3 decades of rock, in convenient bite-sized pieces



I'm home, all settled in...but my computer won't go online for a completely unknown and apparently unfixable reason.

I can get online - from my dad's computer. He works from home and is on here most of the day, so my online time is extremely limited. Plus I don't have any of my music on here, and his cd player's on the fritz.

I have no idea when I'll get everything worked out, but don't be surprised if there's a couple days without entries. I'll do my best, but technology appears to hate me right now


Some notes

to the commenters on the last post:

1. Thank you two for correcting me. I was originally going to do "Santa Fe" but then I was like "I actually kind of feel like bitching, is there a song I can be nice about but bitch about at the same time?" and then I remembered the live version of Miracle, so I could gush for a couple paragraphs but still get the bitchy out, haha. I've messed up on the title so much lately I should start giving out cash prizes to people who catch it. Or, you should all send me a dollar when I get it right.

2. I am extremely glad you liked my post about "The Answer", because that paper only got a B. Would you like to call up my English professor and tell her she was wrong? Haha.

3. I like that poll idea! Right now I choose by deciding what cd I want to do the song from - usually by checking my little list of the order I've done cds in so I don't wind up going These Days/Keep the Faith/These Days/Keep the Faith - and loading my "BJ A Day" playlist into iTunes Party Shuffle thing behind whatever I'm listening to, and write about the first song that comes up from the album I picked. I like the idea of narrowing it down to three or four and having a vote, though. Start looking for this - if I don't use it in the next entry, it'll probably be not long after.

4. "Blaze of Glory" being on the Bon Jovi greatest hits pisses me off too. It's a great great song, and it was a massive hit for Jon and I'm glad it was so big, but I think it showing up on a Bon Jovi cd is a big slap in the face to Richie and Tico and David who basically got told that as long as the singer stays the same their contributions are less important. And you know how much I love Tico and David, so even an imagined slight bothers me more than it should. I'm sure they don't even mind it, or it wouldn't be there, but I still don't like it.

Also, I'm going home for a couple weeks. I'll be bringing my Bon Jovi music, of course, so I'll still be updating, but if there's no new entry for a couple nights it's because I'm wiped from traveling and not capable of rational thought. And I might be getting my wisdom teeth out, so I may miss a few more days thanks to the wonders of pain medication. I'll keep you updated!


#54 - Miracle

Artist: Jon Bon Jovi
Album: Blaze of Glory
Other Versions: Live Acoustic, circulating the web/filesharing places
Era: N/A


It pisses me right the fuck off when people talk about Blaze of Glory like it's a "Bon Jovi" album. Same singer does not equal the same band, I don't care if it sounds the same to the casual listener.

I had to get that out before I can talk about any of these songs, haha.

I love this song. I like the feel of the whole album - I think Jon synced up perfectly with Young Guns' poppy version of the Old West - and this song in particular manages to blend the pop culture-ness and the Old West-ness very well.

This one has some of my favorite lyrics:

"You said it ain't fair that a man walks / when a bird can fly / We gotta kick the ground / the stars kiss the sky / They say that spirits live / but man has to die / They promised us truth and now they're giving us lies" just resonates with me, and I'm not sure I can pinpoint why. It's depressing but there's optimism in the tone, and it's very stream of consciousness. And I like the way he sings it.

"I had big plans / so big that any blind man can see / I'm standing in the river / now I'm drowning in the sea." goes with Emilio's Billy very well. Especially in YG2 - he's just doing his thing and suddenly he's totally overwhelmed and not really sure why, but everything's going wrong and he's losing all his friends and it's just too much.

I also really really like the part where he says "'cause I believe that you can fly." That says it all, really. I love it. This is probably my favorite JBJ song lyrically - it'd take forever to go through every lyric I love, and most of them would be "I'm not sure why I like it, I just do" so I'll spare you.

I hate the live acoustic version I have of this, by the way. It's fairly recent, and it sounds like it should be really pretty, but Jon can't remember the words for the life of him. He fumbles and repeats stuff and substitutes "kiss" for "kick" and it's just kind of sad for someone who loves the lyrics as much as I do. I'll cut him some slack, I assume it was spur of the moment and he can't really be expected to remember 22 years worth of lyrics, but it's still a big let-down. I'm holding out for a good acoustic version of this because I bet it would be amazing.

My Rating: 10/10

A commenter pointed out that "In and Out of Love" is right up there with cheesy Bon Jovi videos, and you are totally right. I love Bon Jovi in the 80s! Any video that makes my brain feel kind of funny in a happy way is a good video, haha.

