Album Review: Bon Jovi Burning Bridges

I have been a Bon Jovi fan for more years than I care to admit to, and have started counting on toes how many times I’ve seen him in concert. So when “Burning Bridges” appeared in my mailbox (having pre-ordered so I could have it the day it came out) I was both excited – and confused. There is no jewel case, just brown poster board with limited writing: cover “Bon Jovi Burning Bridges”. Back cover: song list and produced by John Shanks and Jon Bon Jovi. No photos, no lyric book. I think “Burning Bridges” is an apt title, because with this CD you can pretty much take all you know about the band in the past and throw it out the window. And speaking of throwing out…that CD cover almost went in the garbage twice, it looks like a piece of junk mail!

First and most obviously Richie Sambora is missing, and the Bon Jovi arena guitar sound suffers. The songs swing back and forth between bluesy sounding tracks and country. “Teardrop to the Sea” is about a “Judas kiss” and is about as morose a song as you can get. One could extrapolate that this song is about his falling out with Sambora.

The next song is a little more like the Bon Jovi we love, and the closest to arena rock on the CD. Still, he’s singing so fast it’s hard to catch the lyrics – “we don’t run” and “Burning Bridges light our way.” This is the same Bon Jovi who gave us “Living on A Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “It’s My Life” and “Have a Nice Day”? Hardly.

“Saturday Night Gave Me Sunday Morning” is the most optimistic song thus far, but one had a feeling family matters made him take stock of his life. He is very hard on himself. “He pushed his luck a time or two; he’d never thought he’d hear the church bells ringing”….Who is this new Jon Bon Jovi? Morose, “We All Fall Down” – don’t be scared to hit the ground. This is like watching a bad rom com that turns into a sobfest.

“Blind Love” is about utter disappointment, and “Who would You Die For” makes you want to cut your wrists. “Fingerprints” is almost country/bluesy, about it’s also about betrayal. “Life is Beautiful” follows, and is country arena rock, and the most optimistic song on the CD. “I’m Your Man” is another country rocker and probably my favorite song on the CD. This song has some great guitar work, but without liner notes I’m not sure who it is; isn’t giving it up.

The last song, the countrified “Burning Bridges” has the harsh chorus of ”Here’s a last song you can sell/Let’s call it Burning Bridges, it’s a singalong as well…hope my money and my masters buy a front-row seat in hell.” Adios, Sayanora, a vida zane, farewell. Wow, Bon Jovi. Ouch. I hope not. It pains me to hear and to review this CD.

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