Come On Up To This House

Come On Up To This House

Album Review: Bon Jovi's THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE

Full disclosure: I’m a huge Bon Jovi fan. Shocker, yes I know, but they have gotten me through some pretty tough times in my life, so I have to stick by them during their rough patches. Despite being one of the biggest and most popular rock band in the world, Bon Jovi have never really been critical darlings. Even the album that I (and the majority of Bon Jovi fans) consider to be their best, These Days, received generally mixed to negative reviews. At one time, they were the band that everyone loved to hate (sometimes called the Nickelback of the ‘80s) and they have since gone on to be considered somewhat irrelevant. I’ll be the first to admit that their last real offering, 2013’s What About Now (skipping over 2015’s Burning Bridges for a second), was less than stellar. There were only three really good tracks from the twelve on the album (“Because We Can”, “I’m With You”, and “Room At The End of the World”, though I’m in the minority of people who actually believe that “BWC” is a good song) while the rest range from completely bland and boring to dreadful pop rock drivel. That album had little influence from then guitarist, Richie Sambora, who left the band in 2013 shortly after the album’s release.

Following the news that Sambora had left the band, I originally thought that it was all over. It was depressing to think that What About Now was the last album by the band that I grew up listening to. But then Burning Bridges was announced as a “fan record” and shortly there after, This House Is Not For Sale was announced as the band’s next major release. This got me excited, yet somewhat skeptical because I was unsure how Sambora’s departure would affect the band. Burning Bridges had a few clues as to where the band was headed musically and the album’s strengths were the newly recorded songs (i.e. “We Don’t Run” and “Teardrop To The Sea”). Earlier this year I reviewed Burning Bridges in preparation for this new record. The review ended with optimism that Bon Jovi had a bright future ahead of them with this new record. This was built as Bon Jovi’s comeback album and was being compared (by Jon) to These Days and Have A Nice Day and was expected to bring Jon and the band back into the mainstream in a similar way that Crush did in 2000.

So, does the new album stand up to the hype? Yes, I think so. I don’t think that the album will generate the amount of success that Crush and “It’s My Life” did in 2000, but that doesn’t really say much. The public has lost interest in Bon Jovi. They’re no longer cool. That doesn’t have any indication on how good an album is, it is just what happens with age. Jon is 54 years old now and this shit happens. But the album itself is damn good and a return to form for the boys from New Jersey.

The album starts off with the title track and lead single, This House Is Not For Sale. The song is an antiemetic anthem in the Bon Jovi tradition. There are some guitar licks at the beginning of the track that mirror the band’s 2005 hit, Have A Nice Day and the chorus of the song is similar to “You Give Love A Bad Name”. This song is, in some ways, a throwback to classic Bon Jovi. The house that the song refers to is the band itself and Jon has been pretty insistent that the song is about the band’s integrity. He built the band from the ground up and I suspect that the song is sort of a swipe towards the record label, which has been pushing Bon Jovi to a more pop radio friendly sound in recent year. The track could have easily fit on Have A Nice Day or The Circle and feel right at home. During the live stream on Tidal last Thursday, the band preformed an extended version of the song with two guitar solos as Jon allowed Phil X to just have some fun. Jon’s vocals on the track sound good the song is certainly a highlight for the album.

The second track on the album is a mid-tempo rock song called “Living With The Ghost”. The song is clearly about the departure of long-time guitarist, Richie Sambora and Jon’s insistence of not dwelling on the loss. It is a very personal track with lines like I traded hurting for healing/I must admit that I was reeling/Now I’m feeling just fine. It is about coming out of a dark place and moving onward into the light. The best part of this song is the bridge in which Jon sings: Last night I had this dream/I saw a man wash his feet in the church holy water/He worked up to his knees/Form his arms to his neck/He said “I’m in over my head”/He was just trying to get some relief/I had this dream/That man was me. It was the most interment and personal part of the song, which is why I think that a lot of fans will really like it and be able to relate to it.

