This Blog is for all of you, who enjoy Rock and Metal music like I do (especially the more melodic side with all its subgenres). Check it out for the latest CD-Reviews, Live-Reports, Interviews and much more if you are interested in Melodic Rock/Metal!
It's all about having fun here, so please feel free to comment and share my stuff. Thank you!

Friday, March 8, 2013

CD-Review: Bon Jovi - "What About Now"

It took them nearly 4 years to record a new album, but now they are finally back: the rock legends of New Jersey - Bon Jovi.
The band promised that their new record "What About Now" will be a "big rock record" ... but they said this a hundred times before with each new longplayer. So what can we really expect? Let's find out!

First of all I want to clarify some things: When it comes to Bon Jovi-die-hard-fans, there is the phenomenon that everyone, who dares to criticize this band, is equally hated and is bombarded with indignant comments.
I've to say I AM a fan of this band since many, many years now and I know every single song of this band - so I know what I'm talking about and no one can call me "hater" or something like that. I'm not this sort of fan, who automatically love everything what the band is doing, just because it's one of my favorite bands. I'm a fan, who also critically analyzes all that stuff. So please keep that in mind when you are reading the next lines!

With Bon Jovi it's always (at least in the last 13 years) like some kind of double-edged sword: I love everythig what the band produced in the 80's/90's and  I also like lots of their new stuff, but at the same time there are so much things to complain about since "Crush". So each time when I listen to a new Bon Jovi record, I'm very excited.
But enough with the talking, it's time to check "What About Now".

The production was handled again by John Shanks ... and damn, I've cursed this man in the last 9 years for his bad pop-productions. He polished every edge, Bon Jovi had on Bounce (think of "Undivided" or "Everyday" - those were real rockers). I was hoping they would finally change their producer, but this isn't the case and so we get a typical Shanks-production again, which sounds more like pop than rock and is very, very polished, although the guitarsound is slightly more rough and the mix is a bit better. Nevertheless Tico Torres' drums still sound like they were recorded with a drum-computer ... always the same rythm. Shanks should listen to the production of the new Shakra-album. Then he would know what a "big rock record" is all about!  So soundwise it's solid work, no more - no less.

"What About Now" kicks off with the first single "Because We Can" and I was a bit shocked when I heard this song for the first time, because of his big pop-appeal. After a few listens I like this one very much - it's a typical Bon Jovi feel-good-number, which is catchy as hell. I love the guitar-line here, although the solo is recycled from "Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen from Mars". You can say what you want about this band, but they still know how to write big arena-anthems - and this is one of them. Will work pretty well on stage, but you have to get involved with the fact that the band is now a pop-rock/melodic rock group, which is far away from their hard rock roots. If you can accept this, than you'll get an enjoyable album in most parts.
"I'm With You" is a little highlight with great atmosphere and a real kick-ass guitar-solo from Richie Sambora. This rocks!
The following title track "What About Now" leaves also a smile on my face with it's great chorus, although the whole song reminds me a bit at "Lost Highway".
"Pictures Of You" is also a very good song with great guitar-work and nice harmonies.
Bon Jovi slow down with the first real ballad, called "Amen". Seems to be the Bon Jovi version of the famous song "Hallelujah" and has lots of emotions in it. Jon handles the high notes pretty good, which is not obvious, because he lost a lot of his vocal range in the last years. Jon Bon Jovi was one of the best singers with powerfull performances, but his voice has worn off. He still has a unique sound and makes a pretty good figure on this new album, but I miss the power he had a long time ago. For sure, this is the natural wear, but a Richie Sambora sounds much stronger nowadays. Therefore I'm very pleased that his voice is also very present throughout the entrie album. You notice this especially on the accustic ballad "The Fighter" This one lives from the harmonies between Richie and Jon.

"That's What The Water Made Me" is one of my absolutely highlights on "What About Now". What a terrific chorus with great choirs. This one reminds me a little, little bit at the Bon Jovi songs from the older days.
Next song "What's Left Of Me" seems to be the little brother of "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night". You see, Bon Jovi copied a lot this time, but at least this record sounds like Bon Jovi and not like any other band. When I listened to "The Circle" four years ago, I thought I bought an U2-album!

