Saturday, May 18, 2024

Living Proof brings back the talkbox: Bon Jovi's new single out now!

Screenshot from Bon Jovi's Living Proof lyric video.

 "Living Proof", the second single from Bon Jovi's upcoming album Forever, dropped on Friday.

My verdict? This song is pure flipping joy and I will be taking no questions at this time. (Just kidding. Questions are always welcome, as are comments and messages, even if you disagree with me.)

Here's the official lyric video:

The talkbox sounds sooooo damn good and it's nice to hear Phil X actually getting to do something interesting. It doesn't happen nearly enough, and that's probably my biggest gripe with "new Bon Jovi" -- because I do still rate Jon as a songwriter, but Phil's talents have been seriously wasted over the last decade. Especially in the studio. John Shanks, for whatever reason, has a massive hold and influence on Jon (and I acknowledge he co-wrote "Living Proof") but the dude is already producing everything... so he can take a back seat on the guitar and let Phil cut loose like the rock star we know he can be. Just sayin'.

Sound-wise, "Living Proof" is reminiscent of parts of the Have a Nice Day and Bounce albums, plus "This Is Love, This Is Life" (which deserved a little more than being a throwaway track on the deluxe edition of the Greatest Hits). 

"Living Proof" doesn't break any new ground but I don't need it to, nor do I think anyone has ever considered Bon Jovi the world's most original band. I just dig the song. It pumps me up, it makes me happy.

What do you think of "Living Proof"? Good, bad, meh? Let me know!

PS. Richie stans, I haven't forgotten about his new songs. I'm just super busy with work, plus I wanted to talk about all four together since the cover art and press release suggested they're meant to be part of a set. I'll post after I'm finished with a conference this week.

Feel free to share your thoughts below. 😊
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Sunday, May 5, 2024

Thank You, Goodnight: a Bon Jovi fan's reflections

Promotional picture for Thank You Goodnight: The Bon Jovi story.

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story
dropped a little over a week ago -- it was waiting for me on Disney+ in Australia when I got home on a Friday night. 

Now, I didn't try to rush out and be the first to write about it because:

a) "breaking news" isn't my vision for the blog -- and there are plenty of other fans, podcasters, etc. covering that ground;

b) I didn't want to just binge all four episodes right away at the expense of being able to process what I was watching;

c) I do have other things in my life, including needing to be awake and alert for Saturday morning commitments, instead of being tired and distracted by thoughts of Bon Jovi.

So I watched it over a few days, chatted to some people about it, and then came back here.

What do I think?

Honestly, I love it. Is it perfect? No, but it was enough for me. Is it very Jon-centric? Sure, but the elephant of the decade (Jon's voice) was a key factor in Bon Jovi's success during their prime, and is integral to any future they may have.

At times it was quite heartbreaking to see his struggles with his voice laid bare. I mean, we've all heard it. I've blogged about it. Other fans have talked about it. News articles were written about it on that rough 2022 tour. But we also saw him being aware of it and trying to do something. We saw the other guys on stage trying to pull him through and support him.

As for Richie Sambora... well, I'm really glad he's in the documentary. I think he still has a massive chip on his shoulder, but I also completely understand him feeling pushed aside by John Shanks during the What About Now sessions. An album which, given what transpired afterwards, I don't think I've listened to since 2013.

Speaking of which, Shanks comes across kind of badly in his interview -- his little smirk and chuckle about being the guy between Jon and Richie made me uncomfortable. It could've just been nervous laughter, of course. I giggle when I'm nervous, and since I don't know Shanks at all, I can't possibly say he had any malicious intent. But yeah, it just didn't look that great.

There are plenty of fans who simp for Jon or Richie, think the other is the devil, and had already made up their minds long before this documentary aired. Nothing about it would've changed their thinking. But most of the criticisms levelled at one man could easily apply to the other. They both have rock star egos, they both twist or embellish details to make themselves look better, they're both stubborn AF. Like seriously, bros, you were both in your goddamn 50s when all this went down... be better!

But I'd love to see Richie back in the band, Phil X as the "other guitarist" and Shanks just... not? I don't hate the guy. I mean, he came on board to produce Have a Nice Day, an album that probably saved my life when I was a teenager. But it seems weird for him to have had this much influence over the band -- and particularly Jon -- for such a long period of time.

Speaking of guitarists, Bobby Bandiera should've been interviewed. He was around for almost a decade, from the Have a Nice Day tour until the end of Because We Can tour... and I think he'd have had some interesting things to say about that time, if he was willing to share.

Before anyone else brings it up, long-time manager Paul Korzilius wrongly claimed the 1995 "Live in London" shows were the last shows at Wembley Stadium, but I'm very confident he just misremembered, and there was no deliberate lie there. (Probs could've been fact-checked in post-production though.)

Super cool to hear a decent sounding recording of "Cadillac Man" from the archives. Here's a performance of this underrated song, from Osaka in 1991 -- how freaking good:

So yes... in summary, I enjoyed the documentary. Wouldn't have hurt to hear a little more from the rest of the band, past and present (though Alec John Such passed away before he could be interviewed). And it might have been a bit tighter with less previous footage woven in (e.g. from Access All Areas and When We Were Beautiful). But all in all, it was worth watching. For me, at least.

I know there are a lot of folks for whom Bon Jovi ended when Richie left, or when they "went country", or "got too commercial" or whatever.

There's an Australian band that I used to absolutely love, and a big part of that was their long-term lineup (which wasn't the original lineup, but the one I got to know on tour over about 10 years). Now that lineup is no more and I find myself just not being able to get excited about them, not going to their live shows anymore, etc. There were many times I thought that could be happening with me and Bon Jovi, but... no, not yet anyway. They're my band. They're still my band. Even as they are now, not quite where I want them to be. I guess that's the realisation I got from Thank You, Goodnight. The heart and dagger tattoo on my back is forever -- literally, but also figuratively.

Have you watched Thank You, Goodnight yet? What do you think?

PS. I have not forgotten about Richie's new music. It's cool that he (or his new marketing/PR person?) realised that there's a lot of renewed interest in him thanks to the documentary, and he should totally take advantage of it. I'll make a separate post for the new tunes.

Feel free to share your thoughts below. 😊
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