After two albums which were popular primarily with hard rock/heavy metal fans,this 1986 platinum smash spawned three Top 10 hits. YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME was one of the top hits of September 1986,when this album was released. The next hit was LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER. Hey,is that Peter Frampton’s “talkbox” on loan heard in the song? The other is WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE,which debuted on the radio in the spring of 1987. All those songs appeared on the 1994 compilation CROSSROAD which would contain a new version of LOAP entitled PRAYER ‘94. The other songs are great. Bon Jovi’s 1988 follow-up NEW JERSEY would be a platinum smash as well.
Slippery When Wet transformed Bon Jovi from minor-league poodle rockers to global superstars on the back of hit singles ”You Give Love a Bad Name,” ”Never Say Goodbye,” and, of course, ”Living on a Prayer.” From the scantily clad car-wash girls on the inner sleeve to the ”You lost more than that in my back seat / Yeah!” lyrics, the album is blissfully untouched by irony and subtlety, which actually adds to its charm. With guitarist Richie Sambora and songwriter Desmond Child, Jon Bon Jovi has produced a slew of consistently memorable tunes, and this album contains its fair share of them. Slippery When Wet won’t change your world, but it will, undoubtedly, rock it. –Ronita Dutta
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This album is excellent; a necessity for any rock fan’s collection. It is more than just goofy “hair-metal”. The album opens with “Let it Rock” which is such an awesome song it had me playing it repeatedly, which I don’t usually do. Next is the smash hit “You Give Love A Bad Name” which you surely have heard already, which is followed with the fantastic Livin’ on a Prayer, which I also played repeatedly. “Social Disease” is a standard Bon Jovi number. “Wanted Dead or Alive” is a classic that compares the life of a rock star to that of a cowboy. “Raise Your Hands” is the quintessential Bon Jovi song. “Without Love” is a good power ballad. “I’d Die For You” is one of those songs that makes fans love Bon Jovi, or on the other side of the coin, makes other people hate them. “Never Say Goodbye” is a great ballad. “Wild in the Streets closes the album nicely. This is an exceptional album overall, with no weak tracks at all. Rating-****
I got the remastered CD version of Slippery When Wet since I didn’t want to wear out the cassette version. The sound is so sharp and you can hear the lead guitars and drums quite clearly.
Slippery has lyrics that are a little cliched at times, but Jon Bon Jovi wrote from his experiences and life in many of these songs. Desmond Child and Richie Sambora wrote with Jon as well as the band. But the album is full-blown arena rock at its loudest in the ’80s. Let It Rock is so full of energy for all its 5 minutes, it should be the song to open up all their concerts, even for their latest album , Have a Nice Day. It pairs well with their first #1, the danceable and sometimes funky You Give Love a Bad Name. Never Say Goodbye is a nice power ballad, sometimes sappy and would be perfect to play on prom nights today. Wanted Dead or Alive I still love today with its acoustic guitar leading to the big bombastic guitars in the song’s middle. But I don’t want to leave out the other songs. There are some solid numbers with Social Disease, the big album closer Wild in The Streets (they danced to this a lot on the USA network’s teen dance show Dance Party USA in mid-1987, which was taped in Philadelphia),Raise Your Hands, and my favorite, the charging I’d Die For You. It’s New Jersey-based rock with the feel of being in a big arena with the band performing loud in front of 60,000 fans. That’s how good this album sounds and that’s why it’s still one of my favorites out of my music collection! The album that the band took control of their music career and succeeded! I still can’t believe that it’s sold over 12-15 million since ‘86!
.. because as Bon Jovi would prove in the 90’s, they were much more than the run-of-the-mill hair metal bands that plauged the late 80’s. Slippery When Wet, possibly their most accomplished album, illustrates the spirit of everything that was good about 80’s rock, without the things that were bad. Bon Jovi had looks, but they had chops too. Jon Bon Jovi finds his voice on this album (after mixed results with his Springsteen-ish wail on his first two efforts) and while Richie Sambora hadn’t shed his Eddie Van Halen tributes yet, he sounded more alive on this album than on most any other tracks he ever laid down. The rhythm section is really one of the more underlooked in rock but the production is top-notch, letting every musician have their moments. Every song has the typical 80’s gloss and shine, yet the band pushes themselves to demonstrate that they have real, live talent. Every song on this album is a winner, as well, from the Pyromania-ish kickoff of ‘Let It Rock’ to the mega-hits Livin on a Prayer, Wanted Dead or Alive, You give love a Bad name, and Never Say Goodbye’, right on down to the killer album tracks like Raise your Hands and especially ‘I’d Die for You’. Slippery When Wet is Bon Jovi’s most consistent, focused affair, and if you want a good case to make about how good the 80’s could be, then look no further than this album.
Everyone has that one album that they can credit with changing the way they listened to music. Some are fortunate enough to have experienced this great awakening to Are You Experienced or The Doors. For others it was London Calling, Ramones, or even Black Sabbath. For me it was Slippery When Wet. That’s right, Bon Jovi changed my life. I realize on some level that I should probably be embarrassed about that little fact, but the truth is I love this album every bit as much now as I did two decades ago.
I still remember like it was yesterday. I was 11 at the time, and didn’t really care about music one way or another. I did however think that Transformers were quite awesome, but I digress. I was flipping channels and came across the video for Livin’ on a Prayer. I wish I could accurately describe the impact that silly, you and me against the world love song had on me. It was like all of the tumblers of a combination lock sliding into place inside my head. I knew I had to hear more, but that wasn’t going to be easy. My mama didn’t dance and my daddy didn’t rock & roll, so to speak, so I had to track down the cassette through a friend. If Livin’ on a Prayer grabbed my interest, You Give Love a Bad Name and Wanted Dead or Alive sealed the deal. After that I moved on to Poison, Europe, Stryper, and dozens of other hairspray laden bands that I naively thought of as “metal”, but Bon Jovi was the first.
I sometimes wonder if I would have reacted the same way to any other album. Somehow I doubt it. Bon Jovi was at the top of their game with this album. You could argue that their follow-up album New Jersey is the band’s best, but I’ll put the songs on Slippery When Wet up against that Bad Medicine stuff any day! With Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi built on the sound they developed with their two previous efforts and added hitmakers like Desmond Child to take the songwriting to a whole new level. I can hear you snickering at the thought of You Give Love a Bad Name and Never Say Goodbye as examples of quality songwriting, but it’s hard to argue with the results. I believe that the lessons Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora learned while recording this album are a big reason why they are still big stars to this day, when so many of their peers have been relegated to the bar & grill circuit.
Slippery When Wet was the perfect fusion of Bruce Springsteen’s American rock & roll, Van Halen’s party rock image, and an impeccable pop sensibility. It didn’t hurt that Jon and the boys were easy on the eyes and could represent the new face of “metal” in a totally unthreatening way. I can’t help but wonder how many other kids made their way to Iron Maiden and Metallica by first discovering a band like Bon Jovi.
Say what you will about this era or this style of music. I firmly believe that Slippery When Wet is a great example of rock & roll in the 80’s, and it will always have a special place in my heart.
NOTE: Slippery When Wet was reissued in 1998 with digitally remastered sound. Serious collectors may also want to check out the import version with the original cover art that the band nixed, not because of the racy image, but because of the pink border. Go figure.