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This Left Feels Right: Greatest Hits With a Twist

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First of all, hats off to Bon Jovi for trying something different with This Left Feels Right–a selective collection of their most popular songs with a twist. That twist isn’t a purely acoustic reworking, MTV unplugged style–anybody looking for that experience will be sorely disappointed by what’s on offer. What Bon Jovi have done is re-record these songs in a completely different way while maintaining the original lyrics, melody and song structure. What’s different then? Well, quite a bit actually. Check out the almost trip-hop beat and distorted vocal of ”Wanted Dead or Alive”, or the lazy soul of ”Livin’ on a Prayer”. ”It’s My Life” is a beautiful piano-only standout, almost worth having the whole album for. The tracklisting isn’t perfect, concentrating largely on their 1980s period (there’s nothing from These Days, for instance). As such, the venture works as an effective cheese-extraction exercise, keeping the elements that made the originals so great, but removing shouty, hairspray-fuelled ”whoa-yeahs”. What we get is something that is closer to Jon Bon Jovi’s last solo offering–the criminally underrated Destination Anyway. It doesn’t always work (”Bed of Roses” just sounds like a warbling cover of the powerful original and by the time they reach ”Always” it’s obvious they’ve run out of new twists), and no doubt there will be legions of bemulleted faithfuls who will denounce this as blasphemy of the highest order. Sure, it’s probably just record-company filler, but it’s a worthwhile investment and you won’t be embarrassed to have it on when your mates come round. –Cortman Virtue

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  • One of the greatest bands in the history of Rock N Roll return with a very different kind of album.Bon Jovi has released this CD, “This left feels right”. The question is….Does Bon Jovi’s left turn feel right for Bon Jovi fans?Bon jovi has always said that their strength has been in their songwriting, and that they play the songs acoustically before they find the right mix that has given them so many hits over the years. So Bon Jovi was going to go back to the basics and do an Acoustic album. In fact the band DID film and record an acoustic show from Yokohama Japan on their most recent Bounce Tour. But then Jon and the boys decided that they wanted to give their fans something DIFFERENT. So Bon Jovi chose 12 of their biggest hits and totally reworked the songs in an acoustic way. Here is a brief summary of the songs……..1. Wanted Dead or Alive- “Wanted” sounds very diffeent from the classic version, and I would have preferred that Jon and Richie do a duet version of the song. However, I enjoyed the Led Zeppelin sound that occured at the end of the song.2. Livin’ on A Prayer- Like much of the album, this song grows on you the more you listen to it. At first, I didnt like it very much. But after a few times listening to it, I can see the vision that the band had for it, and its kind of nice. It takes a bit of getting used to Olivia d’Abo’s voice, but it does make sense to use a man (Jon) and a woman (Olivia) in a song about “Tommy” and “Gina”.3. Bad Medicine- I am not too crazy about this version of the song. I look for the best in every Bon Jovi song because I am a fan, but this version of the song just doesnt do it for me. You may feel differently.4. It’s my Life- This is a BEAUTIFUL version of “It’s my life”, and had the song been about love, this would have had Top Ten potential.I like the version of this song very much, at times even better than the original version.5. Lay your Hands on me- Like “Bad Medicine”, this song just doesnt do it for me, when compared to the original version.6. You give love a bad name- If you are expecting something similar to the original “Bad Name” you wont find it in this version. This sounds more like an unplugged Eric Clapton song, than the classic hard rocking Bon Jovi song that we remember. I’m not crazy about it personally. 7. Bed Of Roses- Although I prefer the original version (The live version is the best), this song is a very nice one and I think you will like it. It doesnt differ from the original too much. Just a little.8. Everyday- I much prefer the original version of this song. Some Bon Jovi songs just sound better with a hard edge, and this is one of them. I am not crazy about this version.9. Born to be my baby- Much like “Bed of Roses”, this song is a very nice one, and has the feel of the classic version, only a little different, and less intense.10. Keep The Faith- Again, this song has the feel of the classic version, only alot slower and without Richie’s blazing electric guitar. Nice song.11. I’ll be there for you- While this song also sounds alot like the classic one, the subtle differences show how much better the original is.12. Always- This is a beautiful song, much like the original. This song doesnt need electric guitars to be good, it just needs a nice strong lead vocal (And Jon has that) and a nice rythym (and the song has that). All in all, I enjoyed this album alot and sung along with it. Its hard not to. Some of the older generation Bon Jovi fans might be upset that the songs that they grew up with have been altered so much. But they will always have the classic versions. Bon Jovi simply wanted to show another side of themselves, and establish themselves as talented professional musicians, while showing that their songs are very versatile. They have done so with this album. It IS different. It WILL take a little getting used to. But give it time and several listens, and I think that you will enjoy it like I did.P.S. The CD Booklet that comes with the CD includes an interview with Jon and Richie that nicely details why Bon Jovi made this record and what it means to them.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I thought that I was buying a greatest hits collection, but I purchased this at a store and had know idea it was with a twist. The cd case does not have it labled on the outside. Needless to say I am upset that I spent the money and ended up with a horrible cd and out of fourteen bucks. Please make sure to listen to the tracks before you decide to purchase this item.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • mellowed down, boring redo of the original music. if you are a bon jovi fan, skip this pathetic waste of money.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Man, I love Bon Jovi………i am a total fan, and when I heard that they had a greatest hits album comming out..i was psyched…then i listened to it on Amazon (thanks guys) they saved me from wasting the 14 dollars. I can not believe that bon jovi would totally destroy their old classics like this! Sorry guys, but this was definately not your best work….

