Bon Jovi: Jon Bon Jovi (vocals, harmonica, percussion); Richie Sambora (acoustic & electric guitars, electric sitar, background vocals); David Bryan (keyboards, background vocals); Tico Torres (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Suzie Katayama (accordion); Jerry Vivino (tenor saxophone); Ed Manion (baritone saxophone); Mark Pender (trumpet); Richie LaBamba (trombone); Robbie Buchanan (keyboards, programming); Jerry Cohen (keyboards); Hugh McDonald, Randy Jackson (bass); Tommy Funderburk, Rory Dodd (background vocals).
Producers: Peter Collins, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora.
Digitally remastered using 20-bit technology by George Marino (1998, Sterling Sound, New York, New York).
Riding a resurgence in popularity with the triple-platinum success of their greatest-hits package CROSSROADS, Bon Jovi returns with THESE DAYS, their first studio album since 1992's KEEP THE FAITH. And it's obvious that the alterna-rock nihilism exhibited by many of their more angst-ridden peers has affected the band's material, giving the blue-collar romanticism of the Jersey rockers a darker vibe.
Jon Bon Jovi's characters on THESE DAYS weigh in with more mature and darker conflicts than those explored on previous albums. On "Hey God," a family man on the brink of homelessness cries out for spiritual guidance. The title track goes a step further, describing the sheer hopelessness that goes with not having a place to live. Other characters who've lost their way are either on quests of faith ("Something To Believe In") or have found other altars to worship at ("Something For The Pain").
Along with heightened lyrical development, the group's sound continues to evolve away from the usual pop-metal fare. Jon Bon Jovi occassionally drifts into a raspy voice that is a direct nod to Bruce Springsteen, while David Bryan's keyboard playing veers from the lush orchestration of "Lie To Me" to a simpler harpsichord tone in "If That's What It Takes." Still, Bon Jovi remain a guitar-driven band, and Richie Sambora's muscular style has expanded to include some tasty electric-sitar playing.
Though Jon Bon Jovi's sunny optimism is tempered by the murkier subject matter, he still closes THESE DAYS with "Diamond Ring," a gentle matrimonial proposal that shows this Jersey boy is still a romantic at heart.
Rolling Stone (6/29/95, p.42) - 3 Stars - Good - "Bon Jovi trade their metallic party-dude past for Garth Brooks and ZZ Top-ish turns....Bon Jovi pump out those really big, rounder-than-round sound-wavin' hooks, the ultimate guilty pleasure. The fact is, nobody does it better..."
Q (2/96, p.62) - Included in Q's 50 Best Albums of 1995.
Q (7/95, p.115) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...Striving to locate himself in the moral jungle of extreme wealth, Bon Jovi focuses on two themes: losing his faith and losing his money....THESE DAYS is the kind of partial self-reinvention the longer career requires."