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Have a Nice Day

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  • Bon Jovi released their first album in 1984 but it was until their legendary third album, “Slippery When Wet”, that they really experienced creative and (major) commercial success. From that point right through to Jon Bon Jovi’s fantastic second solo album in ‘97 the band, as individuals and as a group, continued to grow and evolve as artist, musicians and songwriters and always took the band into new areas and always trying ever more ambitious endeavours. Something strange happened with the bands massively successful “comeback” album “Crush” in 2000. The forward evolution stopped dead in it’s tracks. Bon Jovi went from a band that created powerful, socially conscious, ambitious and deep music to a fairly middle of the road pop-rock group. Now Crush had it’s moments but it wasn’t a true rock record. With 2002’s “Bounce” the band tried to get back to a proper rocking sound and to some extent they succeeded, and it is a good album but untimately the album along with Crush only highligted how far they had fallen from the hights of the previous decade. Reasons for this, complacency? Perhaps. A poor producer? Most probably, but what would “Have a Nice Day” bring? More of the same or would Bon Jovi return to producing the rock music they are capable of? Thankfully, I’m very happy to say that thanks to a unstopable drive to return to the top of the rock scene and employing the services of the world hottest producer John Shanks, the band have produced what is undoubtedly their best album.

    The album opens with the first single, HAVE A NICE DAY. This is viciously pulsating rock anthem, that right off the bat tells us Bon Jovi are backing rocking bettter then ever. Inspired by George Bush’s re-election Jon was able to condense all his anger, bitterness and dissillusion into an incredibley optimistic meesage of hope and resilience. A great opener.

    I WANNA BE LOVED is a dark and moody rocker that follows nicely on from track 1. This is without doubt the most personal song Jon has ever written. Directed at his parents, in it he reveals the emotional pain he suffered as a child, as seen in the lyric “I can forgive you/ But I wont Relive You/ I ain’t the same scared kid I used to be”. Nice to see this other side of him.

    WELCOME TO WHEREVER YOU ARE slows things down slightly but this is a remarkabley beautiful song. It’s such a powerful song and I’m sure just about everyone will be able to relate to it. Good choice for a second single.

    WHO SAY’S YOU CAN’T GO HOME? is an upbeat accoutically driven rock song in the vain of Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night. A devilishly simple song, it contains some fantastically clever and honest lyrics. It’s already a live favourite and not hard to see why. This might be the catchiest song they’ve ever made.

    LAST MAN STANDING get’s things rocking hard again and is the best song on the album. Actually it’s quite possibly the best song the band have ever recorded. Jon wrote this one as a vehicle to express all his anger and bitterness at what the music industry has become in the last few years. Written as a tribute to Bob Dylan, this song possesses the best lyrics ever written by Jon.

    BELLS OF FREEDOM follows close on the heels of Last Man Standing in terms of quality. Another song obviously inspired by the 2004 US election, this a very dark accoustic number that contain another universally positive message. “In the dark I have seen that the sun still shines on the one who believes”, sings Jon Bon Jovi. This could be the most powerful song they’ve made and is to Have a Nice Day what Something To Believe In was to These Days.

    WILDFLOWER is one that has really grown on me. The lyrics are written in a very poetic way, full of metaphors and similes so obviously it takes a few listens to really appreciate it and truly evertime I hear it, it gets better and better, to the point now where it is fast becoming my favourite song. It’s as close as you’ll get to a love song on the album but certainly isn’t a traditional power-ballad. A definite highlight and is something very different then we’d be used to from Bon Jovi.

    ONE LAST CIGARETTE the is without doubt one of the most unique songs that this band has made and is sure to divide fans in a ‘marmite’ way. Personally I love it. It’s got this massive pop-rock levity to it and features a fantastic guitar solo and hugely infectious chorus.

    I AM is another dark and moody mid-tempo hard rocker. This is a very quintesential anthemic Bon Jovi song that could become a massive hit single. Really wouldn’t have felt out of place of the These Days album.

    COMPLICATED is an ultra-modern rock song that sound like it was greatly inspired by The Killers (a band Jon really likes). This a superb song that has “Hit Single” written all over it.