The third track on the album, “Knockout”, is one of my least favorites. While id did grow on me, I felt like the song was missing something, namely guitars. This could have been a real kickass rocker but instead turned into a more modern mainstream pop song. To make matters worse, the song doesn’t really have a guitar solo when one is definitely warranted. Phil X played lead guitar on the song (as opposed to John Shanks, who played the solo for “This House Is Not For Sale”) and I feel that his talents could have been better untallied on this song. But since this is what is considered to be a “radio friendly song”, it will probably be released as the second single despite being one of the weak spots on the album.

“Labor of Love”, the fourth track on the album, is a slow rock ballad recorded live in the studio. What stands out about this song is that Jon sings in a lower register. To compare this song to past Bon Jovi band albums and/or solo albums, I feel like this song could have fit well in either the These Days era or even Jon’s solo album, Destination Anywhere. It had that vibe coming from it. The guitars on the record sound somewhat fuzzy, which is refreshing. Bon Jovi in recent years has had a tendency to overproduce. This cut sounds live and that’s what makes it stand out.

The fifth track, “Born Again Tomorrow”, is a modern rock anthem that mixes in elements of dance pop. The live version of the song is a bit better, in my opinion, but the studio track itself is still really good. The message behind the song is: if could do it all over again, would you do everything exactly the same? In the song, Jon comes to the conclusion that he wouldn’t live life any other way. The song also is about moving forward and not looking back with lines such as You don’t have to look back to see where you are/The future’s looking brighter than a hand full of stars. The guitar solo, played by Phil X is decent enough and in true Phil X style.

One of the songs that I was looking forward to the most was “Roller Coaster”. The live version of the song sounded fantastic and I am sad to say that it isn’t as good as the studio version. With that being said, the studio version isn’t bad at all, but there seems to be something missing. Jon’s vocal track on the song sounds unfinished and there are no backing vocals to provide harmony to the big rock chorus. The song itself is a relationship song about the ups and downs in life. With lyrics like Kiss by kiss love is like a thrill ride/What goes up might take us upside down/Life ain’t a merry go ‘round the song states that life in the expected and it is best to be prepared to be unprepared because shit happens and happens randomly. Despite the song sounding like a demo, it is really one the highlights on the album.

When “New Year’s Day”, the seventh track on the album, first kicked off, I thought to my self “oh no! A song that sounds like it’s from the What About Now era!” The guitar licks at the beginning were very similar to “That’s What the Water Made Me” and I was put off by that to an extent. The song did grow on me a little bit after multiple listens, but it still feels like something that should have been on WAN but was left off for whatever reason. The song is about the rebirth of the band and the new era and while I can respect that and say that there’s nothing inherently wrong with the song, I’m not a huge fan of it (and I know that I’m in the minority on this when it comes to Bon Jovi fans). But to each their own.

My favorite track on the album is “The Devil’s In The Temple” and I was extremely pleased to find out that the production didn’t screw it up. The guitars on the song are harsh and heavy. This song, to me, sounds partly like something left over from the These Days session and “Last Man Standing”. The devil that the song refers to is likely a record executive at Island records with lyrics like Look what they’ve done to this house of love/It’s too late to turn the river to blood/The savior’s come and gone and we’re all out of time/The devil’s in the temple and he ain’t no friend of mind. The song is the heaviest song Bon Jovi has recorded in years, not to mention that the lyrics are superb. My favorite lines of the song are: The devil’s in the temple and he’s making a mess/He’s got the Mona Lisa/Got his hands up her dress.

“Scars On This Guitar”, the ninth track, is practically a love song Jon wrote to his guitar. It is a competent ballad that contains some of the best songwriting Jon has written like She’s been with me late at night/When I was drowning in the dark/she heard my every word/When I was pouring out my heart. The is a ballad with a bit of a country twang to it, which I found pleasant and it is easily the best ballad on the record.

