, but so good.

The instrumentation in this song is just awesome. Crunchy and poundy and just delicious. I love the "bunk bunka bunk bunka bunka bunk bunk" in the background, and the guitar just makes me want to go "WHOO YEAH I AM SO BAD-ASS". Works well with the tone of the song. And the drumming...sweet Lord, the drumming in this one is amazing. Tico has always kind of looked like some kind of hardcore mafia bad-ass, and that totally comes across in the drumming for this song. Tico could kick your ass, don't even doubt it.

This is really fun to sing along to, the cheesiness factor always ups a sing-along. Sing it around your friends, do some corny "bring it" hand motions, instant party. It is impossible not to have fun when listening to this one. Watch out, though - the chorus goes "Unbreakable...unstoppable...I'm invincible". The two "un"s tend to make me say "uninvincible" which is not only not a word, but if it were a word it would mean exactly the opposite of what they want to say.

This might be my favorite song on HAND, definitely my favorite of the bonuses. I dare you to listen to this and
1. be in a bad mood
2. not get all fake-egotistic and want to challenge the world to a fight

My Rating: 10/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


omg milestone

So, folks, I've done a month's worth of entries. Actually, with "Welcome to Wherever You Are" I covered February, with "Stick to Your Guns" I took care of February in a Leap Year, "Temptation" took care of the shorter months, and now "The Hardest Part Is the Night" means for any given month, you could read about a different Bon Jovi song every day.

Thanks for reading so far! This was just a little experiment to see if something like this (I've had the idea for a BJ-focused blog for quite a while now) would work for me, and I'd say it has. It was just something to kill time at first, but as it's gone I've found myself devoting a pretty significant amount of time each day thinking about what song I'll do that day and why.

I'm so glad this is working out. I have another 262 songs to go, so I hope you'll stick with me.

The following is a list of all the confirmed Bon Jovi recordings and covers I currently don't have. If you have copies of these, or know where I can find them, please let me know. I'd love t get this up to a full 365 songs. You might see some of these popping up, there's some I've heard or know where I can listen to them that I don't actually have in my collection.

We All Sleep Alone (I have the Cher version, I know there's a Richie one somewhere)
Bobby's Girl
Don't Do That To Me Anymore
Heartbreak Eyes
This Woman Is Dangerous
Gimme Some Lovin Charlene
Maybe Tomorrow
Don’t Leave Me Tonight (alternate lyrics)
Bobby’s Girl (alternate lyrics)
What You Want (alternate lyrics)
When She Comes
The End
Wedding Day
Love Is War
Sad Song Night
Backdoor To Heaven
Deep Cuts The Night
Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore
Growin' Up The Hard Way
Lonely Is The Night
Now And Forever
Judgement Day
Love Hurts
Stand Up
Walk Don't Run
The Promise
Game of the Heart
Love Is War
Let's Make It Baby
Take Me Home / (Take Me All)
Never Enough / (Too Much Too Soon)
Heart of America
There Is No Answer / (Love on the Wrong Side)
Never Enough / (Too Much Too Soon)
Cadillac Man
House of Fire
The Sole Truth
Life’s Too Short For Days Like These
American Dream
Better Think Twice
Social Disease (Alternate lyrics)
Pessimistic Man
Is There Love
The Ballad Of Alice Cooper
Maybelline / (Forever Mine)
Broken Promises / (Only Lies)
Good Ain’t Good Enough
Living in Sin (Additional Lyrics)
You Can't Lose At Love
I Don't Want To Live Forever
Ain't No Cure for Love
Welcome To the Good Times
Another Reason To Believe
We Can Dance
Funky Santa
Waltzing Matilda
All Right Now
Baby What You Want Me To Do
Back In the USSR
Bang Bang
Because The Night
Bring It On Home
Brown Sugar
Drift Away
Feeling Like Making Love
Foxy Lady
Free Bird
Give Peace A Chance
Glory Days
Goin' Back
Good Golly Miss Molly
Good Lovin' (Doctor, Doctor)
Helter Skelter
Treat Her Right ( Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey)
Honky Tonk Women
I Don't Want To Go Home
I Need Love
I Shall be Released
It's All Over Now
It's Only Rock'N Roll
I've Been Working Too Hard
Johnny B. Good
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Just Like A Woman
Let It Bleed
Like A Rolling Stone
Little Drummer Boy
Midnight Rider
Not Fade Away
Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Piece Of My Heart
Pretty Woman
Rockin' All Over The World
Seven Days
Smokin' In the Boys Room
Summertime Blues
Sympathy For The Devil
That's All Right, Mama
Train Kept A-Rollin'
Walk Away Renee
Walking The Dog
Walk This Way
We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
We're An American Band
We Will Rock You
What A Wonderful World
You Keep Me Hangin' On
Jersey Girl
Try A Little Tenderness
Heartbreak Hotel
I'm Down
Brother Louie
Hey Jude
Hearts of Stone
You Belong To Me
The Fever
If Lovin' You Is Wrong (I Don'T Want To Be Right)
So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star
It's Only Make Believe
Havin' A Party
I Should Have Known Better
(You've Got To) Hide Your Love Away
I Don't Want to Fade Away
I Shot the Sheriff
America the Beautiful
Celluloid Heroes
Sylvia's Mother
Treat Her Right

Thanks again, and enjoy!

