Every time I get into a new band, I can’t remember what happened, and Bon Jovi is no exception! I’ve heard of the name Bon Jovi, and I’ve listened to their songs before, especially on American Idol, but I never took an interest in them until this past February. I already reviewed all of Richie Sambora’s albums, so it made sense for me to check out how he was like in Bon Jovi. I chose to do Slippery When Wet because it’s the band’s best selling album to date, so I had a lot of high expectations for this one!
After releasing their second studio album, 7800° Fahrenheit, the band wanted to change their approach and went for a more radio-friendly tone, but with that heavy vibe for their next album! I enjoyed the 7800° Fahrenheit album, but at the same time, I liked that Bon Jovi was trying something new!
The album turned out to be a success, and all of the songs had that hard rock feel that I love so much. Bon Jovi seemed to be known for two things: Jon Bon Jovi’s voice and Richie Sambora’s crazy guitar work! But other aspects of this album stood out to me as well, like Tico Torres’ pounding drums (especially on “Wild In The Streets”), and David Bryan on the keyboards. At the beginning of “Let It Rock,” I thought it was a synthesizer, but it was a melodic keyboard part mixed with Richie Sambora’s guitar.
I thought it was a great choice to off the album with a song called “Let It Rock” because it gets the listeners pumped up for the rest of the album! “Social Disease” was one of my favorites because, besides the drums, there’s just something about Jon Bon Jovi singing “love is a social disease” that turns me on, haha! Can we acknowledge the trumpets in the song?!?!?! I used to hate brass instruments in rock ‘n’ roll because I thought it made the song softer if that makes sense. But hey it worked for this song, and three years later, Mötley Crüe made trumpets work for their song “Rattlesnake Shake” from their Dr. Feelgood album. If you can make it work, then that’s a huge accomplishment!
“Raise Your Hands” was a bit cheesy to me, but I’ll admit that it’s a crowd-pleaser! About two months ago, I watched a concert of Bon Jovi live at Madison Square Garden in 2008, and EVERYONE raised their hands at Jon Bon Jovi’s command, it was insane! The song has grown on me since. With the drums and that guitar work, I can see why people still dig it!
I wasn’t crazy about every song on the album because the lyrics seemed kind of cliché, almost like stating the obvious. But they were cute and after watching old concert footage of the band, songs like “I’d Die For You” and “Never Say Goodbye” slowly became music to my ears. There were highlights to some of the not-as-well-known songs as well. In “Wild In The Streets,” that guitar solo reminded me of “Johnny B. Goode” because it had like a 50s vibe, but I like that they modernized it to fit the 80s. Richie Sambora, that dude can play some mean chords!
It was nice taking a trip down memory lane with “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” but I learned a few new things listening to them on the record itself. 1) That low and dead-like voice throughout “Livin On A Prayer’ was Richie Sambora using a talkbox, and it creates a very distinct sound on the guitar. 2) “Wanted Dead Or Alive” is actually a Bon Jovi song, I thought it was a country song for the past sixteen years because I’ve heard many country singers sing that song on American Idol. 3) That lick in “Wanted Dead or Alive” is phenomenal!
It’s a different feeling listening to a song by itself where you can hear every note clearly and no loud disturbances from the bus, in my case. In an interview done in 2001, Sambora stated that a lot of people ask him how to play that lick; it’s a beautiful lick, and it has that toughness to it.
Did this album meet my expectations? Yes and no. I enjoyed most of the songs, and every instrument did their part. However, it did take me a couple of listens to get into the rare songs that don’t get played much anymore, “Never Say Goodbye” being one of them. Overall, great album; it had everything that made the 80s so awesome! I’ll be listening to Slippery When Wet again for sure!
Let me know what your favorite Bon Jovi song from Slippery When Wet is down in the comments below!
Take care and see ya real soon!