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4 1/2 stars--Bon Jovi for a new generation,
This review is from: Bounce (Audio CD)I initially was a bit disappointed when I heard this album simply due to the shear amount of ballads, but as time has gone on I have gotten to like this album better and better. Perhaps if I wasn't growing up when those classic, hard-rocking 1980s albums of theirs came out, I would be able to give this 5 stars. As it stands now, this one has become a favorite release of the past several months. I have read a lot of other reviews here and have to marvel at how many younger folks have listened to and liked this album. Clearly, Bon Jovi has done a good job of reinventing themselves for a whole new generation of music fans.
Now to the songs themselves. My problem with the pace of this album clearly isn't with the beginning of the album. "Undivided", the heartfelt 9/11 tribute, gets the album off to a rocking and somewhat modern-sounding start but still with the rousing Bon Jovi chorus. The second track and first single "Everyday" continues this pace with yet another amazingly catchy anthem. Then comes "The Distance", which slows the pace a bit but is still a nice, very orchestrated anthem of sorts. After that is "Joey", a piano ballad that indeed sounds a lot like Elton John's early '70s classic "Levon". While many of the older fans have criticized this, I think it is a fun, story-telling track. "Misunderstood" then comes, a decent mid-tempo song.
Here is where I begin to have a problem with the tempo of the album. While "All About Lovin' You" is a nice, heartfelt song, it is very mellow. By now, I am desperately craving a rocker, which does come with the next track in "Hook Me Up". While this is the weakest of the rockers on this album, it is still a fun and catchy track and again a bit modern. But then...another sappy ballad comes in "Right Side Of Wrong". Again, there is nothing wrong with this track in that it is another heartfelt song, but I am now again craving a rocker.
The next track, "Love Me Back To Life", is not that needed rocker, but at least the pace increases close to mid-tempo. This is a solid track very similar to "The Distance" earlier in the album. But then...oh no...another emotional ballad in "You Had Me From Hello". Again, I like this track on its own, but it just kills the pace of the album.
Finally, at track 11, a true rocker comes again, the title track. This is more like it! A rocker again with that modern sound but impossibly catchy chorus. This sounds a lot like "It's My Life" from the previous Bon Jovi album "Crush", but it stands on its own as a great rocker. This may be my favorite track on the album. However, yet another slow ballad comes after this in "Open All Night". This song is okay but in my opinion the weakest of the ballads on this album, and surely it is not the best way to end the album.
I really do wish this album had at least two more rockers on it replacing ballads. Nonetheless, the more I listen to this album the more I like it. Even with my whining about the number of ballads, I can't help but like the album overall. 4 1/2 stars may seem a bit high of a mark considering my complaints about the pace of the album in spots, but it is a true reflection about how much I now enjoy listening to this album. Clearly, this album is an interesting hybrid of about 20 years of Bon Jovi's now-legendary sound.