#31 - The Hardest Part Is the Night

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: 7800 Fahrenheit
Other Versions: None
Era: early 80s "synth rock"


I love Bon Jovi's early stuff, mostly because I have a soft spot in my heart for uber-cheese ("aural Velveeta", as one website describes it). It bothers me that BJ tend to bash their first two albums - I even read one article where David laughed at the idea of playing any of the songs from the early days - although I can kind of see where they come from. I think in their minds, embracing the cheesiness and over-the-top-ness and the synthesizers is going to somehow cheapen the more serious music they've made. I think they're wrong, but oh well.

7800 is the weaker of the first two, but there's some real gems on there. This is one of them (the others being "The Price of Love", "Silent Night", and "Secret Dreams" - I like "Only Lonely" too, but mostly because it has the cheesiest video in the history of time). Right from the opening, where the guitar just crunches in, you know you're in for something good.

The lyrics aren't bad, especially not when compared to some of the other writing on this album and the first one. It shows signs of Jon's desire to be social and important, without going too far down that road and getting ridiculous like "Tokyo Road".

One downside to this is the drumming is very rigid. Maybe this is before they were comfortable enough as a band to let Tico just go bananas and up the level of the whole song the way he does in later songs ("Sleep When I'm Dead"). It sets the tone well, but overall it just kind of feels like the song is trapped within walls or something and there's no room for anything truly spectacular. I've been learning recently (mostly thanks to doing this song a day thing, I'm listening to songs a bit differently) how much drumming really impacts a song. This is a good example of that impact being a negative. It makes everything confined.

This is a really good song to work out to. If you're a gym person, slip it in with other stuff you work out too. The rigid drumming is a negative when you just wanna listen and rock out a bit, but it sets a good steady pace for exercise.

This is cheesy, but cheesy isn't necessarily bad. And as far as cheese goes, there's a lot worse to be found in the Bon Jovi catalogue. Because of its place as a non-single on the second, and probably least-loved cd, it's sadly overlooked and underrated. This would, honestly, fit in well with some of their more recent stuff - if they fix the drumming.

My Rating: 7/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics and video


#30 - Temptation

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong (Disc 4)
Other Versions: Demo version was a B-Side for "It's My Life"
Era: Written for Crush


My computer doesn't want me to write this one, Firefox has crashed three times, and I haven't gotten farther than the era any time.

This is a song that I forget how much I love when I haven't listened to it for a while. I know I like it, and I know I fit it in with "Diamond Ring" as a "Bon Jovi song I love even though it doesn't sound like a Bon Jovi song", but I have to listen to it to really make myself realize how good it is.

For once, the guitar takes a backseat. Maybe that's why I like it - I've said before and I'll probably say it many times again that I'm not a big guitar person. I like the piano much more - whether that's because of my love for David or it's the other way around, I can't say. This song is almost exclusively organ and drums, with the guitar serving as an enhancement for those rather than the sole focus. It's an excellent enhancement, too.

This is such an ominous song. For a band who has always had such an undying optimism, and who have sung about lust and love often with a very glib, tongue-in-cheek view, it comes completely out of left field. There's no optimism here - he is actually dreading the prospect of sex with this particular woman. I assume this is about cheating, unless I'm overlooking some other scenario where getting seduced is such a dark thing. Plus I'm taking into consideration Jon's opinion on extramarital affairs ("The way I see it is we're only married within state lines. There's 49 other states, we can have 49 other relationships"), and his tendency to write songs that are close to home.

His voice is so low in this song, it's gorgeous. It blends so well with the organ to give the whole thing a very heavy feel, and the beat just pounds along, driving every line home. This song is good proof of the real extent of BJ's abilities. To be able to do an ominous dark song just as well as they do a rocking anthem or a powerful love song is extremely impressive.

Extra points for being really fun to sing.

My Rating: 9/10

Some friendly advice: Someday, try listening to "Love for Sale" with a hangover. It fits nicely. Also, for the love of God, pay attention to the cultural trappings of drink names. "Kamikaze" does not imply super-happy-fun-wuss drink ;)

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#29 - Stick to Your Guns

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: New Jersey
Other Versions: None
Era: late 80s "hair metal"


Jon has a motherfucking set of pipes on him. Boy can belt shit hardcore.

This is one of the best examples of how powerful Jon's voice was at its peak. It says a lot about where he started from that his voice has deteriorated pretty significantly and he can still belt it out better than guys half his age.

I like this song as a song, but what always really stands out for me is just how intense his voice is. Even during the verses, which are more subdued, it's just amazing.

Another cowboy song (take a drink) - if you're keeping track, this is the last one chronologically. Well, the last one before the Blaze of Glory album, but that doesn't count. Or something.

