Bon Jovi - This House is Not for Sale

Bon Jovi This House is Not for Sale cover
Bon Jovi
This House is Not for Sale
Island Records
Jon Bon Jovi keeps on going despite having put out a bunch of increasingly boring albums calumniating with the release of “What About Now” a few years ago, which was probably one of the most abysmal efforts by the band ever, easily eclipse even by a “contractual obligation” album that the band offered in the form of the odds and sods album, “Burning Bridges” last year.
“This House is not for Sale” is allegedly the first album from the band – now free from their contractual binds. Also the first of their albums not featuring talismanic guitarist Richie Sambora at all. The eponymous track is a classic neo-jovi anthem, but you know that you’ve heard that riff, a couple of times ago and the guitar is reduced in the mix to be something like a background noise for the most part. It’s understood that the band needs to aid John by tuning lower but the only thing to like on this song is the short solo that Phil X attempts and seems to be quite a nice fit.
“Living with the Ghost” tries to be modern sounding, semi anthem-semi ballad, all smalzy and not really all that good.
“Knockout” maintains the “muffled” production and modern sound, but at least it has a bit of attitude, so it doesn’t suck completely, being a bit better than its predecessor.
“Labor of Love” is a modern moody ballad, but at least it works well enough, probably the most sincere song so far, but sounding more like a Billy Idol reject, than Bon Jovi. Obviously at this point in time both would kill for a song like this.
In “Born Again Tomorrow” Jon falls victim to the “autotune” plague, which takes most of this pop/beat tune’s charm away, by being too evident. The chorus is OK, but overall? Nah…
“Roller Coaster” is too simple a song, with a simple but effective chorus, but Jon’s vocal production makes him stand out in a bit of an odd way. Not bad, but this seems to be something more akin to Green Day, rather than Jovi.
“New Year’s Day” takes the above formula, bastardizes it with a stolen riff, from “Last Cigarette” and pukes out a crappy fuzzy modern bublegum pop tune about Xmas. Holy S#it… this new found wholesomeness is vomit inducing, but to each his own. Milf-mom’s might enjoy it. I don’t.
“The Devil’s in the Temple” continues with the overdriven vocal production and has some really weird start stop dynamics that don’t really work all too well.
“Scars on This Guitar” is a quite honest track, an acoustic ballad about “the guitar”, the only mistress your wife might let you have... without screaming murder. It’s honest, but a little too smalzy and it veers on for a bit too long for my liking. Plus a bit reminiscent of “Angel” by “Aerosmith” during a certain portion.
“God Bless This Mess” is another dance-rocker, using that “riff” that BJ has written some 20 odd songs off from, but it’s utterly boring, despite Jon’s best efforts to keep things moving along.
“Reunion” is a misguided country tinged ballad that’s just to hickey and modern for me to like, on either account. The twangy “fuzzy” guitars, the vocals… it’s a mess alright, but there’s no god to bless this mess...right? A momentary pass, a little into the second minute, where the song sounds like a Tom Petty/Traveling Wilberries tune, is kinda cool, but lost all too soon.
“Come on up to Our House” is yet another super mediocre tune that should appeal to cowboys only, with a terrible synthetic guitar sound, something between a guitar an accordion and a kazoo for f’s sake.
“Real Love” is a piano ballad, with some soft lingering strings that is far better than any of half dozen songs that precede it, but still feels uninspired and really kills the album’s flow at a decisive part.
As expected, “All Hail the King” begins with a strong rock intro, but very soon subsides into a wimpy subdued verse, from which is struggles to get away, but it hardly manages to. A nice guitar lead is all that I could remember, before some mellow part… really, not what could have kickstarted the album and put it back into motion, as “We Don’t Run”, a song that actually the band also offered in its “Burning Bridges” parting album with Mercury, which here appears in a “tuned” remix that simply sounds a bit worse. It still pisses all over any other song on the album, which is telling of how “soft”, “safe” and predictable Bon Jovi has become these days – (no pun intended)…
“I Will Drive You Home Tonight” is a wimpy “quasi-smooth” crooning tune with that enveloping “plastic” production. Frankly boring despite Jon’s attempt to sound soothing. In fact, it feels like a tired vocal with all the passion sucked out, to be honest… sad.
“Good Night New York” has a very short passage during the verses that’s cool, but past it… it’s a silly really rhyme that half manages to close the album on a not so high note – (pun intended)…
Lastly, if you buy the album via “Saturn”, an exclusive largely acoustic track, “Touch of Grey” is available in reality much better than half of the songs on the album…
Completely absorbed in a pop and non-rock sound, with no real intention of rocking or even bothering to right and produce well a good original song, Bon Jovi delivers another very blunt and homogenized album with random glimpses of good ideas appearing and disappearing as fast as you could say… I dunno… Sambora?!
Out of some 18 tracks only about 3-4 are “good”… that’s weak. Very Weak. Maybe you shouldn’t have burned those bridges Mr. JBJ… because on this side of the track, things are not so rosey…