Jon Bon Jovi is calling the latest cd ‘Burning Bridges’ a “fan-record” to coincide with a 12-show international tour. The latest release sees remaining members of Bon Jovi (Tico Tores, David Bryan and Jon Bon Jovi) along with long-time producer John Shanks going to the studio and wrapping up some unfinished songs from prior albums and throwing in a couple of new ones that seem to hint as to where the band is heading musically for their next album scheduled for 2016. Burning Bridges is the first studio album in the band’s thirty year history that does not feature lead guitarist Richie Sambora (although Sambora is credited for co-writing one of the songs). Supposedly, Sambora left the band to spend more time with his family.
Surprisingly, even without Sambora, ‘Burning Bridges’ is much more enjoyable to listen to than Bon Jovi’s two previous studio albums back in 2009 with ‘The Circle’ and in 2013 with ‘What About Now’. Maybe it has to do with the fact that this 10 track record clocks in at around a little over 38 minutes; therefore leaving the fans wanting more. As well, there’s something reassuring about the fact that Bon Jovi still sounds like Bon Jovi, even without Sambora.
I still have some minor issues with this latest release. One: it doesn’t break new ground, Bon Jovi is still America’s Top 40 radio sweethearts offering up once again an album with hooked filled anthems and heartfelt ballads. You’d think that after thirty years and traveling the world ten times over, the band would have something more to sing about. Two: the horrible title track sounds like a camp fire sing-a-long which I thought was referring to the sudden split with Sambora but I now think the song is about the band being at odds with Mercury, their record label for the past thirty years. This title track seems rushed and spiteful, which is totally out of sync with Bon Jovi’s more upbeat lyrics. Here’s an example of some of the lyrics, decide for yourself: “Here’s the last song you can sell.” “After 30 years of loyalty, they let you dig your grave.”
But now, as I finish this review, Jon Bon Jovi has stated that he and the band are parting ways with Mercury records. So it looks like Burning Bridges is nothing more than a contractual obligation, released in order to severe the band’s ties to the record label. Burning Bridges could be seen as an end of an era record and an entertaining snap shot of a band in transition.