If you’ve ever met me or read my blog you are well aware of my long-standing love affair with Bon Jovi. And so of course I had to get their Greatest Hits album and of course I had to get the “Ultimate” 2 CD version! So, for the past 3 weeks I have been listening this 2 CD set pretty much every second I’m in my car. Since I have a 40 minute commute to work (and of course another one back home again) this gives me plenty of time to enjoy and analyze this collection. And while I would have chosen a couple different songs and maybe swapped a couple songs around overall I am very pleased.
Disc One is full of the songs that people think of when they think about Bon Jovi. The playlist leads off with “Livin’ On a Prayer”- arguably their best known tune ever- and parties through the decades after that. While every one of Bon Jovi’s albums except for “7800 Fahrenheit” and “Bounce” are represented here the majority of the songs are from the band’s two very successful late 80’s offerings- “Slippery When Wet” and “New Jersey”. This is an all-out, waking up the neighbors, 2 days to recover from party! We’re talking big guitar solos, huge drums, etc. This is arena rock at its finest. The new song “No Apologies” fits into this theme perfectly- so much so it’s easy to forget it’s a new tune! It’s the kind of “in your face” anthem that people expect from Bon Jovi. The other new song “What Do You Got?” is a great song about the merits of love but almost feels out of place here. I suspect the only reason it’s not on Disc Two is that this collection is available as one or two discs and they wanted to make sure everyone got this song since it’s been released as a single.
Disc Two has a totally different vibe than Disc One. If Disc One is a party Disc Two is kicking back at home with a bottle of wine and a couple good friends to discuss the meaning of life. There is an almost contemplative feel to it. These are still songs that all Bon Jovi fans know and love, but maybe we haven’t thought about in a while. It opens up with the lost gem “In These Arms”‘ and includes other “forgotten” songs such as “Someday I’ll be Saturday Night” and “This Ain’t a Love Song”. There are two new songs on this disc as well. “This is Love, This is Life” is a hopeful but realistic song about long-term love. The last song, “The More Things Change” is a great, if jarring, end to the collection (I would have swapped it with “What Do You Got”) with an insanely catchy hook and a figurative big middle finger enthusiastically extended to the many critics Bon Jovi has endured for 25 years and counting.
The first half of the chorus:
The more things change the more they stay the same
The same sunrise it’s just another day
If you hang in long enough they say you’re comin’ back
Just take a look we’re living proof and baby that’s a fact
Yes it is. And I couldn’t be happier for it.