Also: if anyone has any tips/hints/whatever for getting decent tickets to a concert when ticketmaster isn't really cooperating with my idea of "best available", I'd really appreciate it. I'm looking for some close-to-face-value Motley Crue (my second favorite band at the moment) floor or otherwise close to the stage tickets for when they're here in P-funk on March 8th, and I'm not having any luck.

Edited 3/25/06: Added video


Thought you might enjoy this

I didn't find "She Don't Know Me", but if you're looking for cheesy, I've got some good finds:

Concert from 1984 - "Get Ready" and "Runaway", with a real short interview clip in between. I can't decide what my favorite thing about this is - Jon appears to be wearing someone's bathrobe, Richie has zebra print leggings, Tico has a mullet of epic proportions, David - the less said about David the better. And Richie keeps making stupid faces, and Jon drops the Japanese flag, just tosses it over the edge of whatever he's standing on. This, my friends, is a stellar monument to cheese.

Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore? - The Bon Jovi demo, performed by a guy named Kane Roberts. Just note how serious he is - this man has no idea how cheesy this video is or how goofy he would look 20 years in the future. I've watched this maybe 15 times since someone showed it to me yesterday.

#53 - She Don't Know Me

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


A bit more background on the beginnings of my Bon Jovi obsession: After I'd listened to the box set approximately six million times, it began to wear thin. But I still wanted more Bon Jovi stuff. I was fairly new to LimeWire at the time, and accidentally searched for just videos when I was trying to find more.

One of the first videos I got was "She Don't Know Me" and holy crap I almost died laughing. This video is the epitome of cheesy, second only to "Only Lonely"(general plot: the gay biker mafia is after Bon Jovi! David fights them off while Jon gets laid) as the cheesiest Bon Jovi video ever. It's like this cheesy mini-movie deal where Jon is stalking this girl or maybe she's stalking him and Jon walks around shirtless on a beach at night and then when he's about to get shot she pulls a gun on his attackers and saves his life. Seriously. That is the video, I swear I am not making this up, and I haven't had any cold medicine tonight.

I only mention the video because I just can't listen to this song without seeing the video. Especially the line "I try hard to be straight" which instantly conjures up this one part of the video where Jon's walking around in a teal tank top and tight tight jeans, hair teased halfway to heaven, and from a distance I thought he was a girl. Trying real hard there, Jon-boy.

I say this so much it's probably lost its meaning, but I love the drumming in this song. It's not what I usually like - Tico just wailing away on the drums, doing his own thing, pounding like there's no tomorrow, just going crazy, pounding like...

Sorry, mind wandered. Remind me not to say "pounding like there's no tomorrow" when I'm talking about Tico, I have far too dirty a mind to keep thinking about drumming in that context. Anyway, he's not doing that crazy wailing away thing, he's just straight-up timekeeping here, but it is most definitely the backbone of the song. Take away the drumming and you'd have a nice helping of spineless wuss-rock here.

The other instrumentation is simple and kind of downplayed, and I like that. The drums pound at you, Jon sings at you, and everything else takes a background and lightens the whole thing up. As a composition, the song works beautifully.

My one big complaint is the call-and-repeat chorus gets really old, really fast. Especially at the end where it's just chorus chorus chorus WHOOOOOOAAAAAAA chorus. I like the WHOOOOOOAAAAA, the repetition not so much.

My Rating: 8/10

I think I broke my brain, all I can think about right now is "Tico pounding like there's no tomorrow". Oops.

Edited 3/25/06: Added video, deleted the sentence about how I couldn't find the video


#52 - Say It Isn't So

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


Bland. Bland, bland, bland. I have a theory - from the self-titled album up through These Days, Bon Jovi never had filler on their albums. They had songs that weren't as good, but they didn't have anything that felt like they just threw it on there so it would be long enough to release. So for Crush and Bounce they made up for it and made two cds of almost entirely filler. All filler, no killer.

That's harsh, but really. These albums just don't measure up on a lot of levels. They have their appeal, and there's people who love them. I'm not one of those.

The lyrics for this one are cute, if cheesy. I like the part about "Elvis Presley died/they deep fried the king/Like some tacky cheesy bathing beauty/Dancing on the beach in a bad B movie". The chorus is repetitive but somehow not annoyingly so, and it's a really cute testament to love. "I absolutely do not want to believe you would hurt me because I love you, so just say nothing's wrong and I will be totally cool" is an interesting sentiment, one I can't remember ever being touched on in music.

The instrumentation is bland, though. It's kind of hard, but toned-down hard. Like if Metallica recorded an album specifically for grandparents. But not as hard to start with, because saying Bon Jovi is as hard as Metallica in any capacity would be stupid. I don't like the cheesy computer effects on the vocals, either.