I like the guitar work in this song. It's simplistic but powerful, especially the acoustic parts. And the keyboard is very subtle - mostly just a sweeping synth pad that kind of drifts around and intensifies the whole thing, and then the actual keyboard makes itself known during the chorus. The drum work is excellent, as usual - I'd probably rate Tico as the finest rock drummer of his generation, if not a more extensive period of time (eat it, Tommy Lee). In this song it's understated, not detracting from or taking the focus off of anything, but still keeping the mood of the song (you want evidence of what Tico can really do, listen to "Sleep When I'm Dead" and "Last Cigarette" - all I ever pay attention to in those songs is the drumming). The only thing I'm not a huge fan of is the guitar solo. It almost feels forced, like someone said "well this is a cowboy epic, should we maybe throw a guitar solo in here? You know, just 'cause."

Lyrically, it's cheesy, but what else do you expect from a hair metal cowboy song? Cheese is par for the course, and no one does it better than Bon Jovi.

My Rating: 8/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#28 - Welcome to Wherever You Are

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Have A Nice Day
Other Versions: None
Era: current "power pop rock"


I know I just did a HAND song a couple entries ago, and I usually try to mix up albums and eras more than that, but I need to write about this today for reasons I'll go into in a minute. Early entry today, partially to make up for it being so late last night and partially for the same reason I have to do this today.

Bear with me, this is going to seem random and pointless at first but there's a point, I swear.

I'm currently in college at a university that isn't particularly good for a major I don't really want to have a career in (Johnson & Wales, Computer Graphics, respectively). There's a lot of reasons for that, the main one being I made a lot of mistakes my first twoish years of high school and didn't recover enough to get in where I really wanted to go. I had to settle for where would take me, and that's good ol' JWU, which doesn't have the major I really want (film - being an actor/writer/director is my dream). I tell it to people in a way that pretty much denies I ever made the mistakes I did - I say "well, film's so competitive I wanted a more sensible degree to fall back on". Practical, but a complete lie.

So I'm in my second trimester of uni, heading full-steam down a road I don't want to go down. Needless to say, I'm not particularly happy with the whole situation, but I deal with it and play it off.

The first time I heard "Welcome" I broke down crying. It was less than a month into my first tri, four thirty in the morning (I'd stayed up to download a bootlegged Japanese version of the cd because I just couldn't wait for the actual disc to hit stores). Sitting there with my headphones on, trying to be quiet so as not to wake my roommates, I just sobbed. It was "I know sometimes it's hard for you to see/you're caught between just who you are/and who you wanna be" that did it to me, because, well, yes. That's it exactly.

Listening to it subsequent times, when I was less emotional, when school seemed less pointless and less like it was damning me to a life I don't necessarily want, the song didn't have nearly as much impact. It's a nice song, and I'm thrilled that the intensity has returned to the Bon Jovi ballad, but it's hard to see past the cliches when you're not feeling them.

This tri has put me squarely back in my rut. My classes are tedious, my life is fairly boring, and I spend a lot of time contemplating the hows and whys of my current situation. I won't lie, I've been pretty depressed for a couple weeks. Things aren't that great.

And as I walked out of my dorm to go get on the bus to go to my least favorite class, "Welcome" came on. Today it is gorgeous and sunny, cold but not in the harsh "you will never be warm again" way, it's refreshing today. And all that and the song just hit me again the way it did the first time. I kept my composure this time, but honestly all I wanted to do was fling out my arms and sing along and just cry it out. It was an absolutely sublime experience, and I wanted to do this song today so I could write about it before I lost the feeling.

This is a song I get, and it gets me. Yes, it's full of cliches, as a power ballad it's a cliche in itself. But cliches are cliches because they're universal, because everyone knows how that feels. So it's hard to fault this for being cliche when the cliches hit so hard.

My friend, the amazing Jonsgurl over at the One Wild Night board, has said she feels this is the perfect song. I didn't get why at first - now I see where she's coming from. Sublime musical experiences are rare.

My Rating: 9.5/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#27 - Mister Big Time

Artist: Jon Bon Jovi (please correct me if I'm wrong, I've seen it listed some places as "Bon Jovi" and some places as "Jon Bon Jovi")
Album: Armageddon Soundtrack
Other Versions: None
Era: uh, whatever year Armageddon was made...late 90s?


Yeah, it's late today. Blame Lost (also, blame Lost for my enraged yelling fit earlier, and the heart attack I think I'm having as we speak...well, I type, you read).

This is a fairly generic heavier pop rock song. I like it, but I don't love it. It might grow on me - I only heard it for the first time about a week ago, so it hasn't had much of a chance, especially compared to the two years I've had the box set and the yearish I've had the rest of the albums.

There's crunchy guitar and a nice poundy beat, and there's also some awesome "weedly weedly weedly weeee" kind of higher electric guitar. It goes well with the kind of "kiss my ass, man I rule" tone of the song.

I like Jon's voice in this one. It's the lower end of middle for him, and then he raises it up for the "na na na na na na na na na na na na naaaa" parts so they stand out a bit.

