on 2 November 2010
Although I don't think this release represents every studio album as well as it could have (and in the case of Bounce, not at all), i do think that most of the songs on here warrant their inclusion, as the majority of people considering buying this album will recognise about 80% of the previously released songs. (Something any greatest hits album worth it's salt should do really!)
I guess this album can be looked at from two perspectives.
Firstly, from the point of view of a new fan, or a casual fan.
If you've never purchased a Bon Jovi album before, then this is undoubtably a great place to start. There genuinly isn't a bad song on this collection, and chances are, you will already know most of the songs anyway, so this is a great way of finding them all in one nicely presented, well priced collection. Unlike most 'GREATEST HITS' collections, this isn't made up of obscure singles that have been placed on an album to pad out 3 or 4 big hits that a band may have had. These are all genuine hits, recognised all over the world by millions and millions of people. With any luck, this album could also be the catalyst you need for really appreciating this criminally underated (by critics and the media), amazing band, and will perhaps prompt you to seek out some of their other releases from their back catalogue, containing some absolute gems. (I strongly recommend These Days, and Keep The Faith, my two all time favourite albums.)
If you own nothing at all by this band, then you cannot go wrong with this collection.
From this point of view, I give the album 5 out of 5, hands down.
The second perspective is from the point of view of a longer standing fan, who may have most of, if not all of their other albums. These fans, like myself, may find this release very similar to 'Crossroad', and would have probably been more excited about a continuation of this album, made entirely of songs from the studio albums released after this collection, with the obvious exception of the new songs, which always add something fresh to a compilation. For me personally, one disc of hits from the post Crossroad era, and a second disc of genuine rarities, would have been bliss. (I've always wanted complete mastered versions of the songs that were recorded for New Jersey, when it was planned as a double album. i.e, Judgement Day, Does Anybody really Fall In love Anymore etc. I know better versions exist than the one's on the 'New Jersey and Keep The Faith' demo cd's that you can find, as a highly polished version of Let's Make It Baby was included on the 2 disc version of 'These Days'.)
Anyway, for creativity and boldness, it only deserves 3 stars in my opinion.
so all in all, I think 4 stars is more than fair as an overall rating.
(*Note. The studio albums released after Crossroad are These days, Destination Anywhere (Jon - Solo), Undiscovered Soul (Richie - Solo), Crush, Bounce, Have A Nice Day, Lost Highway and The Circle).
I must stress that I love EVERY single song on this collection, but Speaking from my own, personal perspective, there were songs that didn't make it which should have (Dry County and Lie To Me, to name two), and songs which made it that shouldn't have (When We Were Beautiful being the most obvious to me).
I have to say that I can genuinly see why they have decided to release a career spanning compilation (as opposed to one representing the years 1995 - 2010), as it is absolutely guaranteed to sell many, many more copies, which is the obvious goal when releasing an album. However, apart from the 4 new songs (which I'm very thankful for), I can't see that I'll play this album very much, as i played Crossroad to death when I was a teenager, and this seems like a slighty expanded version of that album to me. Where as, if it were a collection of hits from 'This Ain't A Love Song' up to 'What Do You got?', as well as the 4 new songs, then i'd gladly listen to them as a compilation over, and over again. But this is nit-picking I guess.
The bottom line is, it's impossible for me to pick fault with these tracks, so i won't, and it's also impossible for me to say what the 'ULTIMATE' collection of Bon Jovi hits should be. Every fan will have his/her opinion on which songs should have made it, and which ones shouldn't have, and I'm no different. This isn't 'My' ultimate collection, but don't let that put you off. This is still one hell of a collection.
Looking at this collection in a broad sence, it stands head and shoulders above most 'Greatest Hits' albums that are release these days as it actually contains recognisable hits (and not just ones culled from 2 or 3 albums, as most complilations tend to be nowadays). This collection spans 26 years of releases from one of the biggest bands on the planet.
If nothing else, it shows what a truly amazing band Bon Jovi are, and possibly more importantly, what amazing song writers they are, something they do not receive anywhere near enough recognition for. If there's any justice in this world, this collection will go a long way towards rectifying that.
I just want to add, I was always going to buy this album, no matter what.
Bon Jovi Rule.