The tenth track, “God Bless This Mess”, is another rock anthem in the same vein as “This House Is Not For Sale” but it feels a little more personal. Like “Living With The Ghost”, the song is about moving from a very dark stage of life into the light with lyrics Don’t cry for me/I’m the life of the party/I’m smiling most of the time. The song takes a step back and has a real “you need to learn to laugh at yourself” vibe to it with the chorus kicking in: God bless this mess/This mess is mine/I won’t pound my chest/Or criticize/I must confess/I’ve lived. I’ve died/God bless this mess/This mess is mine. It is one of my favorites from the album and I am in the camp that thinks this song should have been the lead single rather than “This House”. Regardless, the song is certainly good enough to be a single and is radio ready.

My least favorite track on the album is the eleventh one, “Reunion”. It has a country vibe with the violins and steel guitars, which is fine, but it just doesn’t do it for me. But with that being said, it isn’t a bad song and it will probably be running through my mind as I walk across the stage in the spring to receive my degree.

The final track on the album, “Come On Up To Our House”, is the perfect closer. Built as a waltz in 6/8 time, the song is about coming together. The most notable lines from the song are: You can tell me your life story/And I’ll finish every line/The one about the hurt and heartache/It still gets me every time/Every word that you speak is the harmony/Of the song I’m singing inside and of course the chorus: Come on up to our house/Let us make you feel at home/Come on up to our house/I will leave the porch light on/All are welcome at our table/You never be alone/Come on up to our house/I will leave the porch light on. The song is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser and properly puts a cap on the whole album.

Overall, this album is exceptional. It will rival Have A Nice Day as the band’s best post 2002 album. The lyrics are meaningful and really pack a punch. The music is heavy at times and sweet at others and I think that overall, they really utilize Phil X as their new guitarist. In terms of past albums, this album is like a mix between These Days, Have A Nice Day, and Lost Highway and is certainly an improvement over their last effort What About Now.

Rating: 4.5/5

THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE will be released on November 4, 2016. Pre-order your copy now!

Cover Image Credit:

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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I Know I'm Late, But I'm Now Obsessed With David Dobrik

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After coming home from the end of my first year of college, instead of unpacking like my parents would've loved for me to do, I turned to YouTube. I've always watched YouTube but I was never one of those teens that watched it so avidly that I would want to go to Playlist Live or VidCon.

Throughout the year, I received many recommendations to watch David Dobrik. Like most people I know, the recommendation went through one ear and out the other. Was he really worth the hype? Well, if you take a look back at the title of this article, you know the answer to that question.

One day, I decided to subscribe to David Dobrik's YouTube channel because I knew that if I saw a video created by him pop up with the rest of subscriptions, one of these days I would end up clicking on a video. That is exactly what happened. I ended up watching maybe two or three videos in total, but I didn't really become a fan. It's not like I didn't enjoy the videos I watched- because I did. I just didn't keep up with them. It wasn't until I came home from school and decided to go all in that I truly hopped on the David Dobrik-bandwagon.

Now, I truly understand what everyone was talking about. Not only is he hilarious, but his vlogs are super short (four minutes and 20 seconds to be exact). In a competition, I'd probably be named the "World's Worst Watcher" of TV shows and movies because I'm so impatient that I skip through the bad or boring parts that I don't want to watch. Contrary to this statement, I can safely say that I have only skipped through a video once only because someone was about to puke. He and his friends are always on the go, which is much more fun to watch than someone just sitting in front of the camera explaining what they are about to do instead of footage of them in action.

Most of the YouTubers I watch create lifestyle videos, like makeup tutorials, clothing hauls, vlogs of college students, etc. David Dobrik's videos are completely different from any of the others that I subscribe to. All of his videos are vlogs that show him doing the most ridiculous, yet entertaining things, whether it be buying his best friends expensive cars, paying them $100 so he can shoot them with a paintball gun, or going on spontaneous trips to Las Vegas. There's not a single moment through any of his videos that don't leave me with a smile on my face.

It's not just that his videos are short and entertaining. It's also that he seems like the sweetest and most down-to-earth human being. He cares so much about his friends so much that the focus isn't entirely on him but on them, which is something that you don't see very often.

I highly recommend that everyone watch at least one of his videos. It may be four minutes of your life that you will never get back but after watching it, you won't want them back.

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