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • It pains me to give any Bon Jovi CD less than 4 or 5 stars, but after several listens to “This Left Feels Right” I can’t give any more than 3. There are two ways to listen to this CD – First, you can listen to these songs as remakes of classics. Considering they’ve been done thousands of times by the band, what new and interesting things can they come up with? Second, you can let each song stand on it’s own as though it’s the first time you’ve heard it – judge each on its own merit separate from the fact that it’s a reprise of a classic. It’s in this second method of listening that the CD fails. True, if listening in the academic sense of considering each song’s original version compared with the new version it helps, but even then leaves you disappointed.There are some great moments, however. I’ll outline these below. And one of the things I enjoyed was being able to really hear Jon’s lyrics crystal clear in certain offerings that were previously unclear (Bed Of Roses comes to mind as an example). I was just reminded of what a great lyricist he is.A selected song-by-song walk-through might be helpful, and then I’ll recap the 2 or 3 main themes I see throughout the CD. Dead or Alive – This is probably the most disappointing offering on the CD. It’s such a great song and had so much potential to be amazing on this CD. This version sounds like the club remix version of Dead or Alive. First of all, this definitely seems like the wrong choice for the song, and secondly (and worse) is that even in that context it doesn’t sound good. In other words, even if you *had* to do the song in a programmed/remix sort of way, you could’ve done it much cooler than this. It sounds like old guys trying to be hip, using lame programmed beats and outdated remix effects. The song is also very linear with very few new ideas being introduced throughout. This definitely set the tone for the rest of the album.Livin’ On a Prayer – I think this one works better than most. The main feature of this is the use of Olivia d’Abo. At first I was confused as to why they would use an actress, a little known one at that, to sing such an important part. Then with a little research I discovered she is the producer’s wife. Ah-ha. She doesn’t do a bad job and has an interesting voice, but there could’ve been a much better choice in my opinion. It’s also quite a trip when she first comes in – you’re so used to hearing Richie sing that part, then this woman’s voice comes in…at first it sounds like Richie on helium. But after a few listens it gets better. Again, this song is quite linear. Just straight ahead. And, like many other songs on the record, Jon chose to alter the melody drastically and it ends up sounding like he’s singing the harmony instead of the lead.Bad Medicine – I never liked this song that much to begin with and this bluesy low-key version doesn’t help it that much. For most of the song Jon sounds like he’s singing an octave too low, even in the chorus. You want him to bust out and he just never does, with the exception of a few licks in the verse.It’s My Life – Yes. This is one of the reasons to buy the record. To me, this version of their recent hit embodies what this record *should’ve* been. It’s totally different than the original, yet is exactly the same song melodically and chordally. It’s a haunting piano and string ballad and Jon sounds incredible on it. You realize what a truly great song this is when you hear it in this context.Bed Of Roses – Here’s the other reason to buy the CD. Piano, guitar, strings, percussion and Jon. How could that be bad? The song really shines in this arrangement. The only annoying thing (that recurs so many times on TLFR) Jon changed the melody in the chorus for the worse and downplays his amazing voice. Why?Everyday – Why is this song on here?I’ll Be There For You – This is almost great. It’s such a great song that it will always sound okay. But they drastically changed the chords of the song and also changed the melody in the chorus so it’s much more boring. And again, Jon insists on singing an octave below where you want him to sing. The song just doesn’t really go anywhere – the last chorus has the same passion as the first chorus (or lack thereof).To close, the main problematic themes.- Jon refuses to sing like we all know he can sing. I’m not sure if he’s afraid of dating himself as an 80s/90s power singer, but that’s what he is! And that’s what we love about him.- The melodies change too many times and rarely for the better. They are usually changed to remove what was formerly a high, dramatic part of the melody that was a strong hook of the song.- The productions are pretty linear and don’t really go anywhere unexpected or interesting. These have the overall feeling of worktape demos rather than actual completed masters.- The song selection is pretty lame. I would like to have heard Blaze of Glory, Lie to Me, maybe These Days, This Ain’t a Love Song, and In These Arms to name a few.- As my review title says, I’m left with the feeling that they got most of these songs right the first time. To do them in another context mostly takes away from greatness. – Richie looks like Zoolander on the back cover. But Jon’s hair just keeps getting cooler somehow.Hope it helps. If you’re a diehard fan, get it. But unfortunately most of the things we love about Bon Jovi (great production, soaring vocals, incredible melodies and harmonies) just aren’t here.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now