Saturday, 24 April 2010
CD Review: Slippery When Wet, by Bon Jovi (1986)
The scruffy band from New Jersey hit the bulls-eye combination of accessible, radio-friendly pop rock, with enough power and guitar emphasis to qualify as light metal. The result is a hugely popular album that helped define the sound of the mid-1980's, and allowed this type of metal alloy to sit proudly at the centre of the music universe. Bon Jovi's massive global success from Nowheresville USA became an inspiration for aspiring rockers everywhere.
While it's popular to dismiss Bon Jovi for their relatively simplistic lyrics and overall fist-pumping ethic, Slippery When Wet undoubtedly proves that Bon Jovi could write catchy tunes that entertain without ever pretending to demand effort.
The album opener Let It Rock is a thunderous and surprisingly controlled call to action, while You Give Love A Bad Name and Livin' On A Prayer became generational anthems. Today these songs are instant time-warps to their era
I'd Die For You rounded out the band's appeal with a more than useful ballad, bringing in both genders into Bon Jovi's audience. Wanted Dead Or Alive is also effective and begins the band's journey towards country-music land, terrain that Jon Bon Jovi would explore much more fully later in his career.
The triple threat of Jon Bon Jovi's appealing, slightly country-tinged vocals, Richie Sambora's honest guitar and Dave Bryan's complementary keyboards delivered the songs with enthusiasm and no small element of fun.
There are a few duds on the album, most notably Without You which drops from annoying to aggravating in a hurry.
Slippery When Wet is lusciously produced, with the dream team combination of Bruce Fairbairn and Bob Rock producing a wide-open, clear sound that allowed all the band members to individually shine, and the album's sound to withstand the test of time.
Dave Bryan - Keyboards
Richie Sambora - Guitars
Alec John Such - Bass
Tico Torres - Drums
Jon Bon Jovi - Vocals
Songlist (ratings out of 10):
1. Let It Rock - 9
2. You Give Love A Bad Name - 10
3. Livin' On A Prayer - 10
4. Social Disease - 6
5. Wanted Dead Or Alive - 8
6. Raise Your Hands - 7
7. Without Love - 5
8. I'd Die For You - 9
9. Never Say Goodbye - 7
10. Wild In The Streets - 7
Produced by Bruce Fairbairn.
Engineered and Mixed by Bob Rock.
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