The video for this is cute. Too bad it wasn't a better song, bigger hit, more video play. Actually, too bad it wasn't a better song because I hate seeing Bon Jovi go mediocre.

My Rating: 3/10

Edited 3/25/06: There are no other versions. Added video



I'm sick. Again. And full of cold medicine. Again.

I don't have class until late tomorrow, so if this cold medicine buzz wears off in the next two or three hours I'll update.

Not making any promises, but I'll see. Right now I can hardly type


#51 - Letter to a Friend

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong (Disc 4)
Other Versions: None that I know of
Era: not totally sure, it sounds very Keep the Faith-ish


This is a fairly mediocre song. I don't dislike it, but I don't love it. It's one of those songs I forget exists until it actually starts playing.

What I like about this song;
1. How drum-heavy it is in the beginning. We all know how I feel about drumming lately. This on it's deep and heavy, but not overpowering. And it's one of the more dance-able deep, heavy drum beats Tico's done. I like to dance! And what's really awesome is, if you stop paying attention to anything other than the drumming, Tico is playing a completely different song, and it still works.

2. I like how without the title, this song makes no sense. If you don't know this is a "Letter to a Friend", then it's just really confusing. First time I listened to it I couldn't figure out why he was refusing to love this person he appeared to really care about. It made absolutely no sense, until I pulled out the box and checked the title for track whatever it is. The "ohhhhh I get it" moment is one that doesn't happen nearly enough in music.

3. Jon's voice is excellent. I like any song where he can handle being quiet, yelling, and all points in between. I can rip on Jon's voice all I want - I'll never stop saying he's most certainly not the best singer in Bon Jovi by far - but he really does have an excellently versatile rock star voice. Another thing I'll never stop saying is I couldn't imagine any of their songs sounding the same without him.

4. Tambourine! Tambourine is up there with banjos and accordions on my list of decidedly un-sexy instruments that get me all hot and bothered. They've done tambourine and accordion, they just need to work a banjo in somewhere and I will never need another band again EVER.

This is a fun, upbeat, dancey song. But it's totally forgettable and gets itself lost among other Bon Jovi songs quite easily.

My Rating: 6/10


#50 - Bed of Roses

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Keep the Faith, Crossroad, This Left Feels Right
Other Versions: Live Unplugged from the Yokohama 2003 set (that was recorded to be our acoustic cd/dvd set but we got TLFR instead), Cama de Rosas
Era: 90s "moody rock"

Lyrics (Original)
Lyrics (TLFR)
Lyrics (Spanish)

Taken literally, this is a terrible love song. He cheats on her, the whole focus is on him the whole song, he actually implies he doesn't feel a need to actually show he loves her ("got nothing to prove, it's you I'd die to defend"), he hangs up to cheat on her again, then gets drunk in a bar while still hungover and flirts with the bartender.

But taking this literally would be a mistake, because the way Jon means this, the sentiment there, it is one of the great love songs of our generation. He loves, absolutely adores the woman he is singing about. Everything but mentions of her is sung in such a way it becomes mundane, you can actually audibly hear how much he loves her.

"As I dream about movies they won't make of me when I'm dead" is probably the most open, honest lyric ever. I love how much is behind that one line - his need for the spotlight, his acknowledgement that he wants there to be movies made about him, and the fact that they won't make them just enhancing his realization that love, this woman he's in love with, that's what's going to matter in the end. Simplistic, but absolutely loaded.

Instrumentally, this song is absolutely epic. Richie's strings just sweep you along and soar, dragging you in - the perfect musical representation of how intense this love is. And I've been heard to say before that David's piano work in "Bed of Roses" is one of my top five favorite things on earth. Listen to this three times through - once, focus on the vocals. Then the guitar. Then the piano. They're different, but the way they work together turns this song into love you can listen to. What's interesting is, if you don't know Spanish, the emotion and sentiment still come across in "Cama de Rosas". That's how well they use the vocal tone - Jon's voice here is, essentially, an instrument.

I do know a little Spanish, by the way, and there are two things I love about the Spanish version.
  1. When translated back to English, the first line is "Alone and so sad I am, as an old piano", which I thing is even more heartbreakingly real than the original first line
  2. The chorus, which translates back to English as "I want to have your love among wine and roses / to forget at last the pain of yesterday / Close to you / To be your name / To be your shadow / to have your love in your bed of roses", is gorgeous.

