I guess Bon Jovi were due for a new "hits" CD. Crossroads, after all, is 16 years old now and Tokyo Road was only made available in Japan. Ultimate Collection isn't the ultimate collection that I personally made a couple years ago (I included some awesome less-known tunes such as "Last Cigarette" and "Something For The Pain") but it truly is not a bad Bon Jovi collection. Listening to it front-to-back, I was pleasantly reminded of all these hits, and man, Bon Jovi had a lot of hits. From early stuff like "Runaway" to the great lost classics such as "Born To Be My Baby", to the newbies like "Have A Nice Day", this has pretty much all the key Bon Jovi radio hits. Sure, you're going to miss out on second-rung hits like "Dry County" and "Joey" but for the unitiated, or those who just want a great Bon Jovi collection, this is the place to go.
Almost every Bon Jovi album has hits included here, right up to The Circle. The song flow is excellent, hitting you with hit after hit after hit, landmark ballads sprinkled in between. And I give credit for the inclusion of "Blood On Blood", a song that was never a single but has been a huge concert favourite due to its real life story of JBJ's childhood. Not to mention it's just a great song.
The four new songs create feelings of moderate indifference to great dislike. "What Do You Got?" is another trademark Bon Jovi ballad, certainly nothing special, outshined to a great degree by all the other tunes here. Easily forgettable and feeling tacked-on as an afterthought. But two of these new songs -- "No Apologies" and "The More Things Change" are just awful songs. Cheesey, contrived, choose whatever words you like, they're juvenile and awful and really don't fit in among the classier hits. To me these are B-sides and perhaps should have been held back as B-sides.
Packaging is not the greatest. There are full songwriting and production credits, but they are arranged in such a way as to make finding information difficult. Performance credits are even harder to find -- I couldn't find bassists Hugh McDonald or Alec John Such's names anywhere in the credits, and their pictures are also not included. There are a few more recent photos of the main four guys. No liner notes.
On the whole, despite the fact that I don't really like the four new songs, I don't regret this purchase. It's going to be a great road CD. It is a good way to hear tunes like "We Weren't Born To Follow" without listening to the album it came from, which I wasn't too keen on. So no regrets. I think most fans will like the album, they might even like the new songs, and newcomers would be wise to pick this up as it has a great hit-per disc ratio!