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  • This could almost be hailed a come-back album for the BonJoviboys after their almost 6-year hiatus and the mixed results ofKeep The Faith and These Days. Don’t be fooled: Bon Jovi is still in fine form with gutsy yet smooth arena rock, feel-good anthems, flawless production values, gritty blue-collar (albeit sometimes clichéd) lyrics and Jon’s vocal sincerity (no matter what he sings, he makes you want to believe it)… It’s tried-and-true Bon Jovi… And folks…that’s GOOD. New Jersey was twelve years or so ago. Any artist has to grow, evolve and mature… What makes Bon Jovi worthy of being recognized is his/their longevity. They manage to remain relevant, fresh and contemporary without losing the core that makes them Bon Jovi in the first place. And they’ve pulled that off exceptionally well on Crush. There’s certainly enough catchy songwriting and addictive hooks and melodic ideas here to keep your head (and foot) busy for a long time. The patented melodicism and sing-along style is still here in full force. I do think there’s more depth and substance on this album than the balance of their work. The songs reflect a wider gamut of emotions and interpretation…and there’s more variety here in terms of instrumentation, rhythms and arrangements. It’s not “New Jersey”, but it’s close to being just as strong on its own merits.The modern rock influences do Bon Jovi good…they’ve gone beyond the typical arena-rock, anthemic formulas (check out “Say It Isn’t So”, “Captain Crash” and “Two Story Town”). But the groove and catchiness and memorability are still there…check out “It’s My Life”, “Next 100 Years”, and “Just Older” (in my opinion 3 of the strongest songs on the album). Better, more aggressive work from Tico Torres on drums, more colors and arrangements from David on keyboards, and more versatility from Jon. They’ve found a good balance here between staying fresh yet true to their roots.My only gripes: Ritchie Sambora, while paying more attention to arrangement, and musicality than flashy licks, is nevertheless too restrained on this album. There are places on “Crush” where Ritchie’s blues-influenced lead work and musical phrasing would have been much-welcomed. It would have been nice to hear a more aggressive guitar. When he does step it up, he delivers.And while Jon has improved, there are still clichéd, recycled themes and lyrics here. “Thank You For Loving Me and Two Story Town” come to mind….and to a lesser extent “Save The World”, though it’s a beautiful ballad and to me, even better than “Thank You…But all around a strong album that shows the rock greatness of Bon Jovi. Good stuff. END

    Posted on November 24, 2009