Bon Jovi Went Pop Rock With ‘Crush’ and Made It Work | Album Review

After the success of These Days (1995), Bon Jovi took another hiatus before getting together to work on their seventh studio album, Crush (2000). The band changed their sound, yet again, by going more commercial and pop. This allowed the boys to reach a younger audience and fit in with the current times. I saw the Crush album numerous times at the Book Off and I’ve been wanting to buy it since I watched The Crush Tour (live in Zurich) on YouTube last year. But, I kept holding back because I was still upset about Richie Sambora not being in Bon Jovi anymore. Then, on April 15, 2021, I decided to screw my ill feelings about the current Bon Jovi and buy the dang album already. 

Jon Bon Jovi and Sambora teamed up with Luke Ebbin to produce the Crush album. It marks the band’s second studio album to feature Hugh McDonald on bass. With all that said, let’s get on with the music!

The album kicks off with the great “It’s My Life.” Some people hate it because it’s too poppy, but I don’t care. I grew up with this song, it was on Glee (2009 – 2015) and I loved it, this song is part of my childhood. I love the reference to Tommy and Gina from “Livin’ on a Prayer,” the empowering lyrics, and that the band brought back Sambora’s talkbox chops. Unfortunately, “It’s My Life” doesn’t work anymore because of two things: Jon’s dying vocals and Phil X’s terrible talkbox playing. Phil X is a nice dude and he’s a decent guitar player with a great singing voice, but whenever he plays talkbox, it sounds like a frog croaking.

The next song is “Say It Isn’t So” and again, it’s really poppy, but I don’t care. The chorus is catchy and it has a good beat. My only complaints are the lyrics in the verses are weird (Superman, Mickey Mouse, and dancing on the beach in a bad b-movie) and Jon’s voice is overly produced in this song. I know his voice is probably overly produced in a lot of Bon Jovi songs, but this one in particular sounds too unrealistic, like he was singing through a megaphone or something to alter his voice.

“Thank You For Loving Me” is a slow ballad that a married couple dances to at their wedding. The lyrics and concept of this song are cheesy as heck, but I love David Bryan’s keyboard playing, as it has a tender melody; the band’s ballads highlight Bryan’s keyboard really well. Also, props to Sambora and Jon for their beautiful harmonies that adds to the romantic mood of the track. “Two Story Town” has a chill vibe with a good beat. I love that Jon swears in this song, as weird as that sounds, because it shows his frustration. I interpret the lyrics as being sick of the same old repetitive lifestyle, and wanting to take charge and break free. “It’s just the same old sights / And the same old sounds / I want to take my car and drive out of this two story town.”

According to Wikipedia, “Next 100 Years” is six minutes and 19 seconds, which is too long for this track. The first three and a half minutes are great, but then there’s this instrumental section and the tempo speeds up around the four minute mark, which I think was dumb. The chorus has a country vibe, which I dig quite a bit. If you listen to the lyrics and how they’re sung, it’ll make sense: “​​I’m gonna hold you ’til your hurt is gone / Be the shoulder that you’re leaning on / I’ll be standing here / For the next 100 years.” I always thought that Jon’s voice fit country music, so the band’s Lost Highway (2007) album shouldn’t have been a surprise. Sambora’s harmonies with Jon in the verses are amazing, and actually, “Next 100 Years” sounds better live with the lower key and seeing Tico Torres going nuts on the drums.

“Just Older” is great, and it depicts the band really well and where they were in their career during the 2000s. I think Jon said it best when they performed it on The Crush Tour, it’s the band’s anthem on the record, and something for the new and old Bon Jovi fans to relate to. The band is getting older, still living the dream, and they aren’t looking back. “Mystery Train” is an ok song, there’s nothing special about it. It’s very slow-paced and I think the concept of the girl being a mystery is stupid. I mean, “I know everything about her, but don’t know her at all,” really?!? Also, Jon’s pronunciation of the word “ride” turns me off.

“Save the World” is very similar to “Mystery Train” because it’s another cheesy concept and it’s very slow-paced. The song doesn’t go anywhere and doesn’t scream any excitement; the guy is basically saying I’m not an educated man, but take a chance on me and we can do anything together. We finally got another decent song with “Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen from Mars.” This song gives me outer space/fantasy vibes, which I think is really cool because it’s not a song to take seriously. This is another one of those songs where you can sway your head to the beat. 

