Bon Jovi Forever album art

Bon Jovi – Forever (Album Review)

Bon Jovi Forever band promo

Arriving onto the Hard Rock scene back in 1983, Bon Jovi became a massively successful band that united a Metal edge with a Pop Rock sensibility like few others from the decade. Unique, they could satisfy a heavier Rock fanbase – with early hits like 1984’s “Runaway” or 1986’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” – but they also enticed broader mainstream interest with touching love songs including 1988’s “I’ll Be There for You.” An Arena Rock band in the truest sense of the title, Bon Jovi could have audiences chanting along and headbanging, just as much as they could get them to raise a lighter for a ballad.

At this point one of the best-selling Rock bands of the 20th century, Bon Jovi is more than just a brand name or legacy act. Still quite inspired, the band remains a living breathing entity as they continue to tour heavily, but also write, record, and release new music. Putting matters into perspective, following their prime years of dominance (during the ‘80s into the ‘90s), starting in the new millennium with the exciting 2000 album Crush, the band have sustained success with one top ten album after another. Of course, shifting their stylistic approach throughout – dabbling in some Pop Rock or Country Rock leanings at times – what has always remained consistent is the band’s love and affection for guitar-driven Rock-n-Roll.  That in mind, the last fans heard from Bon Jovi was with 2020 titled in honor of the year which it was released. Looking at this, 2020 was a solid mix of Pop Rock tunes that often dug into the issues of the time and offered some heartfelt perspective on the whirlwinds surrounding us. Now almost four years later, the chaos and uncertainty is even more pronounced, but what the band does here is interject some hope and good vibes amidst new songs.

Calling the album Forever, and preparing to release it on June 7, 2024 through Island Records, amazingly, it will be Bon Jovi’s sixteenth studio album. Coming a few months after their fortieth anniversary, as well as the release of the well received documentary Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, it seems as if there is a relatively large interest in present day Bon Jovi’s activities. Really great to see, the lineup nowadays includes, of course, Jon Bon Jovi, but also longtime members such as Keyboardist David Bryan and Drummer Tico Torres. Key components to everything, there is no denying that fans miss the inclusion of Guitarist Richie Sambora, however, he has not been a part of the fold for over eleven years now. Feeling like a lifetime ago, the cast joining Jon, David, and Tico is still a very talented bunch; this being Bassist Hugh McDonald, Guitarist Phil X and John Shanks, plus Multi-instrumentalist Everett Bradley. Together they joined up with Jon Bon Jovi in the studio and carved out twelve tracks that feel like a much needed breath of fresh air.

What does this mean? It means that in a time where anxiety is riding high, and no one knows where to turn as everything becomes more divisive, Forever gives you some upbeat, feel-good music. Taking a more straight-ahead Rock-n-Roll approach than other newer Bon Jovi albums, there are some really cool tunes on here that will have you turning up the radio; like recent single “Living Proof,” “People’s House,” and “My First Guitar.”

These few mentioned being the grittiest rockers of the album, there are also other enjoyable more modern Pop Rock listens as well; such as the single “Legendary,” “We Made It Look Easy,” but also “Living in Paradise.” Each displaying a different side of Bon Jovi, on the more Rock tunes, you can feel the sincerity and energy. This is while the more Pop tunes beam with color and optimism, and frankly, it could be what everyone needs. Joining these, there are also some really touching more stripped-down songs, like “Kiss The Bride” and album closer “Hollow Man.”

Overall, Forever is a bit of a throwback for Bon Jovi in the respect that the approach and sonic quality is a bit rawer and back to basics. It is an album that really has a bit of everything and should make old school fans of Bon Jovi smile to hear some earlier influences shine through. Giving you a break from the constant bombardment of negativity, Cryptic Rock gives Forever 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Bon Jovi Forever album art
Bon Jovi – Forever / Island Records (2024)

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