The drums are subtle here, but where they show up they show up. I'm totally incapable of listening to the part where it's gone quiet, then BANG the drums kick back in while Jon bellows "nothing to prove / for it's you I'd die to defend", without playing air drums. Or desk drums, or my leg-drums, or nearest-person's-head drums. Those drums take what Jon is literally saying - I don't need to actually show that I love you, because I know I love you and that's ok - and picks it up to a point where the strength of his conviction is such that, dammit, now I know you love me so go ahead and don't worry about proving it.

This is one song where I just can't get behind any of the different versions. Because of the fact that the lyrics depend so heavily on the instrumentation to convey the real meaning behind them, changing the instrumentation changes the song too much. That works with, say, "Born to Be My Baby" and "It's My Life", the TLFR versions of those took these rocking songs and bared the real strong emotion behind them. Acoustic versions of "Bed of Roses" tend to, in my opinion, just sound like the emotion's been watered down. This is a great love song, and the greatness lies in the intensity. Take that away and you've got a drunk rock star's feeble attempts to justify his drunken affairs. Just try to keep from melting at the thought.

My Rating: 10/10


#49 - Kissed By An Angel

Artist: David Bryan
Album: On A Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse
Other Versions: None
Era: N/A

At first, I wasn't going to write about any of David's instrumental stuff. It's a lot more challenging, and I'm not realy even sure how much into the classical piano work most Bon Jovi fans are. But it wouldn't be fair to David to discount his solo work just because he doesn't sing, especially since I always planned to include Richie's instrumental stuff. So bear with me as I try to get the hang of discussing music sans lyrics - I'll be a pro by the time I'm through Full Moon and Eclipse.

The beginning of this one always reminds me of "Here Comes the Sun". It's very light and airy, just a few simple notes from the high end of the spectrum being plinked out. Those few simple high notes wind their way through the whole song, they're almost always there alongside whatever else David's playing.

I have a hard time listening to music when I'm trying to sleep - I have this thing about wanting to really get into it, and then I wind up not sleeping because I'm focusing on the song. That's part of why I do this blog - I naturally analyze music when I listen to it, and needed an outlet. But this one always makes me feel extremely relaxed, and I could probably sleep to it if I ever felt so inclined. It's not boring, but it's soothing.

One of my favorite parts of this song is right around the middle. He's been playing with some depth, moved on from just those high notes, but in this one he's constantly climbing his way back up to the higher end. This time, he gets back up there and just stops. It goes silent and pulls all your attention back into the song - why did it stop? is it over? - and then he starts back in, back at the lower notes.

This song reminds me of the feather in the beginning of Forrest Gump - lazily adrift. Up in the air, but not through any effort. Sometimes it sinks but it always finds its way back upward, soaring along. Light and airy and just through its very existence it is achieving something but not with any apparent effort. This song is light and plinky and just kind of soars and drifts along until it reaches its destination, and affects me in much the same way that Gump feather is meant to affect you.

My Rating: 8/10

By the way, the anonymous commenter in the last post had a very good idea: link the lyrics to each song I review. That's something I wish I'd thought of myself. Starting with the next song I do I'll include a link after the heading info, before I actually write about the song, so you can go check them out. And over the next few days I'll probably go back and add lyric links to old posts.


#48 - Diamond Ring

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


The Bon Jovi love song is an interesting breed. There's songs like "Silent Night" and "This Ain't A Love Song", watching a relationship die. There's "I'll Be There for You", "Never Say Goodbye", "Always", in which we find our hero pining over love lost. There's "Bed of Roses" that, while the sentiment is there, I can't get behind as a real love song because of the blonde still in his bed. There's "Wildflower" and its ilk, in which he does love the girl, but goes on for three and a half minutes about her faults - in a loving manner, but still. There are some real love songs on Bounce, but they're bland and lacking something. And of course, songs like "I Got the Girl" about a daughter, and "I Am", which could just as easily be applied to a good friend as a lover. And, finally, there's "Diamond Ring."

Lyrically, there's nothing here to suggest this isn't a straightforward love song. It's traditionalism, it's devotion, it is love. This is a man in love, singing about love, no twists, no cheating or faults or ambiguousness, no relationship dying. The ring suggests quite the opposite, in fact.

There's hints of something else here - the phrase "blood red" is ominous, the obsessiveness of "I bleed every night you sleep", the second-to-last-line of "now you've got me on your string." None of those are particularly happy, but they're not blatantly denying the sentiment of the song.

