on May 15, 2004
You know an album is great when it sounds better every time you hear it. I picked "New Jersey" up on audio cassette for a dollar, and it was my introduction to Bon Jovi. Now I own 3 Bon Jovi albums, and I love them all.
"New Jersey" is different than the other albums I own ("Slippery When Wet", "Crush"). It feels more like a concert than an album. Whether it was intentional or not, the songs just flow nicely from one to another. The first two songs kind of get you going, though they're kind of repetitive and more of a "warm up" to the rest of the album. Then, with an authoritative "1, 2, 3, 4", the drums come in and "Born to be My Baby" opens. Then the album hits its stride. "Living in Sin" follows...it's beautifully written and sung, and shows off the band's ability to harmonize. If you have the cassette, like me, the 1st side finishes with "Blood on Blood", a high energy song about the band members' wild boyhood.
But if I could only have one side (speaking in tape terms again), it would be the second side. "Homebound Train" opens, continuing the energy that the first side ended with, and then comes "Wild is the Wind", a passionate and upbeat song about what it feels like to be seperated from the one you love. Then comes the mono, record-like recording of "Ride, Cowboy, Ride". It sounds kind of weak, but I'm still glad it's there, because it makes "Stick to Your Guns" sound that much cooler when it kicks in with it loud drums and beautiful chords. What follows is probably the best song on the album, "I'll Be There for You". I don't know how to describe its greatness, other than to say that it's the song that all of us guys wish we could sing (if we had Jon Bon Jovi's voice) to that one girl who we love, but never seems to love us in return. And just when you think the song is done, it hits its key change, and you'll just sit back and breathe a sigh. It's that cool.
The last couple of songs on the album aren't that special, but they kind of serve the purpose of "letting you down easy" so that you're actually ready to let the album stop playing. "99 in the Shade" is a fun song, but nothing special. The last song, "Love for Sale" isn't really a song, and you'll hate it at first, but after a couple of times, you'll start to find it funny, and you'll like the way it literally finishes the album off with one of the Bon Jovis requesting that they just "say the record is done".
This album may not be for everyone, but it's still undoubtedly a great album, and one of the reasons I still have a cassette player in my house. Give it a try.
on May 9, 2004
I have heard "yeah I USED to be into that back in the day" or "I probably still have a copy floating around somewhere" with regards to this album (or possibly GNR's Illusions albums) more than any other piece of work. Again, perhaps you are beginning to notice a thematic motif streaming through all my reviews: WELL WHAT ABOUT BEETHOVEN??????? It's about the most difficult, grandiose, and (unnecessary?) thing to do in the world, compare the New Jersey album to the .... 7th Beethoven Symphony, let's say.... but given I live in America, my freedom of speech is going to let me get on with the idea anyway.
Nobody says "yeah man back in the day, the late works of Brahms." Why is the 80's such a long time ago, and why has it been that way ever since 1993?
Well, ranking with "Keep the Faith," "Blaze of Glory," and "Use your Illusion II", this fool shall now stick his neck out and put this album on the highest throne - potentially pushing the buttons of many... or maybe not?
Upon becoming millionaires in the prime party time of your life, first of all, a huge hat's off these guys for actually feeling like making a masterpiece after "Slippery." The latter album was great, but from a musical standpoint, there was a career with tenure to be established. When applying the business sense of using "the formula to sell", combined with musical talent and significant productivity in the composition department (oh, and a human soul, almost forgot that one), I never have heard a band who has been able to split the difference and play the game to get their point across, better (except for maybe Queen).
I was 10 when I first heard "I'll be there for You", so I'll admit I was somewhat brought into the game of record marketing for the masses... yet still, from day one, I was quite remarkably MORE hooked into Jovi than ANYTHING else that was going on. I didn't even get into Guns till after Nirvana made them "untrendy" and "embarrassing" to listen to.
The hooks? The production? The buisness sense? Sure! But STILL, for God's sake, let's not forget that BON JOVI'S "NEW JERSEY" also has AMAZING SONGWRITING AND MUSICIANSHIP. Although I am no enemy of the power ballad, I would still like to say that "I'll be There for You" is probably the best one (maybe because it's actually a song, not just a power ballad, all ye pigeonholers out there) ever written. Amazing lyrics, immensely tasteful fills by Richie in between all the vocals, and amazingly tastefully guitar solo... and that modulation (or more like tonal shift) into E at the outro chorus! ... or in the case of this song, one of the guys in the band went, "you know I think we may have something here if we take this song to the key of God." All who want to cry "music nerd," bring it on, I'm ready. Just stay away from Dream Theater because it probably has too much brain for you. This is why I love Bon Jovi more than anything, though... they have brains to overplay, which is telepathically communicated to us in their songs, but they know that they need to reach out to people, or their mission is pointless - and although I'd like to see the current Jovi go back to a little more jamming and going off, I do understand their situation. So, realizing they have the lowest B.S. content of any humans in the world, they put their hearts on tape - and into the lives of others.
