Bon Jovi Greatest Hits Review

Compilation. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

New Jersey hard-rockers of worldwide appeal release a new hits collection.

Mike Diver 2010

There’s no shame whatsoever in admitting to having some affection for Bon Jovi. If you’re of a certain age – and the spread’s wide, from teenagers to mums and dads in their 40s and 50s – then there’s every chance that significant moments of your life have occurred around this pop-rocking foursome riding high in the charts. Frankly, those who can’t sling their head back, punch the air and holler along to the chorus of Livin’ on a Prayer are likely unsalvageable from whatever depression they’ve slipped into.

As for the question of whether the group needs another best-of set, bear in mind that their last worldwide compilation of such a style, Crossroads, came out 16 years ago. That’s nearly a generation’s worth of new rock ‘n’ roll that’s up for inclusion here, then. But, perhaps wisely, the majority of these 16 tracks (an expanded double-disc version is available too, should you be worrying that Blaze of Glory has been erased from Bon Jovi history) are taken from the band’s mid-80s to early-90s globe-conquering albums. The fresher fare is yet to fully rub into the leather of rock’s already plenty stained jacket of time, but numbers like It’s My Life, from 2000’s Crush, and Have a Nice Day from the 2005 album of the same name, have clout enough to them to suggest that, eventually, they’ll be just as revered amongst the band’s fanbase as catalogue classics from New Jersey and Slippery When Wet.

Granted, one person’s classic is another’s cut that can’t be abided – but there’s a genuine universal appeal to a great many Bon Jovi tracks that puts them in the same league as U2. Sure, you’ll hate a few tracks when they’ve been playlisted into irrelevance; but time heals, and sure enough today Bon Jovi’s most brilliant firecrackers are enjoying new leases of life. No fewer than 12 of the tracks across these Greatest Hits discs will be available for players of the Rock Band series of video games to download. Frontman Jon Bon Jovi notes, in the accompanying promotional material, that these songs have stood the test of time, and for once the statement is more truth than flog-some-records hyperbole.

As with many greatest hits packages, a couple of new songs are tagged on the end – What Do You Got? is a by-the-book slowie worthy of a few lighters held aloft, and No Apologies is a rollicking barroom jam that’s high on energy if rather rattling of heart. They’re perfectly serviceable, but be fair – this is getting bought for the big-haired 80s hits, and nothing else. And that’s perfectly fine.

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