But when you take this song as more than lyrical, it completely shifts. The tone is dark, there's something there that's off, somehow. Jon's voice is low and soothing, but there's an edge, brought in mostly by Richie's voice. Here, they are similar, but where Jon is smooth Richie is rough, creating an interesting tension. The instrumentation is extremely simple - low, slow, quiet drumming, acoustic guitar, basic piano. It's lush, though, thick and indulgent and almost hedonistic. This song is dark, there is something lurking. You get the feeling that this man is not quite normal - maybe he's just a little possessive, maybe he's a stalker. Is he just a delusional admirer of this woman? Tone and lyrics mesh together in a way that is simply beautiful, but it's unsettling.

This is one of my favorite Bon Jovi songs, one of those jaw-droppers from my first time listening to These Days. Because lyrically it's a simple love song, making use of traditional romantic symbols like rings and roses. And musically it's a dark, rich, enveloping experience. You don't listen to it, you feel it. David's at his absolute best here - the piano is what adds the depth and tone that force you to feel this. The guitar plucks along, soaring a bit, enhancing the piano that you just can't ignore. And the synth strings that soar up in some places, making the whole thing deeper, are haunting, especially paired with the percussive shaker.

"Diamond Ring" is a love song. But it's nothing you play for your beloved to show how much you care, somehow. This is one you listen to sitting alone, reflecting. A personal love song. It's an amazing combination of lyrics and music and makes use of the voice as an instrument - using Richie to add that tension is just perfect.

My Rating: 10/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#47 - I Am

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


A return to the quintissential 80s hair metal power ballad - a solely needed return, in my opinion (I'm a sucker for a good power ballad) - and yet it's updated enough to fit in well on HAND. Good work, boys.

The intro instrumentals (say that five times fast) are a bit generic pop-rocky, and at first I figured I wouldn't like this one, because I definitely can't get behind a band with 20+ years of evidence that they can do widely varied work being generic. But they saved themselves.

The interesting thing about this song is, lyrically and vocally, it is 80s power ballad through and through. It's cheesy, it's about love, and the chorus is belted like nobody's business. I wish I had a lighter on my desk because I'd be waving it right about now as I listen. It's fun to sing and it makes me feel mushy inside - in a good way. Pair these vocals with some cheesy synthesizers, big hair, way too overblown guitar work, and no one would know the words came from the Bon Jovi of 2006. This makes me unspeakably happy.

But they managed to keep it from being dated and overblown, because the instrumentation is very downplayed. There is no giant soaring guitar solo that makes you feel as if the gods of rock themselves descended from rock and roll heaven to witness the epic weedly-weedlying in person. There are no cheesy synthesizers soaring around the powerful chorus. It's simple, straightforward, and modern. There is a guitar solo, but it's subdued, heavier than the solo of the 80s ballad.

To take these two very different mediums - the overblown and the straightforward - and combine them into a good song is an impressive feat indeed. On top of the interesting blend of the culture when Bon Jovi were starting and the culture now, as they slowly approach 25 years, this is frigging fun to sing. Not when people are around, because it demands to be sung with the same emotion Jon himself puts in, and sometimes shouting "I AAAAAAM" in a crowded room isn't as fun as it would sound. And even on top of that, the lyrics hit me in just the right place. This is sure to get me a bit weepy and mushy, especially on nights like tonight when, for no real reason, I'm feeling just down and alone. It'll pass, with the help of power ballads like this one.

God bless you, healthy 1980s influence.

My Rating: 9/10

Tomorrow: A Valentine's Day Extravaganza, sort of (assuming I remember it's Valentine's Day). I'll be writing about my favorite Bon Jovi love song - and I mean love song, not "I cheated but I still care" or "I love you despite the relationship being over" song. Does it even exist? Tune in tomorrow. Or something.

On a side note, I watched that David Bryan "How to Play Keyboards in a Rock & Roll Band" video today. It was cheese piled on cheese piled on cheese. With a bit of grated cheese on top. I don't know how to play keyboards in a rock band now, but I do know I would like to be a keyboard. I might do a review of it as a special feature, assuming I don't discover there's nothing I can say about it that isn't "aww David's adorable. Wow he has long fingers. Long, nimble fingers..."

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#46 - Thief of Hearts

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong (Disc 1)
Other Versions: None that I know of - originally written for This Left Feels Right
Era: N/A, This Left doesn't really fit in anywhere era-wise. Soundwise, it's kind of Bounce-ish.


The lyrics to this one are extremely unsettling. I read them out loud to a friend of mine, and reading them just kind of gave me a squicky feeling. It's creepy. I like them fine - they're creative, they're catchy, they're intelligent - but they're scary. The worst part, for me, is in the first verse where he says "it's alright". No it's not, you're stalking me and I'm scared of you.

