When I got this I had just seen the movie and I place the cd in the cd player and man this a cd for everyone. I love all the songs on here it wonderful I think he did a great job.
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I appreciated what Jon was trying to do on this release (get away from “Bad Medicine” type songs I think), but in doing so he undermined what most of us love about him, his voice. The performance isn’t poor, just very toned down from what we’re used to. If you like to hear the soaring “Blaze of Glory” tracks or the heart-wrenching “Lie to Me” ballads, you will be somewhat disappointed with “Destination Anywhere.” However, the songs are very good. “Janie, Don’t You Take Your Love to Town” is my personal favorite. There is a lot to like on this album, but it is not the typical Jon Bon Jovi singing that we are used to.
So, you say you’re a Bon Jovi fan, eh? Or, maybe you’re one of those nay-sayers who never believed in those athemic, guitar-laden rock songs, filled with aesthetic keyboard melodies and poetic lyrics. Or, worse yet, maybe you are actually one of those critics (barring myself, mind you. ) who has enjoyed the fruits of pleasure in knocking down a band that has stood the test of time, and has more talent in their pinkies than you do in your whole being. Regardless of what side of the fence you’re standing on, you are in the know.
It’s no news, then, that the rock band, Bon Jovi, has taken a hiatus (again) to explore other avenues. Jon Bon Jovi is the first one out of the camp (in between being busy with the challenge of taking a shot at an acting career) to throw some music the public’s way. So, you think you have Jon Bon Jovi all figured out by now? After all, you have thirteen years of looking back on material by the band as a unit, not to mention Blaze of Glory, Jon’s last solo effort back in 1990. So, since boys will be boys, and Jon will be Jon, this solo effort must be jam-packed with a dozen happy-go-lucky arena rock tunes, and some tear-jerking, highly emotional melodic numbers mixed into the bag. History usually repeats itself, and what’s not broke don’t fix, right? WRONG!!!!! Just when you thought you had this guy pegged, he whips you a curve ball.
Quite on purpose, Jon Bon Jovi has made an album which is “opposite of what people expect me to do.” If you think having a fluffy head of hair for so many years has rendered this guy stupid, think again. If you can’t beat someone at their own game, you’re certainly going to play along, but with your own set of rules.
Destination Anywhere is the title of Jon Bon Jovi’s newest opus. To say it’s different is an understatement. In life, there are generally changes, and in some cases, it’s not for the worst. Jon took a left turn on this latest piece of work, but the road he’s traveling down is colorful and intriguing, and surprisingly enjoyable. The sound that has been Bon Jovi’s trademark in the past, and Jon’s sound as a solo artist on Blaze of Glory, is not-so-evident in Destination Anywhere. Instead, there’s sampling, and this thing called `loops’, and a grittier, harder-edged sound. Lyrically, Jon writes as he always has, only he’s gotten better. He has the God-given talent of writing a song, swallowing you in it’s emotion, and not letting you go. Whether it’s a feeling of joy, or an emotion that causes a tear to drop from your eye, or to fill you with an unrest that’s so unsettling it squeezes your heart in a vise — he can do it all. He has the ability to convey whatever it is he is feeling in his heart while penning the tune, and communicating that to the hearts of others in the form of speech we call . . . song. Put with the right music, to set the right mood, and it’s under your skin. Jon’s words and his expression gets under your skin and in your veins. Just as with Jon’s past material, both alone and with his co-horts, Destination Anywhere gets in your system, whether it be immediately or gradually, with a vengeance.
1. Queen of New Orleans: Destination Anywhere starts out with a kick in the butt, but a kick unlike the usual. Starting out with a cool, gritty guitar groove, it kicks into a toe-tapping, pelvis-thrusting, get-down sexy beat. This song is one of the lighter on the album, with no particular heavy lyrical content: “She was more than a girl, she was a cabaret star; I was a deer in the lights of a speeding car. Nothing’s what is seems, she was a Venus de Milo in her sister’s jeans.” Queen is fun, sensual, and witty. Quite a good way to open up the album.
