Have A Nice Day (2005)
|Artist: Bon Jovi|
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|The first question that might occur to you when you hear the propulsive blast of power chords, drum beats and sneering vocals that opens the title track of the new Bon Jovi album is, "This song is called 'Have a Nice Day'?" It sounds awfully raw for such a smiley-face title.|
That discordant effect, of course, is intentional. "That title was the first and, ultimately, the last one I'd come to," Jon Bon Jovi says. "There's obviously a sense of irony when you say it. You can say it one way and you can take it another way." The song sets the tone for the entire album - twelve songs about rising above adversity and staking your claim to a fair share of what the world has to offer. In other words, twelve songs centered on a theme that, in the course of a stellar career, Bon Jovi has made its own. "Have a Nice Day" itself is a defiant response to the disappointment the singer felt after the 2004 presidential election. He had campaigned for Democratic nominee John Kerry. But in true Bon Jovi fashion, the song rises into a chorus that counsels renewed conviction in the face of setbacks, optimism against opposition, standing your moral ground regardless of the consequences: "I ain't gonna do what I don't want to/I'm gonna live my life...When the world gets in my face, I say/Have a nice day!" For guitarist Richie Sambora, the rough-edged sound of tracks like "Have a Nice Day," "Last Man Standing" and "I Am" is a celebration of another recent societal development: The resurgence of full-on rock & roll. "This album continues the evolution of Bon Jovi, obviously," he says, "but I had it in my head to make a big-sounding rock & roll record. I wanted to capture the essence of this band, almost like in a live setting, because that's our forte. That's where I was trying to put it. I wanted to be aggressive, really. I felt that was available to us now." To help achieve the band's goals in the studio, Bon Jovi called in producer John Shanks, who won a Grammy for "Producer of the Year" in 2004. "He deserves that award, he's brilliant," Bon Jovi says. "We co-wrote songs together and we recorded them on the spot with a drum machine - him and Richie wailing on guitars, no drummer, no bass player, and I would sing the vocal. I'd never made a record like that before. What an experience - nothing was sacred!" Keyboardist David Bryan and drummer Tico Torres, along with bassist Hugh McDonald, eventually recorded their parts, and in a matter of months, Bon Jovi regarded the album as done.
But then he changed his mind. The songwriting had come so easily that, just as he was about to turn the album in to his label at the end of last year, the singer began to worry that maybe it came too quick. "I felt like I was cheating," he recalls. "There were four songs that felt 'crafted' - and shame on me if at this point in my career I ever craft a song." Consequently, he wrote four new songs from the gut - "Novocaine," "Last Cigarette," "Story of My Life" and "Wildflower" - and tweaked the lyrics on some of the others. "Bells of Freedom," for example, started out as a "he/she kind of a thing," Bon Jovi says. "I hated it. I knew there was something more in that chorus." The song now echoes Bob Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom" in its title and insists that "the sun still shines on one who believes." It is now exactly what he wanted it to be. "I hope that people are going to like that song," he says. "It's not meant to be a pop hit single, it's not meant to be a video. It's meant to be something that, when I play it live, the sweat is going to be legit."
Dylan, as it turns out, was also the inspiration for the hero of the blistering anthem, "Last Man Standing" -- a carnival attraction who represents the last link to a vision of rock & roll meant not merely to entertain people, but to change their lives. "Here's the last man standing/Come see, hear, feel the real thing," Bon Jovi sings. "When Johnny Cash died, I picked up my guitar and got the idea that Bob Dylan was the last man standing, the last of the real gods," Bon Jovi says. "It was for Dylan, Cash, Lennon, Elvis - that's what I was thinking." Have a Nice Day, then, is a classic Bon Jovi album - an immediately satisfying collection of songs by a band that has weathered more than two decades of trends and lived to tell the tale - and thrive. "We've always stayed true to who we were, and didn't jump on anyone else's bandwagon," he says. " "It wasn't a conscious attempt to do anything, except to avoid whatever doesn't ring true and chasing anyone else's idea of success."