Lyrics and creepiness aside, this is a nice upbeat song. I love the synth pad keyboard work, and the very simplistic guitar, and the downplayed drumming. It's mellow and cheerful, and if I could get past the lyrics it would be great to relax to.

But the focus is havily on vocals, and the vocals are singing the lyrics, so I have to pay attention to them. I think the problem comes mainly from the fact that, earlier in the year, the guy next door was really adamant about wanting to have sex with me. So now this song makes me think of him, because he was creepy too. He's given up, but the guy in the song persists.

It's a nice song musically, and if the lyrics weren't so creepy they'd be nice because they're not overly simple or cheesy or trying to be complex when they aren't.

But, seriously..."even the cops can't save you now"? I suppose that's why pepper spray was invented. Jon, dear, I love you, but please don't stalk me. Or musically threaten to stalk me. Please.

My Rating: 8/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#45 - Tokyo Road

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


Hey, I remembered the title this time!

The intro almost made me turn this off without listening to the song the first time through the cd. I didn't, and I'm glad because this is a decent song. But the little high notes and the Japanese girl - I love cheese, but even I have limits.

I like the heavier feel of this song. 7800 was written and recorded, as the stories go, during a time when everyone was pretty miserable in their personal lives, and this album reflects that constantly. With this song, it's not so much the lyrics as the tone.

This is some of my favorite drumming ever in the history of Bon Jovi. Tico's just in the background enjoying himself, pounding away. The drumming is so different at some points in the song it's like he's doing his own thing, but it always fits and it always works. I've never seen this performed live and probably never will, but I get the feeling this is one of those songs Tico plays with a huge freaking smile, like he's having the absolute time of his life.

(That's my favorite picture of Tico ever, I just wanted an excuse to throw it in here. Screw professional photos, the one I took myself of him looking like he's the happiest he's ever been is gold)

I like the guitar in this one. It's one of my favorite songs as far as guitar goes - the solo is amazing. Richie just lets loose, goes crazy, and I swear if I were watching him play there'd be fire coming out of the end of that freaking guitar.

Jon's voice in this song is stellar. There's so much energy and passion and fire in it, he is singing his ass out of this one. Above probably any other song, "Tokyo" makes the fact that they refuse to play anything old except "Runaway" seem especially confusing. This is rocking and high-energy and except for the very beginning and the part where Jon's talking about the prostitute, almost completely devoid of cheese. I can just see a packed house singing along, pumping their fists with the chorus, just getting really into it. Tico in the back wailing on those drums like they just killed his puppy and he needs to beat some revenge into them, Richie setting his guitar on fire, David bouncing around like an idiot like he does when he's really into a song. Maybe Hugh would even move a little - although in this fantasy concert in my brain it would be Alec, getting hardcore into it like the rock star he was. Jon bouncing around the stage, just belting it into the mic and fuck the people who say his voice doesn't cut it anymore, because man is he killing this one.

Doesn't that sound nice? This isn't my favorite pre-SWW song, but it is the one I most dream about seeing live. I can't listen to it without seeing what I just described - this song is tailor freaking made for a crazy high-energy Bon Jovi concert.

I'll keep dreaming. And skipping the first 45 seconds.

My Rating: 7/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#44 - Wild in the Streets

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Slippery When Wet
Other Versions: None
Era: Late 80s "hair metal"


Now here's some good old-fashioned cheesy happy overblown fun.

You can't sit still listening to this one. The music is just so danceable. The drumming is fast and energetic and the guitar just runs right along with it. And the synth pads just give the whole thing this happy cheery devil-may-care feel that goes so well with the lyrics.

These lyrics are so Bon Jovi. Personal and humanistic and optimistic and just good. Stories about realistic people, realistic situations, but more so it's still the escape from reality that lots of people crave from music. You know exactly who he's singing about - Hell, I grew up in suburban Vermont in the late 90s and early 00s, and I was the "good" kid who was generally well-behaved and I know all this crap they're singing about in this one. Universal appeal, Bon Jovi style.

"Wild"'s chorus is unfailingly triumphant. What a song to throw your fist in the air and shout along to!

Music doesn't need to make any kind of social commentary, doesn't need to carry the weight of a generation on its shoulders. Sometimes it's totally cool to be a happy fun song about good times and friends and hanging out. This song just conjures up this image for me of a bunch of teenagers with drinks they're not supposed to be drinking and cars they're driving too fast with too many passengers and radios turned up too loud who are the happiest they've ever been in their whole lives. It's just happy. There's the trick to saving the world through music - just make people feel good.

