Bon Jovi - New Jersey
Hard Rock

Release year: 1988
Bon Jovi
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

Bon Jovi is one of those bands whose music I enjoy yet I do not go crazy for like so many others. Too many songs of theirs have been played to death on the radio and because of this I can go the rest of my life without hearing Slippery When Wet and I’ll be fine. I even enjoy their nineties and modern era as a softer, blues based, commercial rock band. Despite shortcomings such as their country crossover hit Who Says You Can’t Go Home? they have still managed to release material that is above and beyond expectations with albums like Keep The Faith and These Days. New Jersey was released in 1988 hot on the heels of the massively successful Slippery When Wet. Despite selling over six million copies in the US alone and having number one hits, you will rarely find any of these tracks on the radio nowadays. When I talk to other people, especially younger fans, about Bon Jovi New Jersey is rarely brought up. It seems as though this is their forgotten eighties release that was overshadowed by what came before it and the grunge explosion that would follow.

Lay Your Hands On Me and Bad Medicine are a great one two combo to open up New Jersey. These are a couple of mid paced tracks with huge arena rock sing along choruses. Nothing too fancy but their simplicity is their strength. Born To Be My Baby however is one of those songs that I don’t even think the band knows how great it is. Perfect for those metal karaoke nights this is up tempo, fist in the air, anthemic melodic rock. It is also here where Jon Bon Jovi shows his penchant for penning Springsteen like lyrics that are easily relatable for the listener. Despite being a millionaire at this point, he manages to deliver lines like “table for two on a tv tray, it ain’t fancy baby that’s ok,” and sound believable. This style of lyricism also rears its head in the other penultimate track, Blood On Blood. Ripped straight out of the pages of working class rock n roll this songs’ lyrics tell a tale of childhood friends and their trials as troubled yet all too normal youths, culminating in a “where are they now” interlude that makes me think of the end of Fast Times At Ridgemont High every time. The flirtations with the wild west from Wanted Dead Or Alive are furthered with songs like Wild Is The Wind and Ride Cowboy Ride. While not being hits nor having a steel horse to ride, this romanticized portrayal of the cowboy / rocker image is at least unique.

New Jersey is a fan service album. It was made by the band strictly for their fans and the quality of the songs show this. More mature than Slippery When Wet yet containing all the good time elements and atmosphere. While the two releases are companion pieces to Bon Jovi’s reign as kings of the world in the late eighties I go back to New Jersey far more than I do any other release that predates it. It also would pave the way for the “serious” side of the band that would come about in the nineties. I highly recommend this one to all Bon Jovi fans, new or old, and fans of honest hard rock in general.

Killing Songs :
Born To Be My Baby, Blood On Blood, I'll Be There For You, Wild Is The Wind
Ben quoted 84 / 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 - Have A Nice Day reviewed by Chris and quoted 92 / 100
Bon Jovi - Bounce reviewed by Shane and quoted 68 / 100
Bon Jovi - Crush reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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