The album that gave the world the anthemic “It’s My Life,” but also the beautiful ballad “Thank You for Loving Me,” is turning 20 this year. That’s right, BON JOVI’s seventh studio album, titled “Crush,” came out on 13 June 2000. Feeling old yet?
For a band with such a characteristic sound, they needed to reinvent themselves to still be relevant at the turn of the millennium, and even 2 decades afterward. And this is exactly what they did with this album. After such iconic releases as “Keep the Faith” (1992) and “These Days” (1995), plus other solo projects, with the release of “Crush,” BON JOVI took their sound in a more mainstream direction. Co-producer Luke Ebbin helped them out in this respect with some impressive arrangements that really make the tracks memorable and easy to listen to. In hindsight, the decision to work with Ebbin and go forth with this new sound paid off big time. “Crush” was number one in Australia and the United Kingdom and was certified double platinum in the United States of America, even earning them a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album. With subsequent releases “Bounce” (2002) and “Have a Nice Day” (2005), music fans saw a band more and more intent on conquering the world and doing bigger shows than before, and that is exactly what happened.
There is a very good reason why BON JOVI is known outside the rock /metal scene and the songs on this album are part of this reason. The breakthrough single “It’s My Life” introduced the heavier music to a whole new generation of listeners, as many people who weren’t drawn to this type of music, were (and still are) jamming to the song. The accessibility of the music, the relatability of the lyrics, and the overall happy, feel-good vibe of this record gained them even more fans. In between the rockier moments of “One Wild Night” or “I Got the Girl,” the more romantic lyrics of “She’s a Mystery” or “Thank You for Loving Me,” and the Midwestern feel of “Two Story Town” or “Save the World,” this album has something for everybody. As always, the combined vocals and guitar melodies of Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora are what make these songs go straight to the heart. Add to that the bass prowess of Hugh McDonald, the drum skills of Tico Torres, and the lush keyboard parts of David Bryan and you have got the line-up of BON JOVI’s golden era (well, until 2007’s “Lost Highway,” at least).
Even if “Crush” doesn’t have a connected flow to the melodies and moods, its major strength lies in how great the individual songs are. Each of the songs has a distinct story behind the lyrics and a particular vibe that adds more shades and nuances to the album – happiness (ex: “Mystery Train”), optimism (ex: “Next 100 Years”), living life as you want it (ex: “It’s My Life”), longevity (“Just Older”), and obviously romance (“Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars”). While some of the ballads may be a bit sappy, the bulk of the music is incredibly infectious and delicious rock music, which we all enjoy listening to. It is really easy to understand why people from all walks of life gravitated so much to this album and why it is such a classic in BON JOVI’s rich discography.
All-in-all, “Crush” is a solid comeback record and definitely a fan-favorite, which gave the band momentum and heralded a new, modern era in BON JOVI’s illustrious career. A well-crafted mainstream rock album with plenty of highlights and enjoyable moments, still worthy of a listen in 2020.
Written by Andrea Crow
- It’s My Life
- Say It Isn’t So
- Thank You for Loving Me
- Two Story Town
- Next 100 Years
- Just Older
- Mystery Train
- Save The World
- Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars
- She’s A Mystery
- I Got the Girl
- One Wild Night
- I Could Make a Living Out of Loving You (bonus track)
Jon Bon Jovi – lead vocals, guitar
Richie Sambora – lead guitar, backing vocals
Hugh McDonald – bass, backing vocals
Tico Torres – drums, percussion
David Bryan – keyboards, backing
Interview Phantom Elite – “It’s always good to share that feeling that none of us is alone in hard times”