    NOVOCAINE is another infectious, high-octane rock song. This song is a man’s song, no doubt about. Every guy will love this one. It was inspired by one of the band members who’s going through a divorce at the moment and Jon has written a truly heartfelt rock song that contains my favourite lyric on the album. “I guess there’ll be no happy endings/ When “once upon” is doing time/ There’s a different kind of meaning now to Livin’ On a Prayer”.

    The album ends with another very modern up-tempo rock song. STORY OF MY LIFE is another very honest and introspective song about Jon’s life much like he did with Just older on Crush. Highlited by the great lyrics in the chorus, “I know that no I’m not alright/ But I’ll be OK/ Cause anything can / Everything can happen / That’s the story of my life”.

    On the UK edition we get 2 bonus songs. Dirtty Little Secret has me constantly scratching my head as to why this wasn’t included on the album because not only is it one of the best songs on the disc, it would undoubtedly be a massive hit single. It another slightly tounge-in-cheek rock song in the vein of You Give Love a Bad Name but much, much better. The second bonus track is a song called UNBREAKABLE and when I heard it first a couple months ago, I really liked it but following these 13 classic it’s made to look very weak. It just dosen’t have the depth or creativeness of the previous songs and dosen’t even suit the sound of the album.

    “Have a Nice Day” is a treat for all the senses. Instantly likable, deeply emotional and moving and some very visual songs. This has taken one giant leap to return the band in the ever forward moving direction they were going by the end of the ninties and has surpassed my wildest expectations by actually being superior to their ‘95 album “These Days”. What I love most about it is how they’re not trying to be something they’re not. This isn’t a band trying to recreat success they had in the past, it’s a band that has just created their most modern and contemporary album to date and that surely tells you what direction this band is looking. The two big questions now are: 1) Will the longtime fans embrace this new, modern rock sound and 2) Will the record company take a chance and release a third single that highlights this new sound or stick to playing it safe by releasing one of the more classic sounding songs. Here’s hoping this album is a major success because Bon Jovi are back on the road to great things and I hope they stay on it for a long, long time.

    Posted on January 26, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I really enjoyed this Album, but I recommend that you buy the LIMITED EDITION DUAL DISC DIGI-PAK version, because it contains the music video for “Have A Nice Day”, special Bon Jovi interviews, and footage of a live performance that the band gave in 2004.
    I often find with bon jovi that, if you give them a chance, and listen to their albums several times, you begin to feel differently about the album.
    When I first heard “Have A Nice Day” I felt like “Well, it was good, but not great”.
    But then, the more I listened to it, the more I enjoyed it and the more I realized that it was indeed a great album.
    I especially love the songs “I Am”, “Bells Of Freedom”,”Have A Nice Day” and “Last Man Standing”.
    This is a summary of the songs on this Album:

