I've always had a love/ hate relationship with Jersey rockers, Bon Jovi. I really think that they could be one of the movers and shakers in the music world.
Over the years, Bon Jovi became synonymous with power ballades and for the most part, I felt that they discovered their niche way too early in their career and have been milking it ever since.
Don't get me wrong, they showed some moments of brillance on Keep the Faith and These Days. But, in my opinion, they never made that "masterpiece" album where all the songs were outstanding or could be a hit single.
Well, every once in awhile Bon Jovi does try to push the envelope. I thought that, Bounce had glimmers of them trying to be a legitimate hard rock band.
Bounce's numerous highlights include : the hard hitting 911 inspired album opener Undivided. The underappreciated first single, Everyday, the hard rocking, Hook Me Up and the emotionally driven tracks: The Distance and Love Me Back to Life.
My major issue with Bounce however is that for every inspired track, there is a throw-away song which totally derails the momentum or pace of the record.
I think Bon Jovi were invigorated by the success of their previous record, Crush. The smash hit single It's My Life not only reintroduced the group to a brand new fan base, but it invigorated their old fan base to return to the fold. Except, somewhere along the way, when making Bounce, the band lost its nerve. Instead of pushing themselves and moving forward, Bon Jovi foresaked creativity and embraced their tried and true formulaic power ballad.
It's too bad, Bounce could have been Bon Jovi's best album in years but the paint by numbers power ballads hurt its pacing. I think Bon Jovi should have removed two of the ballads and replaced them with a couple of good rock songs.
But, even with all of that, if you've written off the Jersey Boys or thought they couldn't rock anymore, just give Bounce a listen. Under all tbose cheesy ballades is a stellar rock album dying to get out.