It's too repetitive for me to really love. It has the same problem that "I'll Be There For You" has in some parts - to rhyme, he just repeats words. With "you" it's not as noticeable, but the "time...time....time" thing kind of grates on me after a while.

It's generic, but well done in that regard. It's kind of hard, but not too hard for the average listener. It's kind of cute, but edgy. It's a fairly middle-of-the-road song for me.

My Rating: 5/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#26 - Lonely At The Top

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong (Disc 3)
Other Versions: None
Era: 90s "moody rock"


I'm not a huge Kurt Cobain fan. I can take or leave most of Nirvana's music, and I bear a pretty big grudge about the whole "ending hair metal" thing. But even coming into this knowing it was a tribute to Kurt and not feeling anything one way or the other about his suicide specifically (there's the generic sadness that always comes with a death in my mind, but no real reasn for intense grief or anything), this is a heartbreaking song.

There's another testimony to the songwriting talent Jon and Richie possess, and another point in my argument that BJ have a lot of control over how you feel when you're listening to them. This song just makes me sad, makes me cry, makes me want to bemoan the sadness and futility of life for a while.

There's harmonizing here, the Jon/Richie interplay I love so much, but it's downplayed. It's certainly there, but just enough to enhance Jon's voice, which is strongly the focal point of the song. It's not intense in the epic, sweeping tradition of the power ballad, but it is intensely emotional. Jon feels this one.

Points for keeping this under wraps so as not to look like they were capitalizing on Kurt's death. They could have had a huge seller with this one at the right time, but they kept it on the shelf. Extremely tactful move.

As a song without any pop culture ties, it's good. Add the pop culture tie-in, which doesn't really change my thinking much based on my lack of feelings about Cobain, and it could probably considered an excellent song.

My Rating: 7/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#25 - I Want to Be Loved

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Have A Nice Day
Other Versions: There's a version of the first verse/chorus with slightly different lyrics - not hugely different, but it is different.
Era: current "power pop rock"


I am a sucker for the talkbox. Another one of those inexplicable "I just like it" kind of things. It's a quick way for a song I don't like to earn some brownie points.

I don't particularly like this song. I don't necessarily dislike it, I just can't really get into it. The lyrics are a bit teeny-bopper - it sounds like something Avril Lavigne would write. Do people still listen to her? Musically I've kind of regressed into the 80s, I have no idea what most teenagers listen to. I'll stick with the Avril comment.

But I digress. The point is, Bon Jovi's albums as whole works, and usually the songs individually, have always represented really well where they are as people. The first two sound like music a group of young 20-somethings would make in '84/'85, SWW and NJ are a bit more mature, KTF and These Days are very 30-something "innocence is gone/life is different" music, and their 2000s stuff is very "older wiser looking back" kind of music. So such a teenager theme - "I hate my parents/My parents are awful" - just seems out of place.

Not that I doubt the sincerity of the lyrics, although I know that's what it sounds like. I refuse to claim I know what the guys were feeling when they wrote any song, because I'm not them. What I will say is if there's anything on this album that smells a bit of a strong desire for commercial success and high album sales rather than artistic vision, this and Complicated are it. But that's only if.

All that said - it has talkbox. Talkbox used very well. It's a fun sing-along song, and I bet it's a fun driving song. Musically it's average, lyrically it's a bit below, but remember how I said talkbox = points?

My Rating: 6/10 (without talkbox, we're looking at a 4.5...at least I'm honest about my standards)

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


I'm apparently not above shameless begging

Just a quick note to however many of you read this:

I'm currently trying to save up to see Bon Jovi when they're at Mohegan Sun on February 1st. I got to see them for the first time in December, got to touch Jon (nice even if I would have preferred David, haha), and it was one of the best nights of my life.

Scroll down a bit - see that PayPal donation link there? Anything I get through PayPal will go to the Mohegan Sun fund. Don't by any means go out of your way, but if you happen to have a spare couple bucks, every little bit helps. If I do get to go, I promise a full, detailed review for you folks.

Thanks for reading, and for bearing with me asking for money. This won't happen often - this baby's here to entertain people and help them get more familiar with BJ's work, not to make me money.

#24 - Two Story Town

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Crush
Other Versions: None
Era: early 00's "hard pop"


I like this song for a couple very simple reasons.

1. I know how he feels in this song more than probably any song they've ever sung. I'm from a really small town where there's not a lot to do, and I never bothered to get a driver's license so my options were even more limited. At the moment I live in Providence, where there's plenty to do, but I'm doing the whole broke-college-student thing, so I can't afford to do any of it. This is a song about boredom and confinement to a high degree, and I know those feelings well. The whole vibe of "Two Story Town" is suffocating, and it ties in so well with a life where you're not going anywhere beyond your house. "Seven days of Monday morning" - nothing to look forward to but dullness and not getting back to bed where you really want to be. It just fits. Every now and then you come across a song that is how you feel and where you are, and this is it for me right now.

