New Jersey

Bon Jovi

New Jersey, Bon Jovi's fourth album, and follow up to the legendary, Slippery When Wet, was recorded at Little Mountain Sound Studios (Fairburn and Rock) in Vancouver, British Columbia, and released in the fall of 1988.

New Jersey: Bon Jovi’s reign on amazingly catchy pop metal tunes in full effect

Boasting 5 singles, New Jersey had little trouble acheiving platinum status, especially with power pop hair metal hits like Bad Medicine and Lay Your Hands On Me. Plus, I’ll Be There for You was for the ladies.

And the ladies? They love Jon Bon Jovi.

Rating

I give New Jersey a 9.2510

Fizz approved. Two thumbs up.

Bon Jovi Slippery New Jersey album cover
So many hit songs on New Jersey

Track listing

  1. Lay Your Hands On Me
  2. Bad Medicine
  3. Born To Be My Baby
  4. Living In Sin
  5. Blood On Blood
  6. Homebound Train
  7. Wild Is The Wind
  8. Ride Cowboy Ride
  9. Stick To Your Guns
  10. I’ll Be There For You
  11. 99 In The Shade
  12. Love For Sale

New Jersey notes

Lay Your Hands On Me

What a stunning intro to the album. So huge. From metal to gospel and back to glam blues. Sambora tears out a mega bad ass riff.

Vice grip strong gang vocals in the chorus. JBJ and crew knew KNEW how to write a rock song. The video killed too. Just exceptional work by these 5 Jersey Boys (and Desmond Child).

Getting back to the gospel part, such subtle (maybe not so much) innuendo to the lyrics, I love it.

Sambora fully in command by the time the solo comes around.

Organ foundation, choir singers, Jovi calling to the heavens … C’mon now!

Gang vocal OHHHHs, Jovi leading the sermon, choir singers building to the final LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME! (with the me more of a MAY)

Bad Medicine

Keeping with the gospel theme, HOLY CHRIST! Bad Medicine is how you follow up Lay Your Hands On Me? This is nearly NEARLY on par with You Give Love A Bad Name and Livin’ On A Prayer from Slippery When Wet.

Bad Medicine flat out rocks. It does feel as though they were sitting around thinking, “Damn, Def Leppard REALLY slays at gang vocals and writing Def Leppard choruses (who saw that coming!?)” and were like, guys, we need more participation on this album.

And being the pros they are, they march down the field straight into the hit song endzone. Twice, and we are only on track 2.

Wait, they aren’t done. One more time. JBJ calls the team back to the huddle for the two point conversion.

Born To Be My Baby

Or as I like to call it, “Livin’ On A Prayer II: A totally bitchin’ sequel”

This song is so good it should be a reading at your wedding. And you should probably end your wedding playing Livin’ On A Prayer as the final song.

Just saying.

Of all Jovi songs to hear in concert, I was glad they performed this one the most.

The pre-choral call and response is bad ass.

The Born To Be My Baby solo got all the notes Sambora left out of Prayer’s solo. Nice to hear him correcting past wrongs. Not saying the Prayer solo was bad, not in the slightest. Just glad to hear them rock harder here.

No surprise that this song rules, Bon Jovi frequent collaborator, Desmond Child, was involved in writing it.

Living In Sin

I only imagine Tico, David, Richie, Jon, and Alec (and Desmond Child too) sitting around the room, getting forced into the love scene from Top Gun (or Dirty Dancing on repeat) by a bunch of girls and the girls begging them to write songs like Berlin’s Take My Breath Away, and the guys capitulating to start the song … before getting frustrated and dialing up something better by the first chorus.

I mean, you the transition is audible. At 0:22 the acoustic 12 string gets a slow upstroke. After hearing this, the guys were like, whoa, we aren’t Berlin, and we don’t date fighter pilots.

Wow, JBJ goes for some screechy falsetto toward the end. Respect.

Blood On Blood

Batting out of the 5 hole, Blood On Blood is amazing and underrated by a large margin. Great bass and drum led song with the piano tying it all together.

so young, So Young, SO YOUNG! Blood On Blood is anthemic. Everyone participates. Live? Richie explodes … ON THE MIC. Dude has outrageous pipes.

Don’t believe me? Guy bursts into vibratus majestonius … til the day that we di-i-i-i-i-i-e!

All after the pomp of the blood brothers in arms thing, of course. The Moscow Music Peace Festival, Russia in 1989 was quite the spectacle.

ALL FOR ONE! BLOOD ON BLOOD!

Homebound Train

Homebound Train slams on the throttle in a Raise Your Hands kind of way, just as the slide guitar intro cuts. As for the sound, it has a bit of a Cult of Personality thing going for it, mixed with Extreme’s Decadence Dance.

ALL. GOOD. THINGS.

David Bryan rolls out the magic fingers, tickling the ivories, and all the ladies in the front row. Probably a few guys too.

Homebound Train even worked the band into a frenzy.

Wild Is The Wind

Got an August Rush, Trace Bundy, Andy McKee thing to the beginning with that acoustic tapping.

Dig it.

Wild Is The Wind is a song anybody would be proud to write, but it’s just kind of filler on New Jersey.

Ride Cowboy Ride

Bon Jovi leaned on cowboying, ranching, gunslinging, and tumbleweeding as a theme across several songs and albums. Hell, Blaze of Glory was written for Young Guns II by Jon Bon Jovi (not the band).

So here we are, back to it again with Ride Cowboy Ride.

Stick To Your Guns

And here we are AGAIN! Got a Tesla Love Song intro to it.

Stick To Your Guns warms up I’ll Be There For You with a huge and nearly identical WHOA vocal pattern.

I love when Jon Bon Jovi adds vocal grit, like at 3:24 … I got the scars that prove it!

Annnnnnd slow fade out.

I’ll Be There For You

Shares some tonality with Blaze of Glory. Like, a bad ass rock song (Blaze), retuned for the ladies.

SUPER HUGE chorus. Richie grabs some airtime in the backing vocals as they let his mix come through a bit.

David Bryan understatedly adds so much to Bon Jovi. Keyboards are ALWAYS a pro addition to a band.

Ultra huge vocal AWWWW at 3:59. All leading up to the … KEY CHANGE!

YES! They really are the best. Not quite the 3 step jump of Livin’ On A Prayer from G to Bb, but I will take it.

99 In The Shade

A song about boys doing boy things. Like being revved up for a hot weekend of riding around on their huffys, drinking slush puppies, and teasing girls they are too afraid to talk to.

Or something like that.

They don’t give Tico Torres enough of the spotlight. Everything he plays compliments every song so wonderfully that you don’t notice his playing.

Love For Sale

Nice little blues thing going on with the harmonica and acoustic guitar. This definitely sounds like an artist song. You know the type, the artist gets a bit of clout and wants to do their own thing for a track or two on each album.

Alec John Such squeezin’ the low end on acoustic bass.

Must have been a fun track to record.

Well, we gotta go home and say the record is done.

Goodbye, New Jersey.