2. Janie, Don’t Take Your Love To Town: This one starts with a tranquil string arrangement, then kicks into an upbeat rocker that’s so infectious it’s contagious. Forget the penicillin — there’s no cure for this one. This tune is a relationship song that paints the imperfections of a partnership, but yet the strengths: “I didn’t come this far to throw the towel in, I didn’t come this far to walk away. If I ain’t smart enough to say I’m sorry, it’s just because the words got in the way. I remember how it used to be, I was you and you were me; we were more than just the same.” A song inspired by a rare fight between him and his wife, it reads as an apology (Hey Dorothea, just smack him around a little and then forgive him ). This number portrays a humbleness and humility we all possess: Making mistakes, beating yourself up for them but learning from them, while never giving up the fight along the way. After all, love is worth the fight, isn’t it? Truly a favorite on the album.
3. Midnight in Chelsea: The first single off Destination . . . this one is the most pop-oriented on the album. Light drums, heavy on the keyboards and “sha-la-la’s”, this is a fine song, but not a stand-out. A big mistake Jon made in regards to this album is releasing this song as the first single. Too poppy, people might think Jon has totally forsaken his sound. A fairly good song, nonetheless, in a lyrical sense. This song is about Jon’s experiences walking through the streets of London, the people he sees, and the freedom to be who he really is without being under a microscope: “No one’s pinned their dreams on me, no one’s asking me to bleed, I’m the man I want to be.” ” No one’s asking me for favors, no one’s looking for a savior, they’re too busy saving me.”
4. Ugly: Funky and spunky, this one starts out with an ultra-cool guitar riff that hearkens to the rock scene of the 70s. Tambourines and some delightful harmonica work competes the song. Co-written by Eric Bazilian (who wrote Joan Osborn’s “One of Us”), this song is unique. Lyrically, it’s the simple idea of everyone feeling ugly, or having that bad hair day, or just not feeling up to par some days. It also conveys the idea that sometimes we don’t picture ourselves in the same light as others do: “If you’re ugly, I’m ugly too; in your eyes the sky’s a different blue. If you could see youself like others do; you’d wish you were as beautiful as you. And I wish I was a camera sometimes, so I could take your picture with my mind. Put it in a frame for you to see, how beautiful you really are to me.”
5. Staring At Your Window With A Suitcase In My Hand: This tune flows with easy sounding guitars and keys, and with what sounds like something that resembles a xylophone. Jon’s vocals are easy — almost like a lullaby. Another relationship song, exhibiting the emotions of confusion and despair, it’s a moving piece. Originally titled, All In The Name Of Love, this song was originally written for the small indie English film, “The Leading Man,” which Jon starred it. It’s an excellent song that’s difficult to get out of your head: “Staring at your window with a suitcase in my hand; the streetlights buzz as the cars roll by and the moon don’t give a damn. My boots just keep on walkin’, but my heart don’t understand; why I’m staring at your window with a suitcase in my hand.”
6. Every Word Was A Piece Of My Heart: This gem of a tune is a song that many feel should be the next release. One of the best on the album, and a definite favorite, this one has a magic all it’s own. With a crunchy rock beat and a steady drum beat, this one is probably the closest to the Bon Jovi sound. This song is about Jon as a song-writer, and how every word he’s written was part of his heart and soul, and every word was as honest as he could make it: “I’ve been staring at the page, for what seems like days; I guess I put this one off for a while. Did I see a tear fall from your eyes, or did you laugh so hard that you cried; when I served my secrets on a silver tray to you.” It could also, in some ways, be interpreted as a love song: “You’ve been the blood in my veins, the only one who knows my middle name; and the smiles they came easy `cause of you.”