    1. “Have A Nice Day”-
    To me, this is a great sequel to the song “Everyday”, from Bon Jovi’s “Bounce” album.
    It’s about living YOUR life, not the one others tell you to live. Spread your wings and fly. When the world tries to tell you what to do, or gives you a hard time, say “Have A Nice Day” (which is the equivalent of giving someone the middle finger…only in a more polite way) and go about your life. Great message!
    2. “I Want To Be Loved”-
    This is a catchy tune that I think many fans will enjoy.
    3. “Welcome To Wherever You Are”-
    This is a nice song,a slower song about trying to accept what life deals you….dont fight it, learn from it and grow from it.
    “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be”.
    4. “Who Says You Cant Go Home”-
    Currently this song is very popular…it is shown regularly on VH-1, plus the other version of this song (There are TWO versions of this song on this album, a “Bon Jovi” one and a more country music sounding one with Jennifer Nettles of “Sugarland”)….the one with Nettles is up for 2 Country music awards!
    5. “Last Man Standing”-
    This is the song that Bon Jovi has been using to kick off their live shows on the “Have A Nice Day” Tour…the words “Take your seats now folks, it’s showtime…..hey Patrick, hit the lights” makes you feel as if you’re in the audience at a Bon Jovi concert. This song is about the fact that there doesnt seem to be as much “passion” in music today…there arent as many pure songwriters today like the Bob Dylans, Tom Pettys, etc. Music today is mass produced, and artifically produced, rather than being produced by the music loving soul, a voice, a couple of guitars and a drumset.
    Bon Jovi are saying that music will one day be a lost art form that we will have to “dust off” in order to enjoy.
    “Keep your Pseudo-punk, hip-hop, pop rock junk, and your digital downloads” is Bon Jovi’s way of saying that music has changed….and not for the better.
    6. “Bells Of Freedom”-
    One of my favorite songs, “Bells” is about knowing what is true deep down inside you, and letting that guide you instead of letting the world and the negative thoughts we sometimes face, get in our way of being free… to love, free to be who we are….free to be happy, etc
    7. “Wildflower”-
    In my view this is one of the few songs on this album that I would have loved to have seen replaced by something else.
    It is about a woman who cant make up her mind…and, she’s a free spirit, who does things her way, and a woman who turns you on by sometimes trying to turn you off. The lyrics arent bad, its just not a very catchy song in my view.
    8. “Last Cigarette”-
    As with “Wildflower” I am not very fond of this song. It is a catchy kind of song, but it just doesnt do anything for me.
    It’s about comparing love to a cigarette…enjoy it while its lit.
    9. “I Am”-
    This is my favorite song on this album! I love the lyrics, I love the mesaage, I love the beat…this is Bon Jovi magic!
    The words sum up the song……”When you think that no-one needs you, sees you or believes you, no-one’s there to understand…I AM, I’ll be there to be that someone, when you think that no-one is there to hold your hand….I AM”
    I.E. “Even if the rest of the world deserts you, I’ll be right there with you”.A powerful song of love, loyalty, trust and hope.
    This should have been made into a single, and Bon Jovi should perform this song live and give it more attention. It is fabulous.
    10. “Complicated”-
    This is a catchy tune that talks about how we need to be accepted for who we are…love me for who I am, not for who you want me to be..
    11. “Novocaine”-
    In essence, love can make our pain go away. Catchy song.
    12. “Story Of My Life”-
    Times will get hard….face that truth….but you’ll be ok, because miracles happen…dont give up hope and you never know what’ll happen to bring joy into your life. Keep living, keep loving. It’ll be ok. It’ll be alright.
    13. “Who Says You Cant Go Home” -
    This is the country sounding version with Jennifer Nettles of “Sugarland” on lead vocals with Jon.

    Trivia: Did you know that Keith Urban was originally the choice to sing lead vocals with Jon on “Who says You Cant Go Home”?
    Because of the record industry’s greed and worries about money and promoting their clients the right way (Urban is on a DIFFERENT record label than Bon Jovi and record companies dont like to “mix” with other money making record companies, who are their “competitors”,so the song with Keith Urban never made it on the album, so Bon Jovi had Nettles…who is on their record label, do the song with them. In the end, I think the song made out better that way, so its a good thing.
    All in all, “Have A Nice Day” is a typical Bon Jovi album: Great songs, great beats, great lyrics about love, hope and freedom, and songs that inspire us to reach for the sky and pick out whatever stars we like.
    I hope you enjoy it (Remember, the Limited Edition Digipak Dual Disc version is the best version of this album, in my view)

    Posted on January 26, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I loved Bon Jovi as a teenager, and now I have teenage daughters who love Bon Jovi too. It’s amazing that a band can stretch across generations. Bon Jovi is Bon Jovi. If you are expecting something else, don’t buy this cd, but if you are a true Bon Jovi fan, you won’t be disappointed.

    Posted on January 26, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Other than greatest hits this is the first Bon Jovi CD I have ever purchased. I love their sound and their songs but have never thought they were strong enough to produce an good CD. I was wrong. Since I don’t carry any baggage for this band perhaps my view was different than some others. I don’t care who wrote the songs or played guitor or piano. It was just good, fun music. My 14 and 12 year old sons liked it as well. The lyrics are that of a thoughtful man who has been around the world and is still having fun although there is some reflection. The music is just good straight forward rock. It isn’t alternative, heavy metal or new age – just what you have come to expect from Bon Jovi. Rock on!