But the real gem/masterpiece/lackofwordsforsuchasong is "Stick to Your Guns." The key and chord progressions, being directly before "I'll be There For You," may be somewhat exhausting to the listener... but.... I guess that's okay in this case, given that two of the greatest musical compositions ever written are right next to each other. I didn't even think about the whole cowboy ripoff thing till people started bringing it up SINCE the year 2002. If you get to what the song is really saying, you'll find you can stop attacking JBJ for the "cliche's." You know, I have a philosophy: Cliche's are only cliche's because they are so true, and frequently recurring themes in life. Some people out there just can't handle repetition. I will concede, however, there is a fine line between monotonous simplicity and justified "in the pocket" repetition.
But enough about the greatest songs ever written, that just happen to appear on New Jersey. "Wild is the Wind" rips your heart out and makes you bleed, "Blood on Blood" is on the borderline between anthem and epic, which develops so perfectly you forget over 6 minutes has gone by, "Living in Sin" and "Born to Be My Baby" could be considered some of the best stuff ever written WHEN you are in the proper mood, and "Love for Sale" is one of the first huge posters that read "STOP IT WITH THE HAIRMETAL LABELS" before the term HAIRMETAL was even a big deal. What? Diversity? An 80's band? That is correct.
This is an amazing album that will be on your moderate to heavy rotation list all your life, if you are not stubborn enough to fall into the "It had its day" category of obstinate human beings that dwell amongst us. It may never sell more than "Slippery" just because there are too many people that go "Dude, the original is classic, you can't argue with the classic", but in a perfect world *sigh* it would atleast have longterm critical acclaim. If you are listening to Matchbox 20, Creed, Dave Matthews, Barenaked Ladies *shudder* or,... I don't know what, but if you think what you listen to is good music and you don't even own this album... AND there were a literal God of Rock and Roll somewhere, then you, my friend, may be committing a mild sin. But religion is about forgiveness, so ... if you turn your computer off right now and go get it (or order it here right now).... maybe I can convince God to look the other way just long enough....
Anyone who doesn't think this review is completely pretensious: EMAIL ME.
on December 20, 2003
Solid. Pure Gold. DIAMOND certification, and as precious as a ruby. No other band but Van Halen could match such talents (as far as musicianship, attitude, and songwriting skills go) to make such a priceless album. Although, only one track lightly displeases me (Love For Sale, which isn't all that bad when it comes to Jon's vocals), and I understand why 'Ride Cowboy Ride' is on there (to boost and introduce 'Stick To Your Guns'). Here's my personal and specific rating for every track:
1. Lay Your Hands On Me - ****, One of the most memorable rock beats and lyrics of late and of old.
2. Bad Medicine - *****, Simply the second best song in music history, only second to a track off of Bon Jovi's first album.
3. Born To Be My Baby - ****, one of the better tracks in Bon Jovi's history, to say the least, considering David's
4. Living In Sin - ****, Definatly one of the best rock choruses of all time
5. Blood On Blood - *****, Clearly a rock classic about childhood and early adulthood
6. Homebound Train - ****, Truly shows just how talented these musicians are, especially Ritchie with the opening and continuing riff
7. Wild Is The Wind - ****, A great, powerful & wistful power ballad that with be stuck in your head for weeks (and that's a good thing)
8. Ride Comboy Ride - (explained in top part of review)
9. Stick To Your Guns - ****, a spectactular acousic-electric collaboration, not to mention Jon's excellent vocals
10. I'll Be There For You - *****, quite possibly the greatest rock ballad known to man, including the distinctive acoustic guitar intro and outros
11. 99 In The Shade - ***, a great intro, but when the beat changes from a supposed 3/4 rhythm to 4/4 rhythm, and Jon comes in...well, you get the point.
12. Love For Sale - (explained in top part of review)
on February 4, 2004
NEW JERSEY is Bon Jovi's second megahit following SLIPPERY WHEN WET(the band's first megahit) released in 1986. Two years later,this album brought big hits such as BAD MEDICINE,LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME,I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU,LIVING IN SIN and BORN TO BE MY BABY(the latter two were not recycled for the CROSSROAD compilation). RIDE COWBOY RIDE was recorded in mono. That's because the song was originally recorded on a monaural cassette recorder. All the other songs are good. NEW JERSEY is where all 5 Bon Jovi members hail from. In fact,I'm a NEW JERSEY native myself. Two years after this album was released,frontman Jon Bon Jovi(Bongiovi) recorded and released BLAZE OF GLORY for the movie "Young Guns II". That song would appear on the CROSSROAD compilation released in 1994. The group would release their next album KEEP THE FAITH in 1992,which was not a big hit like NEW JERSEY and SLIPPERY WHEN WET.
on July 5, 2004
While maybe a bit shallow lyrically, "New Jersey" is still loads of 80's rock-fun. The album is pretty strong from the beginning to the end, and is loaded with catchy melody hooks, and powerful choruses. It's loaded with extremely polished and mainstream radio-friendly songs. A great album to sit down and unwind to.....or go crazy, whichever you prefer.