"Army Of One" is the first big disappointment - this song sounds way too bulky, and the lyrics ... oh my god, let me tell you something about the lyrics in general. Everytime they tell the same story: "Never Give Up", "Hold On", "Live Your Life", "A Shoulder To Lean on" .... I can't hear it anymore. It's nice to give the listeners a positive vibe, but there must be something different, which is worthy to write and sing about. Those lyrics on "What About Now" are just recycled from "Crush", "Have A Nice Day", "Lost Highway" and "The Circle". And of course the band sings again about the poor hard-working class but at the end of the day it all seems like a big lie, if you are imagine that Bon Jovi require ticket prices beyond good and evil for their shows. You'll also find lots of political influences and pathos, but why so serious? This band is well-known for their fun-rockers and power-ballads, so why they take themselves so serious now?

Let's get back to the songs: "Thick As Thieves" is a ballad, which is a grower to me. It builds up lots of tension till the end and this is the only ballad on this album which thrills me a bit.
"Beautiful World"  is another feel-good rocker, which I like very much.
And now comes the big break: till the end we get one ballad after the other. "Room At The End Of The World", "Old Habits Die Hard" and "Not Running Anymore" sound so irrelevant and boring to me. It's a shame! Some girls will now say "No, Jon sings so emotional, it's so romantic, he is such a sweet guy", but hey - be honest to yourself. These songs are nothing compared to other ballads this band has written. "I'll Be There For You", "Bed Of Roses", "Always", "Thank You For Loving Me", even "Superman Tonight" were much better. The new ballads are good if you want to go to sleep, but rarely more.
Beside them there is another ballad at the end: "The Fighter", at least this is a good one. The only exception is "These To Hands" - this is a mid-tempo rocker, but this song can't rescue the last third of this album from the insignifiance.
Fortunately most of the ballad-over-kill is just optional, because these songs are only part of the deluxe version of "What About Now". Therefore it doesn't affect my final rating too much.

The Deluxe-Version closes with Richies' song "Every Road leads Home to You", which was the first single of his solo record last year. I think it was a good idea to put it on here, to promote Richies' solo work a bit more. Speaking about my personal guitar hero I just can say, I still love the way he plays guitar. It's the unmistakable Richie-style you'll also find here on this album, although it's very sad that he has not enough space to play long giutar solos in most of the songs. Richie has so much more to offer, if someone would let him do things the way he wants to do them. Please listen to his latest work "Aftermath Of The Lowdown". This one is highly recomanded, because on here Richie shows that he really wants to rock!

So folks, this was a pretty long Review this time, but there was so much to say and I don't wanted to be superficial. It's very hard to give a final rating here. In most parts my review refers to the standard version of this album and I can only recommand this one to you. You don't need the deluxe-version! If I would include the songs of the deluxe edition you could easily pull off a few points. It's the same when it comes to your own expectations. If you can accept the fact that Bon Jovi will never return to their origin sound you'll get a pretty good album here with only two or three little fillers and a good band performance. If you can't, then you won't be happy with this album. So all in all "What About Now" is a solid record, which is better than "The Circle" and delivers a bunch of hits. With much benevolence I give this a seven out of ten. From the perspective of a die-hard-fan of the "Pre-"Crush"-era" and speaking about the deluxe-version it would be only a five out of ten ... and now let the backlash begin. ;)



01. Because we Can *
02. I'm With You *
03. What About Now *
04. Pictures Of You *
05. Amen
06. That's What The Water Made Me *
07. What's Left Of Me *
08. Army Of One
09. Thick As thieves
10. Beautiful World
11. Room At The end Of The World
12. The Fighter
13. With These Two Hands (deluxe version bonus track)
14. Not Running Anymore (deluxe version bonus track)
15. Old Habits die Hard (deluxe version bonus track)
16. Every Road Leads Home To You (deluxe version bonus track)

* best tracks


  1. well written , agree with most of your points, an 80's hard rock Bon jovi style record is never gonna happen bare that in mind and its not to bad.

  2. Yeah, this is a great review!! But you can't blame these guys for "recycling" the lyrics, remember that they wrote around 1000 songs for the last 30 years, of course they can't write lyrics as good as they did in 80's and 90's..

    As for the album, my favorite song is I'm With You. In my opinion it's probably their best song since Have A Nice Day.

  3. Hey!

    yes, I know they have written lots of stuff and this point hasn't affect the final rating too much - I just wanted to mention, because I don't notice this "recycling" so strong in other bands.

    By the way: great to have rational conversation! ;)

    1. Try the last year's trilogy by Green Day, though they didn't recycled the lyrics, but the music :D (Give Me Novacaine - Lazy Bones), (East Jesus Nowhere - Makeout Party)...