7. It’s Just Me: I love mushy love songs, and this is one of them. The vocals are extraordinary on this one, with Jon hitting the high notes. Unlike some previous ballads (Bed of Roses, Always), this song is slow and mellow, not the typical melodic ballad. The concentration is on the vocals and the words, with a very simple drum beat, and some light guitar work during the beginning of the song. The guitars pick up a bit during the second verse, providing an exquisite background. While the song is a lengthy one, there is some beautifully soulful guitar work by Dave Stewart and Eric Bazilian during the end of the song. Without a doubt, this song is almost close to perfect in just about every aspect — A personal favorite of mine and a definite highlight on the album. The lyrics are personal in nature, being it’s a poetic letter to the love of his life (that being his wife). Deep and emotional, it touches the heart: “Just like a shadow 10 feet tall, standing right behind you should you fall. I’ll be the one to hold you up to walk, when this wicked world makes us want to crawl. And if your waves should ever break at sea; I’ll be there waiting, I’m that sandy beach. I’m that same old dog, scratching those same fleas; I’ll be by your side, you can count on me.”
8. Destination Anywhere: This tune is up-tempo with a likable rock beat. As New Jersey as this may sound, this one reminds me of Bruce Springteen’s Born To Run. It has that Jersey rock feel to it musically, and Jon almost sounds like the Boss a bit in his approach to the way he sings. Lyrically, it’s the same type of theme as Born To Run, the let’s-get-outta-this-town-while-we-can anthem: “When these wheels spin, they can eat our dust. As far as I’m concerned, this whole town’s lost its nuts. We won’t be here when they put us down, it’s our last chance and I’m calling you now. They’ll never let us go unless we try, I’m tired of living just to die. We’re getting out of here — Destination Anywhere.”
9. Learning How To Fall: This highly favorable song is much like something I’ve heard before, but it escapes me regardless of how much I try to remember what it is. A steady-beat, dulcet tune with rhythmic guitars and some flavorful harmonica, this song is another favorite of mine. Instrumentation-wise, it’s hard to describe because it sounds so familiar, yet so different. The lyrical story behind this tune is the idea of taking chances, trying something different, and being in the face of possible failure. It’s a song about strength, about fighting, and about surviving. It’s also about starting from scratch, regardless of the past: “I was standing in the light, there were faces all around. I put my gloves up for a fight, one sucker punch and I was down. I’m learning how to fall, learning how to take a hit. Had to walk before I crawled, it was winner take it all. Now I’m learning how to fall. Yeah, I got the hang of it.”
10. Naked: This song starts with a steady drum beat in mono, then kicks into a funky drum-driven, guitar-licking beat almost reminiscent of Prince. The vocals are expressive and dripping with teasing sensuality before it kicks into a straight-ahead, duck-or-your-dead, rocker that sounds almost grungy. As anti-Jon Bon Jovi as this tune is, it is difficult not to become fond of this one. Lyrically, this song could be interpreted differently. I could be about temptation and resisting it, and it could be about letting your guard down, hanging loose, and opening up: “She said, `What you hiding underneath that shirt?’, right behind the buttons there’s a heart that hurts; Adams evening left the curse.” How far you gonna run in those designer shoes; the soul with holes ain’t gonna be the one you lose.” Another favorite.
11. Little City: This song is written for the soon-to-be-released movie by the same title, which Jon has a part in. Of all the songs on the album, this one I like the least. It’s a slow, techno-sounding song, with Jon’s vocals bordering on monotonous. The song has a lonely, searching feel to it. Half of me wants to send him packing over the bridge with this one, hoping when he returns, he’ll lose this song. The lyrics are better than the music: “God let these wheels roll to where the girls are pretty, where the nights explode and life is still living. Down this open road, the arms of pity; wait to greet me tonight in this little city.” However, I find the lyrical content difficult to grasp. This one is far from being one of his best.