2. "There's a girl that I sleep with / got ecstasy eyes". I can't explain the appeal this line has for me, but it's there. I love it. I wish I could explain it, because that would mean I know it. I can't, and don't, but it's by far my favorite line in the song and it's way up there with my all-time favorite BJ lyrics.

Musically, this is a pretty average song. Nothing stellar, nothing bad, wholly average. Really catchy, nicely upbeat. It matches the theme well for some reason, although I can't really explain why catchy upbeat-ness fits with dull "I'm dying of bored confinement"-ness, but it does. Chalk it up to Bon Jovi magic.

Right now I love this song, at a different point in my life I'd probably be fairly indifferent to it. It's the mood that gets me, because it matches me well. If it didn't, who knows?

My Rating: 7/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#23 - My Guitar Lies Bleeding in My Arms

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: These Days
Other Versions: None
Era: 90s "moody rock"


I think, although I haven't checked for sure, I've done more 90s songs than any other era yet. Even choosing arbitrarily like I do, my favorite era's obvious!

So you know that band with the big hair and the lavendar spandex, who sing about girls with bright red nails on their fingertips, who pumped their songs full of synth keyboards, who were the masters of fluff rock with no real substance?

This band kicks their ass. Just hardcore knock-down drag-out ass-kicking happening here.

When I first listened to this song - well, the whole album had the same effect, but this song in particular - I was absolutely blown away. This was right after I'd gotten the whole discography from SWW onward, and I was listening to it chronologically. Hard to believe the SWW/NJ band was the same as the band playing and singing this song.

It starts out low, deep, and quiet, with some really gorgeous lyrics. "Misery likes company / I like the way that sounds / Been tryin' to find the meaning / So I can write it down." A song about songwriting - not just about writing, but about writer's block - I love that idea.

I'll point out the lyrics to this song are probably my favorite Bon Jovi lyrics. It's all this gorgeous imagery and emotion and it's dark and powerful and just so good. "Looking at the window / It's such a long way down / I'd like to jump but I'm afraid to hit the ground".

I love stream-of-consciousness writing, whether it's poetry or prose or lyrics or whatever. It makes you feel like you're really there with the writer while it's happening, thus intensifying the emotion. BJ have always done an excellent job of making you feel what they're feeling - adding the stream-of-consciousness to make it even more intense is just sublime (second time in a row I've used "sublime" in an entry...take a drink).

The tone of the song, the instrumentation, adds so much to the lyrics. That's what the instrumentation should do in the best of songs - match and enhance the vocals and the emotion and make the whole experience even more. That's what it does here - it matches the way Jon's vocie stays low and quiet and deep the first two stanzas, then just sweeps you up in one of the most powerful choruses they've ever done, carries you along through the second verse (where you "get so numb sometimes I just feel the pain") and then drops you right back down to where Jon is planning to "smoke my last cigarette / Well, I'll turn out the light" and give up for now.

That chorus...wow. "I can't write a love song / The way I feel today / I can't sing no songs of hope / There's no one left to save / I can't fight these feelings / Burning in my veins / I send this song to you whoever you are / As my guitar lies bleeding in my arms". It changes a bit every time, there's a good chance the way I wrote it doesn't actually appear in the song and I just happened to piece together all my favorite parts. It's so powerful, completely takes you by surprise after the mellow, deep verses. And yet it stays dark and keeps the mood of the song.

This is some of the best writing done by Bon Jovi ever, and it's one of my absolute favorites. It's this gorgeous musical epic that manages to take you somewhere and yet leave you right where you started. I can't gush enough about how good this song is.

My Rating: 10/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#22 - Memphis Lives in Me

Artist: David Bryan
Album: 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong (Disc 3)
Other Versions: It's from the musical 'Memphis', so it's also sung by whoever's in that. That one guy.
Era: N/A (like with Richie, David's stuff doesn't really have distinctive eras)


100,000,000 was the first Bon Jovi cd I ever bought, back when I only knew the names of Jon and Richie, when I thought that "Just Older" was one of Jon's solo songs, when I kept getting confused as to why in some pictures there were five guys but as their hair got shorter they lost a guy. This was my initiation into Bon Jovi, and this song was my first glimpse of what David Bryan could really do. I've never looked back from either one.

David is extremely underrated as a songwriter, pianist, and singer. For my money, he's at least as good with his keyboard as Richie is with his guitar. It's just rock keyboardists by nature aren't really paid much attention to. To be honest, I probably couldn't name you one other than David . Although I could cheat and look at this Winger cd insert I have right next to me, and you'd never know. But I won't do that (ok, so it's Paul Taylor and he has bad eyebrows).

He has my favorite voice out of anyone in Bon Jovi, hands down. Richie and Jon don't even come close, and Tico's way out there (although his voice does have a charm to it). It took me a while to get used to hearing this smooth, deep, rich Elton John-esque voice when listening to the box set, it's just so odd next to Jon's.

