CD Review:Have a Nice Day more of the same from Bon Jovi

With nearly 23 years of experience under their belt and a new record on store shelves, Bon Jovi is quickly moving itself into position alongside legendary rockers like The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith.

Have a Nice Day, the band’s 13th full-length domestic release (which includes a live album and box set of B-sides) continues to prove that fans will continue their devotion midway through the New Jersey greats’ third decade on the charts.

The No. 2 album on the U.S. Billboard chart the week of its release, Have a Nice Day doesn’t stray far from Bon Jovi’s patented formula of catchy hooks and lyrics just inconspicuous enough to appeal to virtually anyone. Also unchanged are lead guitarist Richie Sambora’s tendencies for finely focused guitar solos and keyboardist David Bryan’s knack for playing parts that are brilliant but often unnoticed.

What has changed is Bon Jovi’s propensity for mixing electric and acoustic guitar. While past efforts have included both instruments in the same songs, Have a Nice Day has a more intense focus, lending mixed results. Sometimes the band sounds great, filled with passion and urgency (“Last Man Standing,” “Complicated”); other times they sound like an overproduced Avril Lavigne pop radio reject (“Novocaine”).

Make no mistake: Have a Nice Day will undoubtedly be another in a long line of platinum albums for Bon Jovi. With a back catalog that has sold in excess of 100 million records worldwide, there’s no denying their continuing appeal. And while their latest release is easily their strongest since 2000’s Crush, don’t expect Slippery When Wet, part two.

Is Bon Jovi the next Rolling Stones? That remains to be seen. But Have a Nice Day is certainly another step in the right direction for a band that may not be consistently extraordinary, but is always consistently entertaining.

From the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2005, issue

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