Here’s a funny story. When I was browsing through the Book Off at Pearlridge, I found Bon Jovi’s 7800° Fahrenheit (1985) and Slippery When Wet (1986). I was torn between those two albums because while the latter is a classic, I’m all about showing love for the underappreciated stuff. The only track I knew from 7800° Fahrenheit was “In and Out of Love,” so it was a risk. I bought Slippery When Wet instead, but little did I know, I didn’t get what I bargained for.
When I opened the CD case at home, it wasn’t Slippery When Wet, instead, it was a live album titled, One Wild Night Live 1985–2001! That explains why the first track I heard was “It’s My Life,” instead of “Let It Rock.” That’s why I now open up the CD case before I buy an album from the Book Off. This was back in June/July 2020, when I decided to start a CD collection. So, not long afterwards, I returned the album and I took that as a sign that I needed to buy 7800° Fahrenheit, which is exactly what I did!
The album starts with a banger called, “In and Out of Love.” Two words: Richie Sambora!!! Ok fine, Tico Torres is killing it on the drums; he truly is an underrated drummer and he’s so much fun to watch (look up “Blaze of Glory” from Madison Square Garden in 2008). It’s a stomping, hands in the air, rocking track. Musically, “The Price of Love” rocks, but the lyrics are a bit cheesy, then again, it’s Bon Jovi. “You live your life to take that chance / When you’re a master of the art of romance / And you know you won’t cross that line.” Do I need to say anything else? On the positive side, I love Sambora’s guitar playing on this track.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the 80s without a keyboard and synthesizers. If you like that and cheesy lyrics, then “Only Lonely” is the song for you. The band played this track at a show in Japan from 1985 and I had trouble getting into this one because I found it not very rocking. And watching the music video, I felt like I was watching an 80s movie (starring Jon Bon Jovi) about two lovers fighting to be together. “King of the Mountain” features a nice guitar solo from Sambora, a thumping bass line in the intro, the drums are pounding, and it has a killer riff. There’s something uplifting about these lyrics: “I been down and mistreated / Now we’re standing undefeated.” It’s a fun track that’s easy to get into.
“Silent Night” is that mellow and depressing break-up song. I personally don’t hate it because it is very soothing and pleasant to the ears. Would I request to listen to the track often? Not really, but props to Bon Jovi for making suitable songs for a high school prom. For “Tokyo Road,” I love the verses more than the chorus. I hate songs with weird phrasings and that’s exactly what’s wrong with the chorus. They could’ve added more words instead of going “Take me BBBBBBBAAAAAAAACCCCCCCK to Tokyo Road.” I found it lazy and annoying. Also, some of the screams on this track made me go, “no wonder why Jon Bon Jovi lost his voice.”
The keyboard blends in perfectly with the other instruments for “The Hardest Part Is the Night” and I love the backing vocals in the chorus. You’ve got the pounding drums and screeching guitar, and it’s a catchy tune that should’ve been huge for the guys. The lyrics depict the struggles of a man that’s considered an underdog and working class issues. “All alone in a place where the lonely / They all have to walk through the rain / And they dance on the edge / Where you only / Only pray that it has to end.”
“Always Run to You” is another love song, of course, but it’s a fun and upbeat track. This is going to sound strange, but “To the Fire” is Bon Jovi’s hip hop track on the album. If you listen to the chorus, you’ll understand what I’m talking about! Bon Jovi has done a lot of weird songs, but this is probably the weirdest (for now). As soon as I heard the opening lyrics, I knew it was going to be bad: “We would take no prisoners / Cause there was nobody giving in / They came walking through my jungle.” The album closes with “Secret Dreams” and it’s nothing special, but again, it’s pleasant to the ears and it’s a rocking love song (even though the chorus is cheesy as heck).
I would describe Bon Jovi as a commercial rock band. All of their songs are pleasant to the ears, even their “heavier” tracks are radio friendly. They sure come up with a lot of love songs, which is probably why the girls adore them. So when I want something rocking, but not intense, I go for Bon Jovi. Some of the cheesy lyrics bug me, but instrumentally, I dig 7800° Fahrenheit quite a bit; I mostly love it because it’s not overplayed. Therefore, I’d give this album 4 out of 5 stars.
Let me know in the comments below your favorite song from Bon Jovi’s 7800° Fahrenheit album!
Take care and see ya real soon!