Bathetic lyrics that make no real statement, cliched music and daft arrangements. A pretty good guitar player surrounded by a pretty average rhythm section, a beautiful lead singer without anything close to the depth of Springsteen (though he tries), the homey worldliness of John Mellencamp (though he tries) or the gravitas or charisma of, say, Bono. Does it matter if we “make it or not”, or will we “make it, I swear”? As I said before, “It’s My Life” isn’t any more convincing after 100 channel-flipping incidental listenings, much less one intentional one. They are nothing more than a less photogenic Duran Duran, and they have neither the soul or wit to transcend even the most modest of girly fantasies. They are a sad joke, a patently offensive symptom of the vacuousness of the music industry post-Frampton.
They never took a musical chance. Dumbing down your repertoire even further by going country doesn’t count as a chance. Quite the opposite. It’s a Machiavellian ploy to extend the career of a talentless, hapless, hopeless approximation of a zeitgeist, and the fact that they were nominated before, say, Todd Rundgren, is all the proof you could ever need that the only reason the RRHOF exists is to pay tribute (in more ways than one) to itself, the people making the money, and the twisted logic behind the Cleveland myth. Even allowing for some of the glaring omissions and revisionist tributes (Mitch Rider would have blown Bon Jovi off the stage, and locked them out of the studio) it still stinks of some sort of back-scratching back-room hand job.
None of Bon Jovi’s music stands up to repeated listening. It’s mall music, plain and simple. Don’t bother scratching the surface. This entire discography is nothing more than watered-down rock and roll Jonestown bevvy brew, meant to anesthetize the soul, kill the will, and rake in the dollars of the foolish. “Your love is like bad medicine…bad medicine is what I need…” Come on. The Seeds wrote better lyrics. The Fugs were funnier, and Chicago circa 1974 could have easily shit out these rinky-dink tunes and sickening ballads in their sleep, and relegated them to b-sides.
Yes? Wings? The Moody Blues? King Crimson? Honestly, aside from the haircut magazines your kids look at at the local salon, has Jon Bon Jovi really influenced anybody or anything in a meaningful way?
It’s de regueur to heap disdain on the RRHOF these days, since it’s obvious that everyone there must believe that Abba invented rock and roll. However, this last thing—this last list of nominees, probably a means by which to have actual living, moving people on stage during the jam sessions so that the DVDs sell better, to me sounds the death knell of this well-intentioned, poorly realized folly in musical meritocracy. A pox on it.