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Articles Home » 1988 Articles » Bon Jovi - 1988 New Jersey
Bon Jovi - 1988 New Jersey

ARTIST: Bon Jovi
ALBUM: New Jersey
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: 836 345-1 (LP), 836 345-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1988
CD REISSUE: 1998, Mercury, 314 538 090-2 * 2010, Island, 06025-2736165-9 (bonus tracks, collectors edition)


LINEUP: Jon Bon Jovi - vocals * Richie Sambora - guitars, vocals * David Bryan - keyboards, vocals * Alec John Such - bass, vocals * Tico Torres - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Lay Your Hands On Me * 02 Bad Medicine * 03 Born To Be My Baby * 04 Living In Sin * 05 Blood On Blood * 06 Homebound Train * 07 Wild Is The Wind * 08 Ride Cowboy Ride * 09 Stick To Your Guns * 10 I'll Be There For You * 11 99 In The Shade * 12 Love For Sale


I think it goes without saying that Bon Jovi went through several stages in their career. Their first stage arguably ends at the feet of this album. For many, Bon Jovi's career started and ended with this first stage duration between 1984 and 1988. Not bothered with the rest of their career, some of us would have been quite happy if the band had called it quits in 1989 after the New Jersey tour. After all, they delivered four pretty good albums during this timespan, and they could've left it just at that. Though it was a huge-seller back in the 1988/89 timeframe, 'New Jersey' for me seemed to fall off the radar pretty quickly after that, though I will admit listening to this in recent times has put paid to that theory. Eventually, Jon Bon Jovi's love affair with all things 'cow-poke' alienated him even more from my list of favourite AOR acts. The fact that JBJ publicly denounced his 1984 debut album was the last straw for me; talk about the straw which broke the Camel's back! So what do we remember about 'New Jersey'? Was it the hard rock equivalent of Springsteen's 'Born In The USA', with the common denominator being that Eastern Seaboard state? It was a big sounding album, the expected follow-up to the mega-selling 'Slippery When Wet', and duly delivered at the box office, in a big way.

The Songs
Getting underway, this platter serves up the massive melodic affair 'Lay Your Hands On Me', and despite the pseudo gospel style/theme, this one is a winner.. turn it up loud! Of course the big hit on the album is the next track 'Bad Medicine'. You'd have to be a just-landed alien on this planet to not have heard this song on the airwaves back in the day.. 'your love is like bad medicine, bad medicine is all I need..' 'Born To Be My Baby' admittedly sounds far better now than I ever gave it credit for previously. David Bryant's keyboard taps drags this song right into the middle of AOR Plaza! 'Living In Sin' sees Bon Jovi doing the power ballad thing to great aplomb, I really enjoyed this track, it has a slightly dark edge to it which adds to the occasion. 'Blood On Blood' is the obligatory New Jersey state anthem for 1988. You could just imagine Bon Jovi blasting this out at the half-time Superbowl entertainment and sending the crowd in the bleachers into hard rock euphoria. 'Homebound Train' is a pretty heavy and rockin' track with some outlandish guitar from Richie Sambora. Another track to impress, considering I haven't listened to this years. I'm also enjoying the anthemic 'Wild Is The Wind', big riffs, just the right amount of keyboard applied at the right time and JBJ's vocals sounds half decent here. The two part cowboy affair 'Ride Cowboy Ride (intro) and subsequent 'Stick To Your Guns' is the catalyst for JBJ's 'Blaze Of Glory' material two years later. 'Stick To Your Guns' is a power-ballad in the vein of Tesla, though David Bryant's keys gives it a point of difference. The other big hit on the album and which paraded itself on MTV was 'I'll Be There For You', though as we saw, it was one of five tracks to make the Billboard Top 10. Finishing up the album, '99 In The Shade' is a continuation of the band's glossy high-grade anthemic rock, while 'Love For Sale' is fun time romp in the vein of David Lee Roth's solo material and at a stretch, Van Halen when they decide to be funny.

In Summary
As mentioned, the album spawned five top 10 tracks, with significant co-writes from Desmond Child (four) and one from Holly Knight. 'New Jersey' went through the roof sales wise, going to #1 on the album charts in several countries. It would go on to sell upward of 7 million copies. Listening to this again years later, I am compelled to grudgingly admit that this was a damn fine piece of work for 1988. Possibly because of their superstar status during this timeframe may have seen me apply the tall poppy syndrome unfairly to Bon Jovi, and also the fact that the band were highly overexposed and saturated in radio and TV. For what it's worth, a great album that deserves a lot more respect.

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#1 | gdazegod on April 25 2013 04:14:13
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#2 | gdazegod on April 25 2013 04:14:38
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#3 | gdazegod on April 25 2013 04:16:01
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#4 | gdazegod on April 25 2013 04:16:51
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#5 | gdazegod on April 25 2013 04:19:15
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#6 | roadrunner158 on April 25 2013 17:56:58
Absolute monster of an album and still my favourite Bon Jovi CD. Nearly every song is a winner and with only 3 ballads on board, it's a pretty rocking affair for Bon Jovi standards.
#7 | reyno-roxx on April 25 2013 20:02:04
Bon Jovi's albums have certainly been more filler than killer since this album and. maybe, 'Keep The Faith'. I certainly can't name a single Bon Jovi track since 'Have A Nice Day'. Jon's second solo album was far more interesting than the band product.
#8 | RobLynott on April 26 2013 10:37:15
The last great Bon Jovi album unfortunately. After that (and Keep the faith) they went all the way down towards dull housewife music. What a shame!
#9 | spawn71 on April 26 2013 13:20:48
I agree with the other comments. Back in the days I understimated this record, compared to the brilliance of "Slippery When Wet", but listening to it now I can say that it's probably even more consistent than SWW... For example, now I simply LOVE a track like "Stick to your guns" that I skipped years ago. And yes, this is the last GREAT Bon Jovi record, together with "Keep The Faith"!
#10 | jeffrey343 on April 27 2013 03:05:36
This came out in September 1988, my last quarter of college. I of course had high expectations, as SWW was a huge album for me. The first three songs definitely lived up to my expectations. But starting with 'Living In Sin', the album ceased being the cheesy fun rock that I had loved on earlier albums. I moved to a totally different area upon graduation, and I couldn't find the same kind of radio stations that I had listened to in college, and I couldn't get cable in my apartment (so no MTV), so I largely missed out on 'I'll Be There For You', 'Lay Your Hands On Me', and 'Living In Sin' being huge radio and video hits. I did create a Bon Jovi mix tape for the car, and the only three songs from this one that I included were the first three. I've gotten to enjoy it more over the years, as I can relate to some of the more mature lyrics better than I could in my very early 20s. But it still doesn't exceed SWW, or especially the debut, and I still prefer '7800 F' too.
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