Jon and Richie wrote some songs by themselves, on others they had some professional help.
My personal favorite (both melodically and lyrically) is "Wild is the Wind". It's an Awesome and Powerful song with a Great mellow intro. It was co-written by the always great composer Diane Warren.
And of course the great Desmond Child co-wrote some Powerful and Catchy anthems here. These are "Bad Medicine", "Born to be My baby" and "Blood on Blood". All are 100% Hits.
Jon single-handedly wrote the beautiful ballad "Living in Sin", and together with Richie he wrote another great ballad "I'll be there for You". Also Richie and Jon wrote "Lay Your hands on Me", "Homebound Train" and "99 In the Shade". All are catchy and energy-filled rock tunes.
"Love for Sale" is a bit more Country style. Very catchy tune.
This is a very strong album with many potential hits on it. A must-have for any fan of 80's Commercial Rock or Pop. Fun stuff.
on July 13, 2003
Bon Jovi is the epitome of an American rock band. Jon is Zeuss of the vocal world hitting high notes and punding out choruses with his strong voice, and Richie is the amazing god of guitar, and with tico on drums and david on keyboard and alec on bass, they are simply astounding *for more words of how amazing they are, look at the insert of "One Wild Night: 1985-2001 Live" and the little foreword). The have longevity, which is a huge factor. I am as die hard as they come when you talk about bon jovi fans, and i believe that this is their best album. From Bon Jovi to Bounce, this is truly the best. My favorites off the album are "Blood On Blood", "Stick To Your Guns", "Wild Is The Wind", "Love For Sale", and of course "Lay Your Hands on Me", one of my favorite Bon Jovi songs of all time. I'd recommend this CD to someone who already owns Slippery When Wet, the one that just predates this one by 2 years, and likes it. It's a totally different sound from 'Crush' and 'Bounce', and even 'Bon Jovi', their solo debut. If you guy it, you'll find it's worth every penny. You WON'T be disappointed.
on August 6, 2002
This is the fourth Bon Jovi's album. The tittle is very good, a nice tribute to New Jersey, the place where they were born.
There are wonderful ballads, as "Living in Sin", "I'll Be There For you" and "Wild Is The Wind".
"Ride Cowboy Ride" is a little song, but even so it's a beautiful song. It's one of my faves in this album. "Love For Sale" is very funny too, with their acoustic guitars.
"Blood on Blood" is my favourite too. Musically it sounds very good, and the lyrics are wonderful, talking 'bout the time when you are teen and you are learning things not so good, but things that made part of our own lives. This is a good song for you think about your life, your childhood, the wonder years that will never come back.
"Lay Your Hands On Me", "Bad Medicine" and "Born To Be My Baby" are great hard rock songs. You have to check these on! Everybody that likes rock and roll has to have this album on his CD's collection!
Bon Jovi rocks forever! They are coming back with BOUNCE!
on November 17, 2002
The guys took 4 years in the making of this album, but the result is very high:
once again the partnership with Desmond Child pays off...especially on such tracks as BAD MEDICINE, BLOOD ON BLOOD and the energy-filled YOU WERE BORN TO BE MY BABY.
I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU is the classic rock ballad that is an apology from a man in love who knows he made mistakes.
Useless to point out the best track of the whole CD is something in which Diane Warren teams up with the rest of the band.
WILD IS THE WIND could have easily been a # 1 hit...yet no single release was scheduled, so it remains one of those hidden nuggets you need to buy the album to be aware of.
The whole CD is filled with a cowboy-style plot, although it does not even remotely border to country music, but just take a listen to STICK TO YOUR GUNS or RIDE, COWBOY RIDE and won't take long to understand these guys grew up on western myths...
Possibly one of their best.
on November 9, 1998
This CD is the perfect mix of great lyrics and music for when one is feeling hyper, sad, or romantic. Bon Jovi's best CD to be recorded ever and even thogh it is 10 years old, it never goes out of fashion and it is still heard throughout the world and recognized by everyone, people who love Bon Jovi's music, and people who hate it. Everyone knows or has heard at least one song of theirs from this album, and many others feel represented by the lyrics of the songs. Among the best songs in this album are: Wild Is the Wind, I'll be There for You, Born to be My Baby, and Stick to Your Guns. A very good listening choice. A good investment. If you can buy it, do. I am sure you won't regret it!!!!
on August 8, 2014
Loved the booklet it brought me back to my 20's when I ate , slept , lived to Bon Jovi's music The new songs were a treat ! Oh the DVD I had it on VHS but gave it away to the local animal shelter sale , so it was great to have it again . I truly recommend this collection for any Bon Jovi fan !