Bon Jovi - Bounce
Island Records
Hard Rock
12 songs (49:08)
Release year: 2002
Bon Jovi
Reviewed by Shane
Archive review

A Bon Jovi review on Metalreviews?? That’s right, we review hard rock too so if you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it.

Few bands of the “hairband” era have survived as long as Bon Jovi and what is even more remarkable is that Bon Jovi has also remained commercially successful. Bon Jovi’s previous album Crush easily went platinum and successfully resurrected the band’s popularity, however this does not mean that modern Bon Jovi can hold a candle to the classic Bon Jovi era of Slippery When Wet and New Jersey. On Crush and on the recent live performances, it is evident that Jon Bon Jovi has lost his voice and has altered his singing style to compensate for wear and tear on his throat. He can still hit the notes but the passion and ruggedness is completely gone. On Crush, Jon plays it safe vocally and in recent live performances, Richie Sambora handles anything that might be vocally challenging (Basically all the cool parts that you look forward to) so despite the fact that Crush was decent, I didn’t expect much more than this from Bounce. However, when compared to what is currently on the rock charts, I believe Bon Jovi’s latest efforts fair much, much better.

When I heard the first track on this album, Undivided, I was blown away and suddenly I had huge expectations for this album. The song starts off with a seriously heavy riff that has more crunch than Metallica has been able to muster for quite some time. Undivided is about September 11th and how the terrorist attacks unified an entire nation and it left me with chills. Bon Jovi has often been considered “the cheesey cousin” of Bruce Springsteen, however, Undivided proves that Bon Jovi is capable of creating socially inspired music with all of the passion and feeling of the Boss himself (Who I believe is the master of this). Even more surprising is the fact that Jon Bon Jovi sounds energised and passionate which was something that was missing entirely on Crush. Undivided quickly became one of my favourite Bon Jovi tracks of all time and it features a killer chorus.

The next song is Everyday and this track is a new and improved version of It’s My life as the song basically says the exact same thing, only with different words. This isn’t a problem though because Everyday rocks and once again, Jon sounds great. By now my expectations were sky high and I was openly proclaiming that this album may be the best thing Bon Jovi has done since New Jersey. I usually don’t get this carried away when I first listen to an album but so far Bounce was exceeding my expectations to the point where I was giddy. Then the third track, The Distance came on and it did not live up to the promise of the previous tracks. The Distance is an average rocker, no more, no less and I still had high hopes for what the rest of the album would hold.

Track four is Joey and reminds me again of something Bruce Springsteen would do. It’s a story-type ballad about a guy named Joey and while this song is not without it’s charm, this time I know the Boss would have done it way better. The next track is Misunderstood and this radio friendly song, with it’s fairly lame chorus, made me suddenly realise that this album is not even going to come close to reaching the expectations that the first two tracks made me have for this album. I should have stuck with my original plan of comparing it to Crush as the magic of classic Bon Jovi will never be recaptured for a whole album ever again. By the time I heard the fake drum track (What’s wrong with Tico’s drumming? I hate it when bands with perfectly capable drummers do this just to sound “modern”) of the next radio friendly ballad, All About Loving you, all of my expectations of this album vanished. Much to my surprise, this ballad is decent, as the lameness of the fake drums is countered by an unexpectedly good vocal performance.

Hook Me Up follows All About Loving You and the band finally cranks up the tempo a bit, as the album was beginning to get a little too slow for my liking. However, this track is simply an average song as Bon Jovi has many more up-tempo songs that are much better. The next track, The Right Side of Wrong is yet another slow song, however this song is quite good. It’s a story-type song about two people whose families are hard up for money so they rob a bank. It’s about doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons hence the title “Right Side of Wrong”. This track seems like it would be right at home on Jon Bon Jovi’s excellent first solo album, The Young Guns II soundtrack.

The next two songs, Love Me Back To Life and You Had Me From Hello, are both second rate ballads and by now the pace of the album has slowed to a crawl. The Title track, Bounce is a short but sweet rocker that gives the album (And by now the listener) some much needed energy. It’s unfortunate that the song features so much distortion as it gives the song too much of a computerised feel. The album closes with yet another boring ballad, Open All Night, which is almost identical to the other mediocre ballads on the album.

In the end, what starts out as such a promising album ends up being rather dull and uninspiring. If Bon Jovi had combined the best songs off of Crush (plus the two extra songs on the Australian version, I Could Make a Living Out of Loving You and Neurotica), with the best songs off of Bounce, it would be an album that actually would be the best thing since New Jersey. Instead however, Bounce is merely a follow up to Crush which serves to reinforce the notion that while Bon Jovi may still be able to sell albums, they will never be able to rock like they did in the past.

Killing Songs :
Undivided, Everyday, Bounce
Shane quoted 68 / 100
Other albums by Bon Jovi that we have reviewed:
Bon Jovi - Keep The Faith reviewed by Ben and quoted 88 / 100
Bon Jovi - Lost Highway reviewed by Mike and quoted 64 / 100
Bon Jovi - New Jersey reviewed by Ben and quoted 84 / 100
Bon Jovi - Have A Nice Day reviewed by Chris and quoted 92 / 100
Bon Jovi - Crush reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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