    Posted on January 25, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Love them or hate them, throughout Bon Jovi’s career this band has been very consistent in keeping their core sound while slightly embellishing it with different colors and styles to keep the band ‘relevant’ as the music scene changed over time. The way I look at it, you can evenly divide these guys catalog into 5 different eras:

    “Bon Jovi” and “7800 Farenheit” -
    The beginning of their career. At times struggling to find their own sound but showing signs of potential through what was mostly weak songwriting…these albums did have some high points but they were few and far between.

    “Slippery when Wet” and “New Jersey” –
    Their rise to superstardom. Yeah they were lumped in with the hair band scene (and why not? Big hair, Power Ballads) but never really sounded like any of the bands from that era. Both of these albums are landmarks of the 80’s and the songwriting was so strong you couldn’t deny their talent.

    “Keep the Faith” and “These Days” –
    Their break into the 90’s music scene. Same core sound used for Slippery and NJ…but changed ever so slightly to appeal to a broader audience. “Faith” showed the band could still write irrisistable hooks and excel at many different styles of music while “These Days” showed a darker more somber side of the band, yet the songs remained memorable.

    “Crush” and “Bounce” –
    Their attempt to stay on top in the new millenium. “Crush” showed the band at their most mature and introspective…again, same core sound…yet modernized with new age production and more variation in the instrumentation of the song arrangements…and, once again, strong and memorable songs. “Bounce” was a natural progression of “Crush” yet contained a number of lackluster songs that sounded ‘thrown together’…but overall a solid release.

    “Cross Roads”, “One Wild Night Live”, “This Left Feels Right”, and “100′000′000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong” -
    The odds and ends they’ve released over the years…a greatest hits album with 3 new cuts, a live record, a collection of reworked/rearranged classics, and a 5 disc box set of B sides and rarities. (the first two being very good releases while the latter two mainly just for the die-hards).

    Now as far as me personally, I feel “New Jersey” is the bands best work yet ironically “These Days” is actually my favorite album (go figure). After 100 million albums sold, countless #1 hits, sold out tours around the world…you have to ask…what else is there to prove? The answer….nothing. There is nothing this band can do that they haven’t already acheived so when a new Bon Jovi release arrives I find it hard to believe its just a quick cash grab or an attempt at commercial success.

    So now…after the previous 5 eras of the bands career comes “Have a Nice Day”…the new chapter so to speak. As soon as the title track “Have A Nice Day” opens the album…I’m thinking…this a killer old school rock n roll Bon Jovi song. I don’t think any Bon Jovi fan can listen to this song and not be reminded why they fell in love with this band in the first place and sing a long to the chorus…classic Bon Jovi song…but…it is also the only track that has that ‘familiar’ sound on the entire album…getting worried? Well, let me finish.

    It becomes readily apparent that this album follows the same trend the band has used in the past…the core sound is still present…yet there are new elements added. The song arrangements favor the ones from “Crush”, the tones and guitar work favor “Keep the Faith”…yet the melodies, vocal harmonies, and overall feel of the album is very diferent from anything the band has done in the past. Jon Bon Jovi’s vocals are surprising strong throughout the record, often using the full range of his voice most thought was long gone. Richie Sambora’s trademark vocal harmonies are much more prominent than they were on the last couple of studio efforts and his guitar work is as tasteful as ever (with over half of the tracks contaning solos). The production is very ‘rock’ sounding with a nice low end and exceptional clarity. And of course…the most important thing…the songs are very memorable and well written with really no filler at all. Heres a track by track review:

    “Have a Nice Day” –
    As I stated above, this is just a straight up rock anthem. Very guitar driven with an irresistable hook in the chorus. Just a great song with a driving groove and uplifting lyrics that are slightly tongue in cheek. Great way to start an album.

    “I Want to be Loved” -
    Another guitar driven song with the verse containing Sambora’s trademark “Talk Box” work. This is a departure from the usual Bon Jovi formula and is actually refreshing to hear the band try something with a modern rock vibe.