The lyrics to "Memphis" are gorgeous. It's one of David's strong points, moreso even than the band's as a whole, that he can take you on this emotional journey of his choosing. "The blues sing softly in the air / like a Sunday morning prayer /one more drink and you'll see God everywhere" and "like a sad old melody / that tears you up but sets you free" are my favorite lyrics of all time. It's imagery and poetry and it's just beautiful.

I was never huge on listening to the instrumentation before this song, before I realized how good David is. Now I tend to focus on the piano. Try listening to "Bed of Roses", "Sleep When I'm Dead", "Last Cigarette", "It's My Life" paying real attention to the piano/keyboard. And it's not even debatable to me that the soul of "Runaway" comes from the keyboard and synth work. It's this song that got me paying attention to that, mostly because with this song it's just piano, you have to listen to it. It emphasizes everything about his voice, turning a beautiful song into a sublime emotional experience.

"Memphis Lives in Me" is an amazingly beautiful, intense song. And it's not even David's best. You could say I'm biased because of him being my favorite, but honestly, this being the song that made him my favorite, it has to be good.

My Rating: 9/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#21 - You Had Me From Hello

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Bounce
Other Versions: None
Era: early 00's "hard pop"


I've kind of avoided songs from Bounce until now. If I don't write about it, I can pretend it doesn't exist.

Kidding. I'm too hard on Bounce a lot of the time. Chances are good if most other bands had released the same album, I'd like it. But it's not some other band, it's Bon Jovi, and it just isn't representative of what they can do.

This song is the best example of that. It's a ballad, but not a sweeping, intense, really emotional ballad like they do so well. It's spineless and wishy-washy and I'm sure there's real emotion there but it just doesn't come across. It's too soft, too mellow, I just don't feel it. That's one of my selling points when I try to get someone into Bon Jovi - that they're so good at making you feel what they want.

Bon Jovi have always been cliche, and they've always done it well, but this was too much. Not just the cliche of "you had me from hello", although that doesn't help, but every aspect of the song is just so, I don't know, typical. Typical of love songs written by people who don't really try or who don't have talent. The whole song leaves me with a feeling of "this has been done before, and done better."

It grew on me a little at first - I really hated it originally. It is kind of singable and cute - cliche and it's-been-done and spinelessness aside. I just can't get behind it. They can and have done better. Sadly, this fits in pretty well on Bounce.

My Rating: 3/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#20 - Ride Cowboy Ride

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: New Jersey
Other Versions: No official ones, although on Access All Areas the lyrics are slightly different
Era: late 80s "hair metal"


This is a good song to get stuck in your head. It's short and the lyrics are fairly simple and easy to remember. That's always a good thing.

At first I thought this song was awfully out of place on the anthemic power-party-rock album that is New Jersey, even placed as it was leading into the other cowboy song, Stick to Your Guns. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 3 cowboy songs on two albums so far. I'd invent the "Jon Bon Jovi Cowboy Fetish" drinking game but I don't ever want Blaze of Glory to be fatal.

But it makes sense when you look at the broader picture of Bon Jovi's whole career. They have, since Slippery at least, tried very hard to not get pigeonholed as simply a fun hair metal band with no substance like many of their counterparts. This is one of those attempts to back up their claims - something with meaning, substance, and real musical ability.

In my opinion, they succeeded. It's a nice song, really well put together lyrically, and the simpleness of the two acoustic guitars shows they don't need the synths and screaming to be good. Points off for the faux poor quality, though. It makes it a bit less enjoyable for me to listen to.

My Rating: 7/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#19 - I Could Make a Living Out of Loving You

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Crush
Other Versions: None
Era: early 00's "hard pop"


I love the guitar in this song. I actually like all the instrumentation - it's kind of "crunchy", and I can't think of a single instance where I haven't liked a "crunchy" Bon Jovi song. But I especially love the guitar, and this is coming from someone who usually doesn't like guitar all that much. Sambora will make a convert of me yet.

The whole tone of the song is really poundy, which works really well with the light, cute lyrics. Jon's voice is edgy, and he manages to make cute and fun work with driving and poundy. Something about his voice just glosses over the contradiction in the two styles, they've done it a couple other times.

There's four songs I really like on Crush (It's My Life, One Wild Night, Neurotica, and this one), and it's not a coincidence they have some strong similarities. When 2000 hit, Bon Jovi went kind of soft. Which is weird for me to say, considering how much I love their ballads, but the ballads on Crush and Bounce are lacking the intensity that is what I like about their earlier ballads. They're called power ballads for a reason. The four songs I mentioned are more reminiscent of the Bon Jovi with a strong backbone of the 80s and 90s, and that's probably why I like them. It's a shame half the songs I like on this album are bonus tracks.

I really like the part in this song where it's "tough jobs / rough jobs / say where and when" where it's just Jon and Richie and the drum. That says a lot about the strength of this part of the song, since David's my favorite and he has no part in it at all and yet I still love it.

My Rating: 8/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#18 - Someday I'll be Saturday Night

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Crossroad, 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't be Wrong (Demo), One Wild Night (Live)
Other Versions: None
Era: 90s "moody rock"


Sorry about the lack of update yesterday. No real excuse, just couldn't get into the right mindset for whatever reason.

