Review: Bon Jovi – What About Now
Published on March 25th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
For starters, that title should end with a question mark – but then, this is the man/band that once released an album called This Left Feels Right. Bon Jovi’s latest album What About Now is proof positive, if any were needed, that “Livin’ on a Prayer” was a total fluke.
“Nothing changes” sings yer man on the depressing “Wonderwall”-meets-Baywatch of “I’m With You”, and as much as evident straight from the off when “Because We Can” gets things underway with big ’80s drums and chanting. “I wanna be the one you run to when you need a shoulder / I ain’t a soldier but I’m here to take a stand because we can” we are informed on this opening track – it’s not entirely clear what Jon Bon Jovi is taking a stand against, but he does boast that his “love can move a mountain” so he’s clearly got confidence in his ability to effect change. It’s also very clever of him to have noticed the similarity between the words ‘shoulder’ and ‘soldier’: that’s, like, art. Man.
Rocksucker genuinely laughed out loud at the singing in the chorus of the title track – it really is lolworthy, in the parlance of our times, and the track sounds overall like a stadium rock Cast – while “Pictures of You” sounds sufficiently like The Killers as to be quite, quite ghastly. “Amen” is a schmaltzy acoustic ballad that wants to be “Hallelujah” so badly but lands far closer to Wet Wet Wet, the line “what else can I say?” proving impossible not to elicit the thought “not a lot, Jon, not a lot”.
The introductory “bay-beh, bay-beh, bay-beh!” of “That’s What the Water Made Me” provides our second ‘genuine lol’ moment, “What’s Left of Me” was never much to begin with (dig the mention of a “punk rock BA-YUND!”), “Army of One” is the aural equivalent of a bloated American getting all teary-eyed while watching Top Gun, while “Thick as Thieves” is a ‘moving’ piano ballad that sounds like a crapper version of Cher’s version of “Walking in Memphis”, or a much much much crapper version of Ben Folds 5’s “Brick”.
“Every day is the same” from “Beautiful World” strikes a chord with the immediate impression it creates of “oh for crying out loud, not this chord progression again”: at this point it strikes Rocksucker that you could imagine Cartman singing these songs, and it being cryingly funny. Come to think of it, Bon Jovi make for prime South Park ripping material: have they ‘done’ them yet, so to speak?
Funnily enough, delicately fingerpicked final track “The Fighter” sounds alright, but then it would seem positively resplendent in the wake of such a barrage of utter toss. It’s too little too late, Bon Jovi – a last-minute consolation goal in a 7-1 defeat, if you will – but at least it makes for four minutes and thirty-seven seconds of not completely horrible music out of the 51.36 running time. There’s a bonus track called “Old Habits Die Hard” – no need for a punchline there – and another called “With These Two Hands” that features the line “I could blow a kiss, I could kick your ass”. Give ’em hell, Bon Jovi! When it comes to rocking songs about hands, though, we’d urge you to listen to “My Own Bare Hands” by Ween instead.
We actually feel dirty for having mentioned the great Ween in an article about Bon Jovi. Sorry, Ween.
Rocksucker says: One Quail out of Five!
What About Now is out now on Mercury. For more information, please visit the official Bon Jovi website.