My Rating: 7/10

Edit: Yes, Anonymous, I was talking about Wild in the Streets. This is what I get for updating when I'm full of cold medicine. Thanks for pointing that out, because it would have been a while before I noticed it on my own. Have some e-points, or an e-cookie. :)

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#43 - All I Want is Everything

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: These Days (bonus track)
Other Versions: None that I know of
Era: 90s "moody rock"


My friend's trying to tell me picking a bonus track for my "song I don't like off favorite album" entry is cheating but she didn't specify so I'm doing it anyway. Fight the power.

It's a big sign that this song has talkbox and I don't like it. We all know how I feel about talkbox.

I'm not sure I can pinpoint why I don't like this one. Part of it is the lyrics are really lackluster - it's like Jon had a bet with Richie to see how many times he could rhyme "thing" with..."thing". I hope he won, because he sure tried hard. The lyrics to the verses - nothing really special. I think it comes across as trying way too hard to paint a bleak picture. They did it so well with "These Days" and "Hey God", but here it just doesn't feel right. I do like "I said all it's about / is the boy checked out / couldn't handle reality".

I almost never have anything bad to say about the guys' backing vocals, but Christ they get on my nerves here. I wonder if they got locked in a room with a small child with a cold so they'd catch it and all wind up with "nasally cold voice". They did something, because all the backing vocals are coming out of noses.

The instrumentation is fairly boring. I like the guitar riff, but it's so generic. It would do well in a song with less focus on guitar, but there's minimal bass and no keyboard in this one so that fairly good but generic riff has to carry the song, and it's not good enough to combat the mediocre lyrics.

I like the drumming (what's new?). The drum work and Jon's voice receive the distinct homor of being the only things in this one that don't irritate me. In the same way that being included on Bounce makes "The Distance" sound that much better, being included on the phenomenal These Days makes "All I Want" sound significantly worse.

My Rating: 2/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#42 - The Distance

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: Bounce, TLFR (as a live bonus track)
Other Versions: None
Era: early 00s "hard pop"


This is part 1 of a two-part series (or something) to prove to a friend there is no Bon Jovi album I can't pick out a song from that contradicts how I feel overall about the album. Tomorrow I'll write about my least favorite song from These Days.

"Distance" is one of the songs that was on the very first Bon Jovi cd I owned, which was just a compilation of what I could find readily for download (One Wild Night, In and Out of Love, Just Older, Jon singing Respect are some of the others, someday if I can find the cd I'll post the whole list). I loved it then, despite it being really poor quality. I still love it.

This song somehow manages to mix some heaviness with a real light, airy feel and some real emotion and intensity. The intensity really makes it stand out on Bounce, deservedly so.

It's one of those songs where the intro doesn't build in, but in this one it works that way. The intro bangs right in, then the instrumentation mellows out when Jon starts singing. The focus becomes his voice, which could have been bad because the Bounce era was not his finest, but it works out.

I like the sweeping, epic tone to this one. I like the lyrics, I like the instrumentation, I like Jon's voice. I love the happy lightness of the piano in "Distance" and the way it works with the crunchy guitar and the way Jon's voice is so perfectly in between "happy" and "crunchy" that it ties the whole thing together.

The acoustic version on TLFR is good, too. My one complaint about that is for some reason Richie and Jon's voices don't mesh as well as normal. Maybe it was an off night, maybe this song just wasn't meant for anyone but Jon to be prominently vocal. "The Distance" is a very 'each person does their own thing and it comes together' song, so bumping Richie's vocals up actually makes it feel like he's competing with Jon, and that detracts. I love the percussion - I believe it's bells of some kind - in the live version, probably moreso than the drumming in the normal version. I mean, the bells wouldn't fit in the album version, but they work with the acoustic version so perfectly.

It's sweeping and epic and intense and emotional and it works electric or acoustic and it's fun to sing. This one would be a good song on a really strong album, stick it in among the lackluster crap that is most of Bounce, and it practically begs to be adored and clung to, hailed as a sign that there's still some of the rocking "Bad Medicine" Bon Jovi and the intensely emotional "This Ain't A Love Song" Bon Jovi and the good 80s and 90s Bon Jovi in there somewhere, and they can't hide it or kill it.

My Rating: 10/10

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


#41 - All I Wanna Do Is You

Artist: Bon Jovi
Album: 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong (Disc 4)
Other Versions: None that I know of
Era: Not sure - soundwise it's kind of Crush/Bounce-ish


After almost a full day of sleep and lots of coffee, I am totally back in the swing of things.