12. August 7, 4:15: One of the most disturbing songs I have heard in a long time, this one grabs you by the throat, smothering you with it’s gloom, refusing to let you come up for air. The subject is more than eerie and disquieting, in part because it is based on a true story, and in part because of the way it is presented. The song summarizes the factual murder (originally thought to be a hit-and-run) of six-year-old Katherine Korzilius, daughter of Paul Korzilius, Bon Jovi tour manager for many years. The tragedy happened August 7, 1996 in Texas. A mysterious murder, the child was found on the side of the road with fatal wounds to her head. This tribulation, I believe, affected Jon more than he has ever let on. This adversity was not only made into a song, but also became the catalyst of an hour-long movie he did (also starring Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Bacon, and Annabella Sciorra). Having two children of his own, this played heavily on him. A ballad was the type of song I expected to be made in light of such a tragedy. However, the song is a straight-ahead rocker (almost sounding like Neil Young’s “Rocking In The Free World” during the intro of the song), and building more furious by the second. A haunting guitar riff plays in the background, and creepy hums appear throughout the song. The song portrays extreme anger and loss, and grips your heart with all it’s might: “I know tonight there’s an angel up on Heaven’s highest hill, and no one there can hurt you baby; no one ever will. Somewhere someone’s conscience is like a burning bed; the flames are all around you, how you gonna sleep again.” “Tell me it was just a dream — August 7, 4:15. God closed his eyes and the world got mean. August 7, 4:15.” The song builds until it reaches a raging crescendo before it ends with a choir and the sound of a car speeding by. The initial listening to this song caused me to feel disturbed for hours. This song is deep and haunting, and can’t be listened to continuously. Due to it’s nature, it shouldn’t have been used to close the album, because that’s the last thing you’re left with. Hopefully, bringing light to a tragedy such as this will find the Korzilius family the answers and peace they so deserve. Above the song, Jon writes: This song is dedicated to the memory of Katherine Korzilius. Sometimes God calls his angels . . . too soon.
Overall, Jon Bon Jovi took many chances with this album, but the end result was more than satisfactory. It took courage to experiment with new sounds as he has, and see if people will walk away liking it. Many may not take to it right away, but I think he has made an album that can be respected for it’s uniqueness and strength. It’s different than his previous work, and an excellent change of pace, but hopefully he won’t totally abandon his past.
The lyrical overtones of the album shows continued growth, maturity, and an introspective insight into many different emotions. Jon’s biggest talent is the way he writes. Not only can he hold you captive with the narratives that are pages from his own personal life, but he has an uncanny knack of writing about other’s experiences, too. He can get inside there, seemingly relating to others around him, whether that be his friends, or his fans, and making it into a beautiful thing we call music. He has, and still does, paint beautiful pictures with his words, and pushes buttons in people they didn’t know existed. Whether you give Destination Anywhere a listen or not, whether you take it under your wings or you don’t, there are some truths you can’t mess with: Jon’s courage to try new things, his openness to let you see inside him, his stubbornness to beat the odds, and the beauty in his words. No one can write a song like Jon Bon Jovi can.
© By Diane Trautweiler. Written June 21, 1997.
Many people slated this album but I think it’s a great one for proper mucic lovers who like the idea of songwriting and music from the soul. Every song is a ‘piece of heart’ and I can relate to every single one. I’m sure you could too. If you listen to Destination Anywhere in the small hours of the morning it’ll make you want to pack your bags and just GO. Amazing. The real thing – non of this plastic pop.
I bought this CD when it first came out a few years ago. I have to admit, when I first listened to it, I did not like it. At all. I guess I thought it was too…different. Unfortunately, I think I kind of put it in one of my “reject” CD piles. It must have been months later that I eventually dug it out and started listening to it again. After hearing it a few more times, I finally realized “Wow this is really good”. This album is COMPLETELY un-Bon Jovi, but that’s probably one of the reasons it’s so good. As always, Jon succeeds in blowing me away with his songwriting talents. I guess you could say the songs are more mellow; don’t expect any Livin’ on a Prayers, Bad Medicines, etc. But it’s a nice change to hear Jon sing (with the band it can be more like yelling) and without the blaring guitars. Don’t get me wrong, Bon Jovi wouldn’t be Bon Jovi without Richie or those amazing choruses, but this IS a solo album.As a whole, this album is probably one of the best I’ve heard. I could get into detailing every song but it would take me forever because there are so many good things I could say about each one. In fact, this is one of only two CDs I’ve ever encountered (the other being Cross Road of course) that I can just put in the CD player and let it play. I really don’t think there is even one bad song on it.Do I recommend this album? Absolutely. BUT, if you go into it trying to compare it with Bon Jovi the band, you will likely have the same reaction I did at first. If you can accept it for the great music that it is, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.