One of the few lineups to make the leap from 1980s “hair band” into long-term semi-respectability, Bon Jovi’s eighth studio album is somewhat true to the band’s pop-metal roots, though Bounce is ultimately mellower and more theatrical than previous outings. “Undivided” might be a Tom Waits number, all gravelly vocals and booming drums hinting at a dark hipness before kicking into a commercial, lush chorus. Still, it’s got a pleasing edginess, as does the toe-tapping, mechanized feel of “Everyday.” Jon Bon Jovi’s forays into film have clearly influenced Bounce. “You Had Me from Hello,” the title nicked from Jerry Maguire, is spare, poignant, and gentle, while “The Right Side of Wrong” references Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and has a piano-heavy Springsteen-meets-Billy Joel feel. Typical ballads like “Joey” and “All About Loving You” also populate the album, which often feels like a singer-songwriter outing, or a movie soundtrack, rather than an album by a veteran rock band. Some of Bounce’s bouncier tunes may still appeal to the now-middle-aged fans of the band’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” era, while the melodrama marking much of the album might lose those who prefer headbanging over Bon Jovi’s more mellow and grandiose musical musings.
180g vinyl reissue [UK Import]