The song “God Bless This Mess” sums up the album. The album is a complete mess. The album has some good songs, but overall lacks heart and the great songwriting from years past. I really wanted to like this album and hoped they could make one last great album. That did not happen.
What is wrong with the album? Where do I begin.
1. The album is so formulaic and a repeat of their last few albums. There is definitely nothing new.
2. The backing vocals are lacking. Richie Sambora’s vocals alongside Jon’s voice are sorely missed.
3. There are no great power ballads and a lot of the songs lack any real emotion. At times it feels like they are phoning it in. It is very disappointing.
4. The guitar is missing from most of these songs. There are guitars, don’t get me wrong, but when you have a talent like Phil X as lead guitarist…USE HIM!!! I hate how today’s music is getting further away from guitar rock music.
What did they get right…the first half of the album’s 12 songs is actually pretty damn good. The album starts with the opening and title track, “This House Is Not For Sale” which is a great song and does sound like typical Bon Jovi (what I love to hear).
“Living With A Ghost” is enjoyable. A little laid back compared to the first song. The guitar sound on this one is cool and light and has an overall good sound. I didn’t like this one at first, but it grew on me.
If you like the songs “It’s My Life” and “Have a Nice Day”, switch the title to “Knockout” and you would have this new song; however, the song is so much like those songs you can’t really call it new. It does have a great beat and is very catchy so it is worth keeping, but proves my point of nothing new on this album.
The only misstep on the first half was “Labor of Love”. It is a slow, country sounding song that completely misses the mark. It reminded me too much of their last few albums which are not my favorites.
The only other two songs worth keeping are “Born Again Tomorrow” and “Roller Coaster”. “Born Again Tomorrow” picks things back up again and he gives you a catchy chorus and a little heart. “Roller Coaster” is the only song that gave me inspiring lyrics and an overall catchy and engaging song. Tito’s drums were also well utilized.
The second half of the album is where all my problems lie. Lyrics were cheesy, cliched, uninspiring and in no way lets you connect to the songs. They were complete carbon copies of songs from the last 3-4 albums and part of the reason why so many have given up on the band.
The worst song on the album has to be “Scars on This Guitar”. I am not sure if he was trying to recreate “While My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms” or what, but it is painful to listen to from beginning to end. I had to force myself not to hit skip every time it came on.
On the Deluxe Edition, you get 3 more songs and the best song on the whole album, “We Don’t Run”. The song is actually from their last album ‘Burning Bridges’, but I guess they felt since no one bought the last album they should showcase this song again. It makes sense because it is a fabulous song. The only other song of the Deluxe Edition that is worth anything is “All Hail the King”. Both of these songs have one thing in common…the guitar work is fantastic.
- “This House Is Not For Sale” – Keeper
- “Living With the Ghost” – Keeper
- “Knockout” – Keeper
- “Labor Of Love” – Delete
- “Born Again Tomorrow” – Keeper
- “Roller Coaster” – Keeper
- “New Year’s Day” – Delete
- “The Devil’s in the Temple” – Delete
- “Scars on My Guitar” – Delete
- “God Bless This Mess” – Delete
- “Reunion” – Delete
- “Come On Up To Our House” – Delete
- “Real Love” – Delete
- “All Hail the King” – Keeper
- “We Don’t Run” – Keeper (if you don’t already have it)
5 keepers out 12 songs – 42% (2.1 out 5 stars). While the new album has some great new songs, the overall album is too much like the last 3 to 4 albums and gives us nothing new and refreshing. The album won’t win back any old lost fans, but probably won’t generate too many new ones either. The heyday of Bon Jovi appears to have seen better days. I will keep holding out hope, but with each album that hope keeps dwindling. If I added in the scoring with the Deluxe Edition the score would only go up to 47% which is not much better.