Bon Jovi: What About Now

Posted March 28, 2013 by in Rock



2/ 5


Producer: , ,
Genre: Rock
Producer: John Shanks, Richie Sambora, Jon Bon Jovi
Label: Island
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 51:36
Release Date: 8 March 2013
Spin This: "I'm With You," "Pictures of You"


There's a fist pumper with "Because We Can" and a tender ballad in "I'm With You"


Nosedives into conventional Nashville MOR hammers away at the Bon Jovi aesthetic

Twelfth studio album from Bon Jovi seems to be leaning on a prayer

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Twelfth studio album from Bon Jovi seems to be leaning on a prayer; hardly living on one

Let’s come to grips with the fact that ‘80’s rock band Bon Jovi is aging. In case you didn’t know, we all are. And with most rock bands like Bon Jovi that reach their golden zenith and coast their way to its fade, the music usually starts to falter. What About Now is the latest disc to follow the 2009 over-hyped The Circle, which dipped deep into the heartland rock of Bruce Springsteen and the Southern rock of Bob Seger. Some of that formula abounds here, but there’s an apparent Nashville-like pop gloss hovering over much of the selections. And it’s probably because frontman Jon Bon Jovi isn’t able to belt out those “Livin’ on a Prayer” high notes or remotely interested in chasing down a trove of beach babes, so he settles for MOR rock that appropriately fits his newly-adapted lower and huskier voice. And there’s no better example of Jovi owning up to this epiphany than the album’s kick starter, “Because We Can.” On this safe rehash of Springsteen allegiance, he is sending out cheery inspiration to his faithful 40-and-up fans, while also sounding like he’s rallying around a Barack Obama PSA: “I ain’t a solider but I’m here to take a stand/Because we can.”

But Bon Jovi gives in to many of the Nashville traps, as the glorification of sultry strings and adult-contemporary soft spots eat away at the core of the Bon Jovi aesthetic. Sure, the heartfelt “Amen” is a pretty decent tune, but it’s a bit soft and mundane for the Jersey crew. And the overabundance of songs like “Thick as Thieves,” “Room at the End of the World” and the gentle Americana of “The Fighter” with Jovi settling for Smallville pop, brings on a lackadaisical feel to the disc. The band does find a little edge when they tackle on U2 arena rock (“Pictures of You,” “Into the Echo”) and churn out the gritty passion ballad “I’m With You,” but it’s hard to appreciate those good spots when there’s so much tepidness drowning it out.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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