Bon Jovi’s self-titled 1984 debut record Bon Jovi did more than just introduce one of music’s biggest bands to the mainstage, but it also breathed life into an iconic genre.Read More
No one can replicate the old, feel good vibes of rock nowadays like Bon Jovi can. The group has been pumping out tunes for over three decades now, and their thirteenth record This House Is Not For Sale doesn't change that.
The album's start is huge. Three massive tracks introduce the record with feel good, massive rock vibes. Immediately giving the album some punch is title track 'This House Is Not For Sale,' the bluesy, twangy guitar riffs leading the track with confidence while powerful drums lead the track with loads of drive. It's a feel good drive and makes you want to take a drive down a highway with the windows open - the sign of a good, classic rock track. The big gang vocals cry "I'm coming home" in the choruses, empowering the listener and emphasizing the importance of your roots. 'Living With The Ghosts' continues the momentum set by the first track, the same power present with a bit more restriction and sweeter instrumentation. Instead of pure powerchords, the guitar rings high and with hope in the choruses, piano chords giving atmosphere to track before they become the only instrument playing as the bridge provides a reprieve and builds back up to big heights.
'Knockout' brings out a more alternative and modern rock sound from the band. Jon Bon Jovi's vocals have a slight lo-fi effect to them as the first verse plays through, the percussion pounding powerfully, pairing with the bassline. The intro features some epic stadium vibes, the falsetto vocals and edgy guitar begging for a powerful followup. The first verse doesn't offer that, but the moment finally happens at the end of the track as the part takes the song out on a strong note. Much of the album doesn't have quite the same energy, but a quick burst of the power is brought back near the back of the record with 'We Don't Run.' The badass vibes of the vocals bring back the power and big vibes from the track, the expansive choruses sounding high and powerful.
The problem following that the rest of the album has beyond these tracks is that nothing really reaches the heights that these songs do. There are plenty of notable moments, but none of them having much of a lasting effect. The softer moments on the record, 'Labor Of Love' and 'Real Love,' are chill but definitely mess up the momentum. 'Labor' comes in right after 'Knockout,' eliminating the drive of the three tracks before it. 'Real Love' breaks off what little momentum the rest of the album has, and even while it's sweet, it's basically everything 'Labor Of Love' does better.
The rockier on the tracks on the album don't offer much up, either. Songs like 'God Bless The Mess' and 'Roller Coaster' give some country grit to the record, while others like 'The Devil's In The Temple' gives punchier tones. Both tracks are good, but they don't quite reach a satisfying high. There are some electrifying guitar solos throughout the album, namely in 'Born Again Tomorrow,' but the rest of the songs don't quite support the energy that the solos have. The album ends sweetly, but not well. As 'Goodnight New York' ends, it feels like something should come after it. It sounds like a U2 song, not a closing track.
Bon Jovi hasn't lost energy, but they don't have quite the impact they could have. They put all of their eggs into one basket - the eggs being the standout tracks and the basket being the first part of the record. Nothing really follows through in a satisfying way after the album gets going, but the good vibes carry on throughout. It's a great record for a summer drive, but not quite so for a satisfying listen. Roll the windows down and jam out to this one if you can, but otherwise, don't expect too much else besides some standard tunes.
Favorite Tracks: Knockout, This House Is Not For Sale, Living With The Ghost
Least Favorite Tracks: Goodnight New York, Real Love
Rating: 73 / 100