Here's another with Bon Jovi's signature "times are hard, but if I hang on they'll get better" theme. I like this better in that regard than LOAP. I like the imagery - days have moods to them, that's pretty undeniable, and to put that in a song I think worked out excellently.

I always like a good story song, and this has three or four stories rolled up in it. That works really well with the video where all the stories interact. And I like how the lyrics work with the tempo - the verses are depressing, the chorus is unapologetically optimistic, and the tone of the instrumentation manages to match both quite well without seeming out of place or poorly put together.

One of my favorite aspects of this song is actually from the live version, I'm not sure if it's on One Wild Night or the Crush Tour dvd that I remember this from, but Jon goes through every day near the end and gives it a bit of meaning. Adds a bit more depth - not that the song is in any way lacking in depth, but in this case more is better.

This might be my favorite 90s song to sing along to, except maybe Always. This is more fun, though. I like it when they manage to be fun and meaningful at the same time - lately it seems like they can only handle one or the other.

My Rating: 9/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#17 - It's Just Me

Artist: Jon Bon Jovi
Album: Destination Anywhere
Other Versions: None
Era: Jon's pretentiousish phase


I don't like this one. For a lot of different reasons - one being I just plain old don't like it, for some intangible reason.

The instrumentation in this song is boring. It's a low tempo, low emotion ballad and it just does nothing to interest me or draw attention. It's just kind of there, binding Jon to this tempo that, when mixed with the low, borderline I-don't-care voice he uses for this song, saps any would-be emotion right out of the whole thing.

And that voice - I like Jon's low voice, I do. But this is more of a "yeah I just kind of happen to be singing these words I have no emotional investment in la la la" voice than the passionate one that usually graces the lower notes. And when the singer doesn't care, it's hard for me to care. He tends to drone a bit. It does match the instrumentation very well, but in this case that's actually a negative because the instrumentation is boring.

I don't like the lyrics to this one either. The typical BJ love song is "I need you desperately", so maybe this was a purposeful attempt to show that "Jon" is not "Bon Jovi" by doing something totally different. The way this song comes across is "you need me", which is such an asshole Lifetime-movie-abusive-husband kind of thing to say. The movie that was made based on this album is about a struggling couple, so maybe that fits, but if it's supposed to be an asshole kind of declaration, then it doesn't fit the tone at all. The other option is it's "I really want you to need me", which does fit the tone but it's just too whiny-desperate to make me care. The only song that's ever worked with that message is Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" and that's because the song is so light-hearted it doesn't actually come across as a desperately needy person.

"It's Just Me" is pretentious, whiny, boring crap. If his purpose was to show he isn't just Bon Jovi's lead singer, that he can be different, he certainly accomplished that. I doubt he wanted "...in the worst way possible" to get attached to "Jon breaks away from typical Bon Jovi..." in the cd reviews.

My Rating: 1/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#16 - Wanted Dead or Alive

Artist: Bon Jovi
Albums: Slippery When Wet, Crossroad, One Wild Night (live), This Left Feels Right (remix)
Other Versions: Live w/ Jennifer Nettles (CMT Crossroads performance), Unplugged (VMA 1989 performance)
Era: Late '80s, the "hair metal" period


Lyrics (TLFR)
Pop-Up Video


Other people run for cover when I'm listening to this song. This is my favorite of the big hits, the songs that are synonymous with Bon Jovi. I love the instrumentation, I love the lyrics, I love it when Richie shouts "I STILL DIE YI YI", I just plain freaking love everything about this song.

Jon's got a cowboy fetish. And I like it, because cheesy-cliche as the cowboy songs are, they're good without exception. No one does cheesy-cliche better than Bon Jovi, and no hair metal singer ever did "cowboy" quite like Bon Jovi. I'm not surprised they went to Nashville to work on this album - that fascination with the whole cowboy thing had to rear its head at some point.

Unlike most of the Bon Jovi songs I really love, there's no intangible "it" thing here. I know why I like it - it's a good song in pretty much every way. Lyrically it's beautiful, it manages to be thoughtful and serious without being overly "emo"/whiny. Instrumentally it's excellent - the music draws you in, doesn't overshadow the vocals, but it's intense, it adds so much life to what Jon is saying (and that's really necessary - I bet a good majority of BJ fans haven't done the whole "touring internationally to the point of burnout while dealing with whatever bullshitness is intrinsic to the music business" thing).

And vocally...for the love of God. It's just gorgeous. Jon's voice has so much power, even without him yelling it, you can just feel him pouring everything into those vocals. And Richie's backing is perfect. Absolutely perfect. Richie and Jon have very different voices but there's similarities to the "style"(for lack of a better word) to them that makes them blend very well. This song isn't about the blending, though, it builds on the differences. Jon's voice is so raw and Richie's is so smooth and they're both so emotional and it just works so well. This is probably the only BJ song I would willingly listen to a capella for more than just the sake of trying to hear every BJ song ever.