“She’s a Mystery” is just awful! First of all, why would Jon write a song called “She’s a Mystery” when he already wrote “Mystery Train” with the same concept?!?! It’s so slow, and there are no crescendos or decrescendos, so the listeners don’t get anything to look forward to. The best part about “I Got the Girl” was Sambora’s rocking guitar solo, other than that, this song is trash!

Thankfully, the album closes off with a banger, “One Wild Night.” It’s a typical pop rock party anthem that people can dance to at the club, but rock out to at the same time. The chorus is catchy as heck, the bass riff is sick, and I love the playful keyboard bit in the intro. I prefer the lower key of “One Wild Night” over the original key because it sounds better to my ears. My only complaint with this song is I think the James Brown bit in the last 20 seconds of the tune is stupid and uneccessary. 

So, I liked 8.5 out of the 12 songs (“I Got the Girl” got 0.5 points for the guitar solo), which is about 71 percent. I enjoyed The Crush Tour too, so considering that and the percentage, I’ll give Crush (2000) 4 out of 5 stars. “It’s My Life” is so nostalgic for me too, so I have to give the album a decent score. If I had just discovered Bon Jovi with this album’s release, I wouldn’t have known that these were the same guys that wrote “Hey God,” “Bad Medicine,” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

Comment below your favorite song from Bon Jovi’s Crush album!

Take care and see ya real soon!

Lana

56 thoughts on “Bon Jovi Went Pop Rock With ‘Crush’ and Made It Work | Album Review

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    1. Fair enough. I’ve noticed that Bon Jovi are a big hit with the ladies. Not many guys. Even that documentary I watched about 80s hair metal mentioned that their concerts were filled with women and the band was considered “happy metal.”

      Liked by 1 person

  1. After Keep The Faith Jon took this band into crooner territory and I checked out. Just was not a band thing anymore considering the whole band are salaried employees. Kinda like working at MacDonalds..lol
    I like your scoring system Lana. Good job

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your honesty Deke. The band definitely lost their edge when the 2000s kicked in. Salaried employees, exactly. Like seriously, was it too much to make Hugh McDonald a member of the band already?

      My scoring system was inspired by John from 2loud2oldmusic. He’d give the percentage on how many songs he liked total and rate the album based on that.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much John! Glad to hear not everyone hates this album. However, I was telling Deke that the band definitely lost their edge once the 2000s kicked in. They became more of a commercial hard rock band, not really a rocking band anymore, if that makes sense. That’s why I haven’t bought anymore Bon Jovi albums past this (yet). But, yeah “Just Older” is awesome! Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t mind the edge being gone a little as they still had some great stories to tell with a handful of songs. I actually like the next two and then it really goes down hill for me from there.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah yes, I remember you said on Mike’s show that you’ll defend Bon Jovi until ‘Have a Nice Day.’ I saw ‘Bounce’ and ‘Have a Nice Day’ at the Book Off (a store at my mall that sells used books, DVDs, CDs, and electronics), but I held back from buying them. Also the title track for ‘Have a Nice Day’ irritates me.

        Did they go downhill because they got carried away with the working man and patriotic songs?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That explains the ‘Lost Highway’ album. Also, the 2020 album, not that I’ve heard it, proves that it was more of a Jon Bon Jovi album, rather than a band collaboration thing. Hey wait, how do you have all the albums then if you stopped caring after ‘Have a Nice Day’?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I don’t have all their albums. I am missing a few, but if I see them on vinyl I will buy them and that is just because I still like the band prior to the bad albums. The collector in me needs them all.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I think ‘These Days’ was more popular overseas at least. A lot of fans say that ‘These Days’ is one of the band’s best work. ‘Crush’ though was certified double platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA.

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      2. Yeah, Bon Jovi made an album called ‘Lost Highway’ (2007), following the success of a country version of their single, the annoying “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”

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      3. I’ve heard of that, but never heard it. Didn’t know it was a country album. Amusing to me, really. Since grunge killed their main thing, it sounds like they cast around a lot trying to find a new thing. Good on ’em for keeping at it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. For sure, just looking to latch onto the new trend since their old trend was selling anymore. Same as, when making that country album, latching onto the contuing rise of Nashville and the new country. They’re less holding true to an artistic, intregrity ideal than they are just trying to sell records.

        Liked by 1 person

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