Greetings, glancers! Today we embark upon a voyage through Jonathon Bonavon Jovi et al’s confusingly title second album 7800 Farenheit. First off, how do you actually say the album title – as is? Or do you need to include ‘degrees’? And does it make sense? Does it need to? The answer to all of these questions and more is of course, The Eighties. The decade where style devoured substance, a cool sounding title was enough to ensure Billboard glory, and cool hair and clothes would guarantee a spot on Top Of The Pops.
Thankfully, times have changed and we don’t fall for such simplistic tricks anymore –
but back in those innocent, cocaine soaked days, Professor Jovi and his students decided to make a progressive album with a coherent plot about the melting point of rock music – that moment when a pyrotechnical display gone not only wrong, but Metallica wrong, begins to melt all of your guitars drums, and those weird synth/keyboard/guitar freakshows into a slurry of wood, metal, hopes, and dreams. It’s the story of one man and his band, whose love of music is surpassed only by their passion for scientific discovery. When these two dreams collide, an explosive melting pot of chemical riffage ensues, with positively charged permed hair sucking up to a sentient breed of antions found only in the armpits of Tico Torres. Or something… I haven’t actually listened to it yet.
Looking at the track listing, the only song I definitely recognise is In And Out Of Love, though a handful of the other tracks sound familiar. Lets turn up the heat!
In And Out Of Love: This opens like the terrible chorus of any Def Leppard song, with ultra masculine shouting paving the way for gender-confused singing. Me and my boys hit the streets – sounds an awful lot like some chav scum stain Jersey Shore/Jordy Shore bullet deserving fuck. There are big drums, terrible synth noises, an obligatory guitar solo, more terrible shouting, and the worst sin of all- spoken words. It’s not bad.
The Price Of Love: Ha ha ha ha ha ha hum, I made myself laugh because that drum intro sounds almost identical to Nirvana’s Stay Away. Seriously, look it up. Monkey see, monkey do. Anyway, guitars come in, and then some singing. It’s all very atmospheric, in that hushed, restrained way only 80s rock bands can pull off. It instantly evokes images of blue neon city lights, cruising by dark alleys, high heels, mini skirts, and all those other visual prerequisites of an 80s cop Thriller. There’s nothing special here, but it avoids sentimentality and too much cheese, the solo is pretty nifty, and although I didn’t bother listening to the lyrics, I’m sure it’s about time-travelling cyborgs trying to fit in with the cool martial arts kids at a new school.
Only Lonely: Boom! Synth! Boom! Guitars! Terriblemixdrums! Another one with the aforementioned atmosphere, either glorious or the worst thing ever, depending on which side your toast lands on. The melodies miss the mark, but aren’t bad – just nothing particularly catchy. Whispery breakdown with gunshot drums. Unfortunate squeal. Decent guitar messing around. With a bigger chorus this could have been much better.
King Of The Mountain: Bass and drum, sitting in a tree, f-u-c-k-i-n-g. Oh no, this one is going to be horrible, isn’t it? Shouty vocals veering too close to speaking for comfort. Def Leppard chorus vocals. Yes, yes this is horrible. At least it’s noisy, but so is cellotape when pulled. Nothing else happening. Must put the kids to bed soon. My back is sore. This carpet needs a serious hoovering. Is this thing still on? Apparently Bon Jovi fans love this song. Fin.
Silent Night: No, not that. Synth calamity. Power chords with lite acoustic backing. Something about the sun. Nice melodies. Harmless. Not sure why I haven’t heard this one before, seems like one that people would want to play for me. Because I’m like that.
Tokyo Road: Plinky plonky lullaby. Creepy Japanese kids singing about cherry blossoms. Turns into straight-forward rocker. Simple chorus, nothing exciting. More verses. Scratchy solo. Middle section with nothing. More spoken word tears. Take me back… to the chorus.
The Hardest Part Is The Night: Phased guitars. Disaster noise. Synth marching. More epic 80s steamy atmosphere. Stomping verse, backing vocals in uninspiring chorus. Once again, this is fine but lacking something memorable. The vocals aren’t quite there yet either. Interesting pauses in middle section before a standard guitar solo and back around for one final turn. It’s another song which could have featured over the montage of any 80s action drama – hero staring out of window as he tried to overcome some love-drenched dilemma.
Always Run To You: Drum collapse. Bizarro noise. Angry guitars. Too much air in the recording. Another song about late night street walking.. what is it about the 80s and wandering about at night-time? I forget what the verse sounds like by the time I reach the chorus. The chorus is a little too shouty for BJ and it doens’t really work. Yes, nothing exciting in the verse. Sex lyrics. Solo. Harmonics. Tapping. Nice, but again I won’t remember it.
(I Don’t Wanna Fall) To The Fire: John Carpenter sounds. Except crap. A little Oriental twist? Guitars. Idiot words. Another plain verse that goes nowhere, except to another plain chorus. WHERE ARE THE HOOKS? U suppose if someone kept shrieking IDA WANA FAH! in your ears for an hour it would stick in your head for a while, but it doesn’t make it catchy. I like how it thinks it’s heavy, even edgy, it’s hilarious.
Secret Dreams: Right, the final song, lets make it a good one. Chugging guitars, fine… 80s drums…. decent synth for a change… going ok so far. All we need is a melody. No, verses replacing melody with some sort of shouting and ghost whispering. Hmm, the chorus tries to pull it back, at least there is some sort of tune – the vocals, guitars, and synth actually play well together here – obviously they would perfect this in coming releases.
Well, two albums down and still the hallmarks of a decent rock band are there – at the moment the image and style and cheese is blocking the actual creativity and as a result none of the songs are really that good. There are a few decent tracks, but it’s mostly very samey as well as similar to any other band of the era who were plying the same trade. I’m still holding out that Nightman will get to listen to a great album soon. Come on ears!