This album is simply a masterpiece. One of those albums that continually delights, even nearly seven years on. I bought this album on the day it came out and always return to it, it's everything a great record should be.
The production on These Days is superb, down to Jon and Richie with Peter Collins (who should also be thanked for Always), creating a feeling of warmth and familiarity as some of the bands greatest songs ooze out of the speakers and impress themselves on your memory.
The rockier tracks have greater edge than before, such as the opener "Hey God" in which Jon questions life in the nineties and Richie's guitar howls in pain as he strangles its neck, or the surging "Something For The Pain" that follows and became a classic Bon Jovi track.And then there's the swinging, balls-out tune "Damned" which features the Astbury Dukes' horn section joining in the fun.
Of course there's the ballads, it wouldn't be a Bon Jovi album otherwise, but here there are ballads which have rarely been so heartfelt and true, the ache in Jon's voice on the hit "This Aint A Love Song" and "Lie To Me" is about as emotional as he's ever sung. Not to mention the atmosphere created on "It's Hard Letting You Go" (originally written as a thank - you to the producers of Moonlight and Valentino) created by Jon on keyboards and featuring only Jon and Richie.
Later Bon Jovi albums have featured story songs of epic proportions (Keep The Faith's superb "Dry County")and These Days is no exception,with the brilliant title track bringing to mind Springsteen, as does the majority of the album, while the bluesey, jam-like "Bleeding In My Arms" is a stroke of genius.
The variety and quality of this album stand testament to the bands versatility and excellence. This is more than a mere album, its more than a Bon Jovi album, its a work of art that will stand the test of time.