FFO: Bruce Springsteen/Southside Johnny/John Mellencamp/Bryan Adams/Goo Goo Dolls
20 years ago, Bon Jovi kicked off the new century by reinventing themselves as one of the world’s best pop/rock acts. As the years progressed, the New Jersey band struggled to recapture that magic as the band dabbled in hard rock, soft rock, pop and even country whilst spats between Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora boiled over into the public domain. Following the release of their lacklustre previous album ‘This House is Not for Sale’, expectations began to weigh heavy for the release of the band’s latest album ‘2020’.
It is hardly surprising that the events of this year are dominating the themes of this album. Those expecting a typical Jovi album of fist pumping stadium rock anthems will unfortunately find little of it here and it is almost as if the band have written ‘2020’ with the intention of never playing these live. However, this is no bad thing as what Bon Jovi have delivered here is their best album since ‘The Circle’ and finds Jon Bon Jovi at his most heartfelt and emotive as he delves into issues close to his heart. Granted some of these songs are on the slower side, but tracks such as ‘Do What You Can’, ‘American Reckoning’, ‘Lower the Flag’ and ‘Blood in the Water’ really do leave a mark and are some of the bands most memorable work in the last 20 years. As always, this is wrapped up in an exceptionally polished high-quality production that befits a band as revered and respected as Bon Jovi.
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything here that would tantalise anything other than the already converted Jovi fan, but those fans will ravenously lap this up exceptionally politically motivated and mature album with ‘2020’ being another fix of their favourite band.