    “Welcome to Wherever you Are” -
    A ballad of sorts, with great vocal harmonies and again uplifting lyrics. This song is very catchy and the chorus will stick in your head for days. I’m pretty sure this is scheduled to be the next single and rightfully so. Great song.

    “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” –
    You think the last song was catchy? This song upon first listen has a very modern country feel to it (which of course was intentional). Most of todays country artists should take notes because this song is just one huge hook. Again, a departure from the normal formula but it works so damn well.

    “Last Man Standing” –
    This was a song written for the “This Left Feels Right” album but was pulled at the last minute and later resurfaced on the box set. If you are familiar with the box set version you will be surprised…its been given a full on rock makeover, driving drums, tons of guitars, and a different arrangement on the backing vocals with Sambora singing much more than on the original version. Great song with a great message.

    “Bells of Freedom” -
    Another near-ballad. Great vocal hooks, gentle acoustic guitar/piano arrangement and a great chorus. Even though there are some slower ballad type songs…the overall ‘rock’ feel is apparent in every song.

    “Wildflower” -
    This song reminds me of “Mystery Train” from “Crush”. Smooth arrangement and great lyrics. Again, the words memorable, catchy, hooky come to mind when listening…good song.

    “Last Cigarette” -
    The biggest departure on the album. It took a couple of listens to wrap it around my head and after that I realized its so damn catchy it really stands out. I cant really explain the sound of the song but I’ve never heard a Bon Jovi song sound exactly like this…it almost sounds like a pop song from the early 70s…but unmistakably Bon Jovi.

    “I Am” -
    Another of the standout tracks. Incredible melodies and just overall a great well written anthem. Jon’s vocals in the chorus are especially strong. One of the best on the disc.

    “Complicated” -
    Similar to “I Want to be Loved” but a little more catchy in the chorus. Very guitar driven with a good beat and of course great hooks.

    “Novocaine” -
    One of my personal favs on the album. The chorus has a great 3 part vocal arrangement and a great rockin beat and once again the lyrics really shine. Nice short and sweet slide solo by Richie too.

    “Story of my Life” -
    Another straight up memorable rock tune. Strong lyrics, strong melodies, strong song. Another nice solo by Sambora on this one (like all the leads on the disc they are short and tasteful…sure I love to hear Richie rip, but his lead work on this album is very good…lyrical, soulful, trademark Richie).

    “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” -
    An additional version of this song closes the album as a duet between Jon and Jennifer Nettles of country act Sugarland. It just adds to the overall country feel of the song and Nettles vocals work very well with Jons.

    To be completely honest, alot of the songs on here took at least 2 or 3 listens to really stick in my head. Alot of Bon Jovi’s albums had alot of really great songs but also had some filler tracks (mainly Bounce and the latter half of Keep the Faith)…”Have a Nice Day” differs in the sense that every song is memorable. Instead of having 5 or 6 or whatever number of great songs then having tracks that basically just fill up space on the album…everything is evenly spaced into 12 well written memorable songs…so after 2 or 3 listens to the album in its entirity…the individual songs begin to standout more and thats where this record truly shines.

    The Dual Disc version of the record contains the video for “Have A Nice Day”, An EPK containing interviews with the band about the album, and a live footage performance from Nov 2004 in Atlantic City containing 5 songs, “Everyday” “Miss Fourth of July” “I Get A Rush” “These Arms are…” and “The Radio Saved my Life Tonight”.

    “Have a Nice Day” is a great memorable album written by some guys from Jersey who have conquered the music industry and have stood the test of time. Theres no need to compare this album to any of the previous releases…this is the next era in Bon Jovi’s career. You can wish all you want for another “New Jersey” or what not…but it aint gonna happen…they’ve been there, done that, and have moved forward. The core sound is still here and the songwriting is still here…what more could you ask for. Love it or hate it…”Have a Nice Day” proves that no matter what happens in the music scene…Bon Jovi will always be here and if they keep releasing quality albums like this…they will at least help one fan have a nice day.

    Posted on January 25, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now