This song has several components that make it a surefire hit with me:
1. Churchy organ-ish keyboard
2. Cute lyrics
3. Catchy, extra-singable chorus
4. Innuendo

I like the way it starts - the drumstick clicking, then bang with all the instruments at once. And I like the idea of the churchy-ish organ as a backdrop to the "I desire naught but sex" lyrics.

It's an interesting tempo, upbeat and cheerful but not overly fast, and not particularly anthemic. It's kind of a "bob your head and sway" song, a "clap your hands" kind of tune. It's just so happy. Frankly, the entire song being about sex is secondary to just how damn pleased he is.

This is one of those songs where I just can't be in a bad mood while listening to it. And I hated it at first - Jon's voice is borderline nasal again, and when I was first obsessing over the box set, the borderline nasal was a big turn-off. But it isn't that bad, really. I was just being overy picky.

My one gripe about this is the guitar solo seems forced. There's a lot of Bon Jovi songs where it feels like someone said "well, Richie's pretty popular, maybe he should do a guitar solo" and then he half-assed it because it wasn't his idea and didn't fit. Not that it's not good guitar-ing, just it feels like an afterthought here. A hasty one, at that.

This is some of David's best piano work inside a Bon Jovi song. Listen to this, pay attention to the piano (not just the organ during the chorus, the piano during the verses) and just appreciate it. It adds so much to the song. Keyboardists in general are underrated, David specifically should be up on a pedestal for how good he is.

My Rating: 8/10

A couple things:
1. today is David's birthday, making the current age difference between us 26 years (until May). He's still second on my "to-do" list, with Tico holding on to first (too much information? probably). Anyway, uh, happy birthday, number two!

2. I am the happiest person alive, for today I found David's "How To Play Keyboards in a Rock 'n' Roll Band" video on eBay for a mere $9.50. I am convinced karma was paying me back for my iPod breaking within the first five minutes of my insanely long Greyhound ride on Sunday night

3. If you start taking a dietary supplement to boost your energy, you should cut down on your other caffeine intake. The walls are coming to life!

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics


yeah, so...

I was on a Greyhound from 6pm last night to 3:30am this morning

then I had to get up for class at 7am

I am in no condition to write anything coherent

tomorrow, promise

also: I did write something up Thursday night about not being able to update until today (now it's become tomorrow) but it looks like it never showed up. Sorry if you were checking over the weekend for updates, next time I'll check to make sure my notices show up!


#40 - Crazy

Artist: Tico Torres
Album: None
Other Versions: Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, I'm sure there's a large number of covers of this one
Era: N/A


I've been gushing about Tico like crazy (no pun intended - I cringed when I wrote that though) for a while now, so I might as well take advantage of that and do a song where he's the focus.

When I heard "Only In My Dreams" on the box set, I was...less than impressed. It was certainly something different, but I just couldn't get into it. It's kind of the opposite of David - with "Memphis", I fell instantly in love and needed more. With "Dreams", I just decided it was too different and kind of ignored it for a long time.

So when Jemma sent me Tico's "Crazy", I was apprehensive at best. I was looking forward to listening to it for the "yay it's rare and I have it now" factor, but I just couldn't see him doing one of the finest songs in the history of country music justice.

Then the song started and I fell out of my chair (true story - they're designed to tilt back without falling over, but I was already tilting back and Tico distracted me so much I forgot and leaned back more). It's just gorgeous.

His voice is an acquired taste, but when you look at him, you realize it's exactly how the badass mafia-looking guy with the big cigar should sing. Growly. And if you know more about Tico, then he sings just like the way you'd expect the owner of a baby clothing line who's also an artist to sing. Passionate. Which, once you get used to the mix, it works.

When Jon was talking on the box set dvd about "Dreams", he mentioned he wanted Tico to sing it because "he means it from his belly. That passion and feeling comes across so much more in "Crazy". Tico is feeling it and he makes you feel it too. You can't be un-emotional listening to him sing this, unless you have no soul.

Jemma sent this to me on the 26th, and I've listened to it 25 times since, not counting the ten or eleven times I've played on the iPod when I'm not in the room. It's gorgeous and I'm in love.

And Tico's voice, that "acquired taste" that initially completely turned me off, now makes me want to have sex with the man I've always considered the least attractive - by far - member of BJ. Not that you needed to know that, but now you have a little better idea of just what his voice is and does.

My Rating: 10/10

Now maybe I've gotten Tico out of my system enough to compliment more than just the drum work in a song, haha.

Oh, and I'm heading home for the weekend and I'll be on a Greyhound for most of the day tomorrow. If I can actually un-lazy myself enough to pack early, there'll be an update up before I go. If not, it'll be fairly late before I get one up.

Edited 3/25/06: Added lyrics