Nightman Listens! To – Bon Jovi

A Man-Woman in slippers encounter a Woman-Man during a nightly stroll
A Man-Woman in slippers encounters a Woman-Man during a nightly stroll

Hello again, aimless, earless. It’s time to continue our 80s listening spree with those original purveyors of big haired anthems, Bon Jovi. Not born in Italy in the 1950s, Bon Jovi are one of the biggest bands of all time, splitting the most ardent, hardened music critic over liking them for their undoubted abilities to write a timeless hit, or hating them for their undoubted cheesiness. I’m sure I’ve heard most of this album before at some point, but I don’t believe I’ve ever given it the personal, one on one run through it deserves. So let’s do that now:

Runaway: Obviously I know this one. Their first hit, and it still holds up well, aside from the dating of the actually music. I mean, the melodies and writing are still top-notch – take away the synth, or leave it where it is, this was a hit from the moment the first notes were written. It’s a terrific opening track, full of energy, mystery,and that nameless 80s atmosphere that only those who were there at the time will feel. Nice vocals, the band play perfectly together, the chorus is great, the harmonies in place. Those super high vocals are a bit… no… though. We could have done without, thank you very much.

Roulette: Fading in guitars. Big chord. Again. Counting. Nice and heavy. Still a love song though. I know this chorus, don’t remember the rest of the song. Good guitars. Everything is here that would make the band so big. The verses, pre-chorus have an impact. Decent solo. Repeat. Fading.

She Don’t Know Me: Aah, this one has always been a favourite. It appears that I like the cheesy songs which no-one remembers. A typical 80s power ballad, with all the boxes ticked. The chorus is epic. I imagine if I had been a teenager, and an idiot, in the 80s, I would have been bouncing around my bedroom to this, naked, thinking of Phoebe Cates. Do they ever play this one live anymore? I guess not. Weird 80s sound effects, a cross between FLASH and shopping carts crashing against each other.

Shot Through The Heart: And you’re to blame? I think I’ve heard this one before.Dusky. Similar vibe to other songs, atmospheric, building sounds contrasting with silence. Simple chorus. Laugh. Drums coming in for the pre-chorus. Another screechy solo. Middle section. Will there be a key change? No, interesting end with shouting, ascending guitars, sudden stop.

Love Lies: Piano. Have they had other piano led songs? Whisper vocals. Richard Marx. Thief in the night. 80s guitars and drums. Blue flashing nights passing alleys. Decent chorus. Sounds like another lost 80s montage song after teens have an argument over skateboarding abilities. More. Screech. Solo. Too high. Testicles gone.

Brakeout: BREAKOUT! Terrible sounds. Woo ooh. South Park vocals. Shouty chorus. Dated mess. Something about midnight. Oh lord no. Guitar collapse. Go away.

Burning For Love: Riff. Faster. Lies, cheats, cries, mistreats. Sex words. Looking for a tight, mushy place to insert oneself. More. Typing email at same time as listening. Forwarding to collegues to respond. Burning for response. End.

Come Back: Harder. Now. More vicious tone. Another bubbling under the surface 80s anthem. Decent chorus, but forgettable. Guitars are better here than last song.

Get Ready: Different approach, more riffy. Screech. Drums. Piano. Ye olde rocke and rolle. You need someone with naked ass? Making love on the telephone? Fastish. Distant vocals. Celebratory. Decent chorus, upbeat, but forgettable. Danger zone. Same. Decent solo. Unfortunate laugh. Worse talking. Building. Odd drums. More building. Get ready. Boom. Final blast. End.

Not a great album from the Jersey Boys, but certainly a level, ambitious debut with a few good standout tracks which are still fondly played today. The band doesn’t seem to have ‘grown’ a lot since their debut with regards to their style, but they have obviously honed their skills and would go on to be much better songwriters, musicians, and lyricists.

Tell it like it is!

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