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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bon Jovi: 7800° Fahrenheit


1) In And Out Of Love; 2) Price Of Love; 3) Only Lonely; 4) King Of The Mountain; 5) Silent Night; 6) Tokyo Road; 7) The Hardest Part Is The Night; 8) Always Run To You; 9) (I Don't Wanna Fall) To The Fire; 10) Secret Dreams.





This here is, like, one of the most blatant uses of the word «love» as a metonymical euphemism for «snatch», which is itself a euphemism for... oh, never mind. Anyway, it's sort of reassuring to know that on their second album, the boys from Bon Jovi are feeling more and more at home with the next stage of sexual revolution (i. e. the infamous Eighties progression from «fuck your part­ner in the name of peace, love, and understanding» to «fuck everything that moves in the name of GOING WILD!»). If the first song on the first album (ʽRunawayʼ) was a Serious Social State­ment on parent-offspring relationships, then the first song on the second album has the prota­gonist getting to business with the little runaway in question — "she's here to make my night complete". From ʽShe's Leaving Homeʼ to ʽStray Cat Bluesʼ in a jiffy.

The bad news is that Bon Jovi as a dick-waving band are just about as unimpressive as they are in their «serious message carrier» capacity. ʽIn And Out Of Loveʼ never evolves much beyond its opening lines, or even simply beyond the five syllables of its title, a dumb hook so blatantly ob­vious that I cannot even understand where they nicked it from — probably most other songwriters were just too ashamed to make something that simple into the be-all-end-all for a pop song (and even record buyers were sort of bashful about taking it to the top of the charts). And even so, it is arguably the best song on the album.

In a bout of bad news, 7800° Fahrenheit adds power ballads to the Bon Jovi setlist: ʽSilent Nightʼ, thoroughly soaked in power chords and keyboards, slows down the tempo and shifts the balance from «muscle» to «sentimentality»: an anthem to lost love that puts forward Jon Bon Jovi's vocals as the major point of attraction. While we are on it, I do have to admit that I'd rather have Jon's «street-wise», hushed, slightly croaky troubadour pipes than the mock-operatic postu­ring of power-pop-metal singers like Glenn Hughes or Dave Coverdale — meaning that even a song like ʽSilent Nightʼ would rather be described as «pointless» and «boring» rather than «utterly disgusting» and «intolerable». And, for that matter, I find Richie Sambora's guitar tone and approach to the construction of the solo on that song somewhat interesting — not altogether predictable as far as «power solos» go. But none of that justifies the very fact that, whatever «integrity» Bon Jovi had with their first album, with ʽSilent Nightʼ they have compromised it, once and for all — and now there is no turning back.

Besides ʽSilent Nightʼ, «muscular sentimentality» also ruins ʽOnly Lonelyʼ, ʽThe Hardest Part Is The Nightʼ, and ʽSecret Dreamsʼ, even though their tempos are quicker and the I'm-the-loneliest-guy-in-the-world vocals are not so totally upstaging everything else — not that there's much of anything else, just the same uninteresting riffs and predictable bluesy solos. Of the other tracks, ʽKing Of The Mountainʼ and ʽTokyo Roadʼ are the only ones worth some mention — ʽTokyo Roadʼ is at least unusual in its selection of a quote from a Japanese folk song for the introduction, while ʽKing Of The Mountainʼ is so ridiculously bulgy and sludgy that it stands out for that very reason, with all of its heavily accentuated beats. But yet again, «standing out» does not neces­sarily make a good song.

According to reports, the band itself was dissatisfied with the final results, and used that dis­satisfaction as a pretext to break up with its original producer Lance Quinn. Other than a heavier dependence on keyboards, though, I do not hear that much crucial difference between this style and Slippery When Wet — why this album was a relative flop where its successor would be a mega-million-seller remains a bit of a mystery to me. Perhaps it was due to the general dete­rioration of public taste that reached its apogee in 1986. Or perhaps it was due to the use of the talk box. Yeah, that must be it, it's all about the talk box. A little pig grunting on a hard rock track can work wonders — just ask Peter Frampton. Thumbs down, by the way.


  1. "none of that justifies the very fact that, whatever «integrity» Bon Jovi had"
    You know the answer, don't you?

    "x million records sold".
    When talking about Bon Jovi integrity is simply irrelevant. Now before you condemn this attitude realize that a certain WA Mozart never wrote down one note without getting paid.

    1. According to Bill & Ted, "Dave" Beethoven was a huge fan of SWW. So it's not out line for one to compare BJ with Amadeus.

  2. What about his last 3 symphonies?

  3. Bon Jovi - the dumb illegitimate bastard child of a manage a trois intercourse between Styx, Foreigner and Springsteen.

  4. Brendan Benson put the phrase "In and out of love" to good use in 2007, as part of the chorus of "I Feel A Whole Lot Better." But he's using "love" to mean love, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof.