BON JOVI – This Left Feels Right

BON JOVI - This Left Feels Right


Island Records
Release date: November 3, 2003

User Review
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Yo, metal heads! There‘s a new Bon Jovi-record in town! This Left Feels Right is a collection of twelve re-recorded tracks, all acoustic.

When Jon Bon Jovi in 1997 released his solo album Destination Anywhere he said in an interview that he needed to go in a new direction because he was tired of people showing up at Bon Jovi shows only to hear old songs. But we all know that’s because the old songs are the good ones, and the new ones suck. “We all”? Well, not the youngest of teenagers to whom Jon & co the last years has aimed their focus, and blasted with radio friendly pop-ballads.

J.B. Jovi has by now admitted to himself that his classic hits make the only safe way to a steady and huge income. And that’s good for him since the band’s previous album Bounce didn’t get the attention the band would have hoped for, …since their live album One Wild Night wasn’t that much of a live album, …since their year 2000 release Crush won’t be remembered for more than a couple of pop songs ( the song “One Wild Night” was in fact very cool…), …since the ballad-fouled These Days-album (1995) only offered “Something for the Pain” as a composition with a true rock core.

In 1992 Bon Jovi gave us Keep the Faith, and to me that’s their last good album! A VERY GOOD album, in fact. That’s an album made by a rock band. A rock band with roots. And soul.

That’s more than ten years ago.

So now Bon Jovi are trying to sell old hits one more time. Can we blame them? Well, a lot of long lasting bands want us to buy their old hits over and over again. That’s only unfair to die hard fans who HAVE TO collect everything their idols releases. For the rest of us it is voluntarily to spend money on their products.

I’ll give Jon Bon Jovi this: He and his Bon-boys have sure tried hard this time to dress up their old tunes in new clothing. Or, I should say undressed them. This is as I said acoustic, but they’ve done much more than switching of the electricity to their instruments. They have tried to rediscover the spine of each of the tracks. Like remaking an oil painting with a coal chalk, using as few lines a possible. …Which is interesting, and for sure could be as artistic as the original. These are no doubt alternative versions!

So, how good are they then? In the inlay card you can read an interview with Jon Bon and Richie Sambora. Read it and get embarrassed! I can’t believe they printed it. Jon and Richie are bragging like maniacs about how phenomenal this record is and how clever they have been. No journalist is credited the question they are answering, and why should it be? The questions are all obviously “special designed”. Jon and Ritchie are answering and commenting questions/statements like /How did you end up taking such a fascinating left turn? /Your songs have changed in powerful ways. For instance, “Keep the Faith” [is] now a sort of soulful prayer. / Jon, Richie’s guitar is very different and striking on this record. You are not manipulating me, guys! Get real.

This Left feels Right starts out with “Wanted Dead or Alive”. In the inlay card “interview” Jon says that track has a very modern Zeppelin groove. Jon, leave this to me. The new version on “Wanted Dead or Alive” HAS NOT a very modern Zeppelin groove. Now you know.

It speaks for it self. These tracks are balancing on a thin line, and being Bon Jovi songs there is quite a distance to fall. Some make it, some not. It is as simple as that. On this album you have winners OR losers. Shame no one of them is better than the original.

“Bad Medicine” falls seconds after it starts. “Bad Medicine”, as we’ve known it since the 80’s, is about fun. Have you forgot, Jon? The song has lost all its strength in this project, being slow, peaking around corners, shy. I honour them for their braveness, though! “It’s my Life” dives the same way. It is just as bad as the version on the Crush-album, just painfully slow. “Everyday” is as anonymous as its “mother ship” Bounce. Flat on its face. “Always” is boring. “Livin’ on a Prayer” is boring. “Keep the Faith” is boring. “Born to be my Baby” is boring, sounding like an uninspired Bruce Springsteen number. However, Jon doesn’t mind sounding like Springsteen every now and then.

All right, then. Bon Jovi is, after all, unable to release an all bad recording. They are way too clever for that. Don’t forget Sambora is playing on this album. It starts sounding good as track 5, “Lay your Hands on Me”, gets going with small but quick steps along the aforementioned thin line. It makes it to the other end thanks to a world-music like arrangement on the chorus, which I find very creative and entertaining. “You give Love a bad Name” follows with a bluesy twist. Cool. This album could have gained a lot from even more bluesy oriented arrangements.

“Bed of Roses” is the number closest to its original version, the piano the driving force. However, it lacks Sambora’s great backing vocals. A loss. The last highlight on the album is “I’ll be there for you”, simple, not too pretentious, beautiful.

Conclusion: This Left Feels Right is a brave project. It is not the easiest way to easy money Jon & co could have taken. The results are uneven, the half of the tracks being just boring. The highlights are interesting as well as beautiful, but they don’t make the album necessary.



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