x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Bon Jovi churns out the same old riffs on What About Now

The album's overall tone is typical late-era Bon Jovi: big, unsubtle and often woefully vapid pop-rock.

What About Now may prove an oasis of familiarity for older fans.
What About Now may prove an oasis of familiarity for older fans.

Bon Jovi
What About Now
Mercury
**

Stadium rockers tend to choose one of two paths as the hair grows greyer: exploring their musical roots, as has Bon Jovi's fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen to much acclaim, or just churning out the same old riffs while perhaps half-heartedly tackling some grittier issues.What About Now is a case of the latter.

A keen Barack Obama supporter, the frontman Jon Bon Jovi is quite an activist offstage, and the band's 12th album dips into mid-recession blues.

"For 30 odd years I was a newspaper man," begins What's Left of Me, instantly signalling that this is not merely another singalong anthem.

The title track urges more active support for the huddled masses: "Who'll stand for the restless and the lonely, for the desperate and the hungry?" he growls. Those worthy sentiments are wildly at odds with the album's overall tone, however, which is typical late-era Bon Jovi: big, unsubtle and often woefully vapid pop-rock, sadly lacking the youthful vim that made their 1980s work so widely popular.

It's not one of the band's more memorable records, although for older fans it may well prove an oasis of familiarity in harsher times.

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