review by Michael McCarthy

I thought the new Bon Jovi singles, “Legendary” and “Living Proof,” were pretty good. And I figured the rest of their new album, Forever, would be better because for some reason they always release the kind of generic anthems as their first couple of singles. Unfortunately, I’ve just listened to the entire new album and it’s awful. So awful it breaks my heart. It might even be worse than 2020. No, there aren’t depressing songs about things like the pandemic and George Floyd’s death, but the songs just aren’t particularly catchy or moving. And the production is awful. There were a couple of albums that I didn’t mind John Shanks production on but this one sounds so damn weak. Just way, way too mellow. You barely feel the drums. It reminds me of Bryan Adams’ worst music. I love some of Bryan’s albums but Bon Jovi’s Forever is the vein of his “Everything I Do (I Do it For You)” era crap.

Most of the guitars on Bon Jovi’s Forever are acoustic. It doesn’t sound like a rock album. It sounds like a pop rock album. A wishy washy, boring pop rock album. I didn’t feel touched or moved by any of the lyrics at all. Even the ballads lack that level of emotion that they used to bring to their ballads. It’s hard to believe that this is the same band that brought us “Never Say Goodbye” and “Always,” etc.

I don’t know who the hell Jon made this record for. I guess he just did it for himself. That’s probably why he’s the only member you see on the album cover again. I guess this is just some kind of attempt to prove that he’s a serious artist now or something. It’s kind of weird how he spent so much time talking about his legacy in the recent documentary but then he puts out an album that’s so weak he ought to be embarrassed.

I would have thought that Jon had gotten the message that people did not care for the 2020 album. That he would’ve delivered something heavier or catchier or just plain better this time. But it’s like he decided to make another 2020 to spite us or something.

And just for the record, I loved This House is Not For Sale, the first official album without Richie. I thought that was a very energetic and exciting record. I even liked it better than The Circle and What About Now. But 2020 was horrible and so is Forever. It kills me to have to say that but it is what it is.

And I know a lot of people didn’t like Burning Bridges, the album they half-assed to fulfill what they thought was a bad record deal, but Burning Bridges is an A+, brilliant record compared to Forever. Then again, I actually liked Burning Bridges a lot. I thought “A Teardrop to the Sea” and “Fingerprints” were two of the best ballads Bon Jovi ever released. They were like a cross between These Days and Keep The Faith. My point is just that I’ve even loved some Bon Jovi records that most fans did not care for at all. But even I am depressed by how lame Forever is. Truthfully, Forever might even be WORSE than 2020. At least “Love is A Beautiful Drug” from 2020 was pretty darn catchy. And the ballads on 2020 were kind of catchy. But I think an AI could’ve written a better Bon Jovi ballad than what they have on Forever.

Finally, I should point out that a lot of the songs on Forever actually sound more like country songs than the songs on Lost Highway.

I was going to finally go see Bon Jovi live for the first time since Richie left but now I don’t think I’ll bother. The set list will probably be full of songs from 2020 and Forever and I’d probably leave the show feeling like I was punched in the gut a dozen times.



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