I’ve been a biiiig fan of Bon Jovi for about ten years now, ever since my sister gave me her copy of Crush (which she still maintains to this day she must have received as a free gift from a magazine or something, because there’s no way she’d ever spend money on a Bon Jovi album, ever. A good attempt at a cover up, except we all know that albums from bands as big as Bon Jovi never get given away as free gifts). Anyway, during those ten years I’ve experienced eight gigs (including the opening night of the O2 and their amazing Hard Rock Calling gig in Hyde Park), four album releases, a documentary and a book full of very pretty pictures. Last summer was the first summer since I turned sixteen when I didn’t get to see Jon and the boys in concert at least once (they took a well earned break after two back-to-back albums and two and a half year tours), but I can happily report that I will be seeing them at least once this summer (in Cardiff), although I do also have my sights set on a ticket to their next Hyde Park gig.
This week saw the release of their latest studio album, What About Now, which I was obviously terribly excited about. Ever since Have A Nice Day was announced (the first album release I experienced and waited for), I have spent the days leading up to new albums frantically checking the post and hoping my pre-order would accidentally arrive early, and then dancing around the house in excitement when it finally arrived. I still shudder to think about the release of Lost Highway, when Amazon didn’t even post my copy until the actual release date and I had to wait literally DAYS after everyone else for my first listen. It was a dark time.
I tend to avoid reading reviews and things of Bon Jovi albums, because I do love them so but I’ve noticed over the years that they are increasingly becoming a Marmite band – you either love them or you hate them. I am firmly in the love camp (big surprise), but as the years have gone by there’s been increasing grumbles from the hate camp that they’re sell-outs and have constantly deteriorated since their ‘80s heyday (obviously the ‘80s albums were fabulous, but I also personally maintain that some of their best (and my favourite) albums are actually from the ‘90s). To be honest, I couldn’t really care less if other people don’t like what I like, because as long as it continues to make me happy, that’s kind of all that matters, isn’t it? And they do continue to make me happy, and I’d like to think (and I’m actually pretty certain of it), that they will never stop making me happy.
However, this does pose a bit of a problem when it comes to reviewing What About Now. I sort of feel like a lot of my friends and family would be expecting me to review it, as I’ve always been such a vocal fan. Actually, when I first said I was going to start a review blog, a lot of my friends and family took the piss and said what’s the point, I’ll just spend the whole time raving about Bon Jovi all the time (which, up until this point, you’ll notice I haven’t actually done). But the thing is, this does ultimately lead to the question of bias. I don’t want to say that What About Now was rubbish, because I don’t think it was. But if I say I liked it and write positive things, everyone will just assume it’s my usual fangirlishness and dismiss it as a load of biased tripe, and this did lead me to a bit of a dilemma. I don’t really want to overlook the album completely, but I’ve decided that the best thing for me to say is absolutely nothing at all, except that it’s put a smile on my face. And really, these days, that’s kind of all I ask from music.
So, although I am more than happy to reaffirm my undying love for my favourite band, don’t expect to ever see their albums being reviewed on here. I shall stick to enjoying them privately, and will always look forward to any new material. But I would also like to point out that gigs and solo efforts are a different matter, and that any gig I go to will, of course, always be reviewed. You should also definitely expect Richie’s latest album to feature on here soonish.
See previous Music Review (which really is an actual review), featuring Slash’s Apocalyptic Love.