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Bon Jovi gets poppier with ‘Because We Can’

Bon Jovi were once a powerhouse in a saturated market full of big hair, heavy drums, scorching guitars and killer vocals. It might have taken three albums before they became a staple on rock radio and seen hanging on every teenage girl’s wall, but this quartet has managed to maintain their longevity by following the trend of today’s popular music. This is no doubt evident in their latest single, “Because We Can,” from their forthcoming album What About Now  to be released in March 2013.

As a lifelong Bon Jovi fan, I am highly disappointed in their latest sound.  Soft, mellow, too many cliches, less energetic and terribly mixed all describe their latest effort, in my opinion. I have all of their records and DVDs and long for their return to the Slippery When Wet or Keep The Faith days. These are two albums I could listen to from start to finish and not want to change tracks. There was no “filler” because all of these songs are great rock and roll nostalgia. I have come to terms that These Days are far behind us, but it would be nice to see them dabble a little bit back to their rock roots. Where is Bob Rock? Bring him in to produce/mix their next record and it’ll be another rock smash guaranteed!

The song follows typical pop music from the 2000s.  I was disappointed from the start as the song opens cold with vocals starting the chorus before the drums enter.

“I don’t want to be another wave in the ocean
“I am a rock, not just another grain of sand
“I want to be the one you run to when you need a shoulder
“I ain’t a soldier, but I’m here to take a stand
Because we can”

After a short prelude, the first verse starts, but the song lacks momentum as it follows the chorus, prelude, verse format. The guitar solo is not a typical Richie Sambora solo. It’s very predictable and weak for such a strong player like Sambora. It’s very melodic and follows the vocal line which doesn’t make it stand out like the solos he’s known for. It’s definitely a disappointment for someone like me who’s been waiting for new music from this band.

This overproduced track with catchy lyrics and lackluster riffs will appeal to the current generation, but not to this old school guy who grew up on classic Bon Jovi material. Don’t listen for this song to be played on any classic rock stations. It’s a standard affair for today’s Adult Contemporary and Pop radio. In fact, their recent collaboration with country duo Big & Rich has more potential for wider appeal, in my opinion.

The iTunes single artwork is better than the actual track itself. It features their latest heart and dagger logo in blue and gold surrounded by tan and brown roses. The dagger’s handle is slightly modified from its original by including a handle with finger four holes. The gold and white wings are cut off on the album, but the video below gives you a full view. I like the drawing and think it’s a cool cover.

I am a completist and huge Bon Jovi fan, so this lackluster single won’t prevent me from picking up their new album when it drops in March.  I have gotten used to being disappointed by my favorite acts producing good music. It’s not that they can’t write or sing or play, it’s the market. Labels and artists tend to know what will sell and what won’t. They know the die hard fans like myself will buy their records, singles, DVDs, etc., without hesitation even if they over produce material that is unappealing to them. They’re right. They win and I give up!

RATING: 1 star out of 5


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