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Bon Jovi, This House Is Not for Sale (2016)

Bon Jovi are back with their brand-new album, This House Is Not For Sale, which is available in numerous formats some containing bonus tracks. This House is the first new album from the band without long-time lead guitarist and collaborator Richie Sambora.

With this latest release, Jon and the boys are trying to show that it’s business as usual and unfortunately, that’s the biggest problem. The album is another paint by numbers Bon Jovi record, for the most part. It sorely lacks Sambora’s warm backing vocals and blues influenced guitar playing. For me, Sambora’s playing has always set the band apart from the other 80’s bands. While every other 80’s rock band were trying to be the next Eddie Van Halen, Sambora was channelling his inner Clapton thus adding a little soul and blues into the mix which added a different layer altogether to their sound. I am not saying that Phil X, who replaced Sambora since his departure, is a gifted guitar player but for some reason, he seems to be held back thus short changing the material altogether with a lack of individuality.

In my opinion it’s that lack of individuality that really hurts this album. Band member and producer John Shanks who sits behind the boards for the sixth time with Bon Jovi could also be to blame. As great as Shanks is with artists like Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow and Chris Isaak, he (Shanks ) seems to be scared to push the band. Bon Jovi has been copying the blueprint of their first album with Shanks, 2005’s Have A Nice Day, torn between autobiographical confessionals and prototypical struggles of the everyday working class and that has been done to death. I believe Bon Jovi needs to shake things up. As a producer, Shanks really doesn’t allow any of the band members to shine on this release. Like I said earlier, Phil X is a talented guitarist, but he isn’t given very much to work with on This House. Let’s not forget that keyboardist David Bryan, Julliard alum before joining the band, is classically trained and has a passion for blues and rock music. Come on, his keyboard intros to some of Bon Jovi’s earlier albums are simply jaw dropping and it’s a shame he seems to be pushed to the sidelines on this one.

This House Is Not For Sale still has some moments though, most notably the catchy as hell title track, Living With The Ghost, The Devil’s In The Temple and We Don’t Run.

The bottom line, Bon Jovi needs a producer that will kick their a** and turn off the autopilot

button. It’ll allow Phil X and David Bryan a chance to put their own stamp on the material otherwise, just get Sambora back.

This House … shows that the band is trying to move forward, but without much needed changes, it just doesn’t make this This House feel much like a Home.

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