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Album Review: Bon Jovi - New Jersey (Super Deluxe Edition)

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 8:55 PM


Bon Jovi – New Jersey (Super Deluxe Edition)

Written by The Rock Man

 

Here it is very simply – I am a Bon Jovi tragic. However these days they do not appear to be the same mega-awesome band they use to be in the 1980s/early 1990s. It shocks me that I have to say this, but over the last decade and a half they have grown into a different type of beast; sure they have produced some outstanding work such as Have A Nice Day (2005) or The Circle (2010) but who would have thought that they would explore the “Nashville” inspired road? That aside, 2014 sees the band celebrate 30 years in the music industry, and like most bands that celebrate a significant milestone, there are goodies released for the fans. In this case it the Super Deluxe Edition of their 7 x Platinum selling 1988 album New Jersey.


For me, New Jersey is one of the greatest moments in 80s hard rock history. The album came off the heels of the band’s breakthrough album Slippery When Wet and charted at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart for four weeks and gave the band 5 Billboard Hot 100 singles. In addition, it went to number 1 in several overseas markets including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland and Sweden. Originally the band intended to call the record Sons Of Beaches and release it as a double album, however the record label at the time, Mercury, shut that idea down and the record was released in single form with the New Jersey title. The rest, as they say, is history.


So let’s fast forward 26 years later to where this Super Deluxe Edition is available. This latest package is full to the brim of value for money. Here you will find a 3 disc set which includes the original New Jersey release with 3 bonus tracks, The Boys Are Back In Town (Thin Lizzy cover), Love Is War and Born To Be My Baby (acoustic version). The second disc contains the 13 Sons Of Beaches demos, while disc 3 is a DVD featuring the 88 minute documentary Access All Areas: A Rock & Roll Odyssey, plus seven music videos.


So by now we all know how brilliant the New Jersey album is but what of the 13 Sons Of Beaches demos? After listening to this collection of material it is pretty easy to understand why song selection for a record can be difficult. You start thinking ‘this track could have been on the album, but what do you leave off?’ and I am sure that was the dilemma facing the band at the time, hence the double album idea.


There are a number of rockers like Judgement Day, Growin’ Up The Hard Way and Full Moon High which could have easily been included on New Jersey and have that trademark “Na,na,na” lyric going which was the rage with them at the time. Big power ballads were also the order of the day and they are represented well with songs like Backdoor To Heaven, Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore? and Now And Forever. A handful of cuts that made it onto the New Jersey release such as Homebound Train, Wild Is The Wind and Stick To Your Guns appear in their embryonic state while a more meaty guitar driven version of Diamond Ring which later featured on the band’s These Days album is on offer here. And interestingly a track called House Of Fire which a year later would find its way onto Alice Cooper’s Trash album.


While the sound quality is not always perfect, remember these are demo versions, this is a fantastic collection of material but I would say this is for the die-hard fans that have been following the band for three decades, a thank you of sorts from the band for years of loyalty.


Categories: Album Reviews

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