Richie Sambora agrees, "When Jon and I sit down to write, it inevitably sounds like us," he says. "You can't get away from that. All we had to do is be ourselves -- and step on the gas pedal as far as the sound was concerned." Then he defines the Bon Jovi ethic. "Look, we have to go out there and play these songs every night - after twenty years, he says, "People sometimes ask me, 'You ever get tired of it?' I say, 'No.' That's because being in a rock & roll band is about the connection between a band, a song and an audience. And as long as you stay present in that moment where the connection is made, it's magic...
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Bon Jovi: Jon Bon Jovi (vocals); Richie Sambora (guitar, background vocals); David Bryan (keyboards); Hugh McDonald (bass guitar); Tico Torres (drums).|
|Additional personnel: Jennifer Nettles (vocals).|
|True troubadours of arena rock and pop-metal, Bon Jovi were not only still standing in the 2000s, they were still releasing albums of original material that packed much of the melodic wallop and anthemic muscle of their efforts from the '80s and early '90s. A case in point is 2005's HAVE A NICE DAY, which finds the band mining a harder rock sound and producing bigger, more sweeping choruses than ever before.|
|Despite the classic Bon Jovi sound, however, singer Jon Bon Jovi's lyrics are by turns thoughtful (he even conjures the specter of Bob Dylan on "Bells of Freedom," a nod to Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom") and romantic ("Wildflower"). Though the mix doesn't always work, Bon Jovi sounds plenty energized here, and young-at-heart enough to still crank up the volume. HAVE A NICE DAY sports the streamlined rock punch and pop smarts on which the band has built its reputation.|
Producer: Richie Sambora; John Shanks; Jon Bon Jovi; Rick Parashar; Dann Huff
|Best Of Rock Roll Hall Of Fame Plus|
|Classic Songs My Way|
Associated Artists and Works
|Vitamin String Quartet|
|Release Date : 09/20/2005|
|Original Release Date : 2005|
|Catalog ID : 0005371|
|Label : Island (Label)|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00602498826201|
- 3 stars out of 5 "...Bon Jovi have kept their arena anthems simple and sweaty...."
In 1983, John Bongiovi was being paid $50 a week to work as a "gofer" at New York City's Power Station recording studios. He was running errands, fetching coffee and sweeping floors, all the while watching the Who's Who of the rock 'n' roll world pass through the front doors. When Jon wasn't working as a gofer, he was working on his own music. At all hours of the night, using the empty studios and any lingering musicians he could recruit, John recorded his own original songs. Armed with a demo tape, John shopped his music to lawyers, managers, record labels and radio stations in New York and LA with little luck. That is until he was approached by Chip Hobart, a DJ at the (now defunct) Long Island/NYC radio station WAPP. WAPP was putting together a compilation album of local unsigned artists and Hobart wanted to include John's song "Runaway" on the LP. John was reluctant. He wanted to sign with a label and record an album, not donate one song to a radio station sampler of homegrown talent. But, with a little convincing, John agreed to let "Runaway" be a part of the album. After that decision, John's life would never be the same. "Runaway" by John Bongiovi got airplay... lots of airplay (not just on WAPP in New York, but in major markets all over the country that were affiliated with WAPP.) Without John being signed to a label, his song was becoming a hit, breaking nationwide. WAPP booked a handful of live shows to promote the album and wanted John to perform. The problem? John didn't have a band! "Runaway" was one of the tracks John had recorded at the Power Station with a combination of musicians he had wrangled in to help him--they weren't really a band! So, John recruited his long-time friend, Julliard-bound keyboardist David Bryan, Franke & The Knockouts drummer Tico Torres and Jersey bassist Alec John Such. On guitar, John asked a neighborhood friend to help him out. John now had the band he needed to play the promotional concerts. Backstage after one of these shows, John was approached by guitarist Richie Sambora. Sambora declared that HE should be the guitarist for this band. Though initially leery, John was impressed by Sambora's attitude and after hearing him play, was impressed by his talent too. So, when John Bongiovi finally signed to Mercury Records the band's line-up was as it would remain for more than ten years: John Bongiovi, Dave Bryan, Tico Torres, Alec John Such and Richie Sambora. Following label advice, John shed the "h" from his first name and de-ethnicized his last name. He re-emerged as Jon Bon Jovi and the band Bon Jovi was born.