  4. Concert boring, album dull, singer sings in long running sentences live, stage show zzzzzz, when you don't replace your bass player with a full time member your not a band, you're a glorified solo artist, you disowned the music we love from the 80's and all the bands you toured with, you kissed Bruce Springsteen on tv, you're a phony and you're an absolute bire live, have a nice day.

    1. Truth. Should be Alec, they were a real rock star.

    2. Agree.
      Whats happened to Bon Jovi.?
      While bands like EUROPE are rocking so hard , Bon jovi is singing cradle songs

  5. Good review. Yes, the problem is the producer. But you forgot to remember that Shanks said on twitter that "I do what the artist wants". Sad.

    I think Richie are far away than ever. You may not like Circle, but it's much more rocker and I hate U2.

    Try to listen Circle with opened heart.

  6. I like "The Circle" - it had its moments, but some stuff felt not so much like Bon Jovi, although there were more rockers on it.

  7. i am very disappointed about Bon Jovi This is a good album as Lost highway was too. But, When i listen this kind of albums, i can not listen Bon jovi sound.. Bon jovi never was the heaviest band , but was an awesome glam metal band. Whit great riffs and great voice and screams.. No I am sad about Bon jovi music.. One day he said "we always will be a Glam metal band" after Crush album .. But now.. what kind of rock are they? Crush & bounce were great albums , And after that they released good albums . but not Bon jovi albums.

  8. ""Beautiful World" is another feel-good rocker, which I like very much" ??
    Beautiful World is based on "How Far We've Come" by Matchbox 20

  9. I don't listen to Matchbox 20 so often, so I don't know every single song. But you are right - after listening to it the similarities are obvious.

  10. Hello there,

    About Bonjovi is always a FIRE topic, some hate it, some love it.
    I am big fan of the band, sadly they dont do the big hits like in the 80´s and 90´s but John stills a great frontman.
    About this record I think is more of the same, some good songs, some will fade along the way.
    My favorite tracks:

    04. Pictures Of You * - great song
    05. Amen - power ballad
    08. Army Of One - one that growns each time I hear
    09. Thick As thieves - my favorite... amazing song!

    When you buy bonjovi record we need to forget the past and accept the present direction of the band... I think they will never do another super album again :)

  11. Thanks you, Thomas (I am your new Facebook friend).
    I am "new" Bon Jovi fan: since 2010. I love more past releases (since 1999) and some old hits stuff. I am 23 year old. :) When see Bon Jovi firstly with It's My Life clip: guys do not like to me. I buy after 10 years a Greatest Hits album in Target Deluxe edition: i like this band now. Past 2-3 year i listen Bon Jovi very often and buy more copies 2000' albums (that bonus tracks find :))

    I see & listen in firstly single Because We Can & same videoclip. This is very like for me.
    After released What About Now: i buy this single also. This song is like one my best BJ stuff – Lost Highway.
    I preorder album also on iTunes in deluxe edition and deluxe СD in Japan a with 17 tracks and Big poster (is very nice to me!).
    When i listen full deluxe album in release date, i asked yourself «This is Bon Jovi?», «Where is their Rock!?».
    I listen album sometimes a few times, but the most new tracks had (except Because We Can & What About Now, which as single more time heard) bad for me. I like more song I'm With You and nothing more. After 4 track all songs is really trash! And where is really drummer Tiсo Torres on songs??? We hear only drum machine!?
    But i is big BJ fan i still listen album more & more. After few week i received Japan CD. This album would liked for me better!
    That's What The Water Made Me, Beautiful World, Room At The End Of The World (with David Bryan keyboard solo), With These Two Hands is not bad songs, like stuff from The Circle/Have A Nice Day/etc. (i.e. past albums). In Japan CD i receive exlusively song Into The Echo – this is very cool stuff! This is one of best song on album for me!
    Along in deluxe version of album had a Richie and Jon solo songs. Two Jon Bon Jovi song had very boring for me: i was falling asleep. But Richie with Every Road Leads Home To You had very INCREDIBLE for me! First class lead guitars and vocals! I do not listen Richie solo album for What About Now release, but after i listen Sambora tracks on BJ album, I wanted to buy Aftermath Of The Lowdown (firstly buy digital copy, but this album is Great, after buy Japan deluxe СD). [i recommended to all!]
    In first two month i hear album very often, after i came to Circle album re- listen (i made this 1,5 year since spring 2013).

    In principle What About Now is liked for me. On CD all have find some Good stuff! I recommend to buy.

    P.S. «What's Left Of Me" seems to be the little brother of "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night» – This is right. I hear many times Someday I'll Be Saturday Night on Greatest album, but this is no come in my mind! Like it! :)