Wanted deserves to be Livin' on a Prayer - deserves to be that song that everyone knows, the song that when you say "Bon Jovi" you might as well just be saying the name of the song.

My Rating: 10/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics and video


#15 - I Believe

Artist: Bon JoviAlbum: Keep the Faith
Other Versions: None
Era: 90s "moody rock"


I've described post-1990 Bon Jovi to people by saying: "Take U2's 'Save the World' thing, especially Bono's God complex, and use it to inseminate Bruce Springsteen. Then he raises the baby with the help of Aerosmith and Poison."

The U2 in there comes from this song, which I usually call 'the Bon Jovi U2' song. I don't know why, I can't even come up with a specific U2 song to compare it to. But this song would not have sounded weird recorded by Bono.

It's the sweeping, epic feel and the uplifting "work together" theme of the song - but this most certainly isn't the only Bon Jovi to use those components, not even the only one to combine them. So I can't explain why, when I hear this song, I'm almost confused that it's not U2 singing it.

"Don't look up to your movie screens / your records or your magazines / look inside and you will see / that you are all you really need". I think that's it. That line just sounds so Bono-esque. A lot of the song does, lyrically. So that must be it - it's not that it's like any U2 song that exists, it's more like "the U2 song they forgot to write, so Bon Jovi picked up the slack".

I'm not trying to say they're ripping off U2, and I'm not saying they're unoriginal. I just can't listen to this song - especially after seeing the video, which is most definitely U2ish - without thinking "where's Bono?"

My Rating: 5/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics
Edited 3/26/06: Added video


#14 - If God Was A Woman

Artist: Richie Sambora
Album: Undiscovered Soul
Other Versions: None
Era: N/A (Richie's only got two cds and they aren't so distinctive from each other that I feel a need to classify)


I don't get it. At all. This is some of the most confusing songwriting I've ever heard - maybe I'm trying to be too literal. I know when I hear "if God was a woman / tell me who could we blame / would she make Jesus righteous / or completely insane" all I can think is wait, God is Jesus's father, so if he was a woman he'd be his mother, and Richie sounds like he's talking about a girlfriend. But I might be the only one who does that.

But as much as this song makes me go "zuh?", I like it. It's one of the songs David helped out on, and it once again has that mark of a more lighthearted side that his songs tend to have. I like that David helped on both Richie's solo albums, because I think those two make an amazing combination. For my money, they're the two most talented musicians in Bon Jovi, and I like both their voices better than Jon's (if David had done any singing with Richie I quite possibly would have died listening...but at least I would have died happy), so they working together is totally win-win in my eyes.

The problem is, it's fun, and when I listen to fun songs I like to sing. And when I sing I need to pay attention to the lyrics. And I don't like the lyrics of this song - I don't like that I don't get it, and I'm not a huge fan of "man, men and women are so totally different" ways of thinking so an entire song being about how things might be different if God wasn't male doesn't really match my whole thing too well. I mean, it's not insulting to women at all - if anything, it's more of a diss to men, but I just don't do well with battle-of-the-sexes type stuff. It's tongue-in-cheek, I take it too seriously and when I try to figure it out I get too literal, but I can't help that.

This is a song that I'm about 50/50 on as far as actually listening to it. I have to be in the right mood or I'll just skip right over it. It's fun musically, lyrically it's a giant bog for my brain, and I just don't like that combination too much.

My Rating: 4/10

By the way, if anyone reading this knows of any writings anywhere that have been done about this song, I'd love a heads-up. Knowing what other people think of this, how other people view the lyrics, is of great interest to me.

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#13 - Secret Dreams

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: 7800 Fahrenheit
Other Versions: None
Era: Early 80s "synth rock"


Aaaaand we're back.

This is one of my all-time favorite Bon Jovi songs, which must be rare. The way they bash their first two albums makes me think they must never have met anyone who liked them - that or they've gotten a bit pretentious with age (it happens to the best of people).

This is, admittedly, crap from a musical standpoint. But I'm certainly no music critic, and it's never bothered me when a song sacrifices musical credibility as long as it's fun to listen to.

And this is certainly fun. I can't listen to it and not want to sing and dance (well, that's not really that rare with me, but...you know what I'm trying to say). It entertains me not just as a song, but if you really listen to the words, it's a bunch of 20-something guys who up until now have just been kind of happy synthesizer-heavy party music trying to be not just less happy, but to be exceedingly deep and meaningful and, I don't know, important. It's got such an epic, heavy feel that doesn't fit with the rest of the BJ catalogue up to that point.

Of note: this is Tico's only writing credit out of all the Bon Jovi songs

If you love the Bon Jovi of social relevance, the Bon Jovi who have taken Bono's "I must save the world" thing and infused it with their music, you probably won't like this song, and like them you will probably think I'm crazy for enjoying it. But if you love a fun party song with a bit of an edge (but not much, not really even enough to give papercuts), you'll love it. Or if you just like to giggle at synthesizers and cheesy 80s effects - it's good for that too.

My Rating: 10/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics