Just a Little Crush, Some Little Thing
For no real justifiable reason, I’ve been listening to Bon Jovi’s Crush album a good bit lately. I carefully assembled some thoughts on it somewhere between 5 and 8am this morning (again, for no real reason worth explaining) and now present them to you. If only you existed.
1: A lot of these songs are just incredibly blatant reworkings of other songs. For some, this is okay – Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars is a clear genre exercise, so cribbing the best bits of T. Rex and David Bowie is just the smart thing to do. BUT. Say It Isn’t So is a semi-crafty reshaping of the riff from Green Day’s When I Come Around. Two Story Town (featuring the second worst Bon Jovi lyric of all the times*) is a clear lift of the verse melody from Joan Osborne’s One Of Us. Thank You For Loving Me is more subtle, but if you listen closely, you can hear the foundations of every awful Bryan Adam’s ballad from the 1990s in there. All of this wouldn’t be so bad, but it means that instead of enjoying the simple grace of Mystery Train, I’m left wondering what original – superior – song I should be listening to instead.
2: There’s a clear formula to the choruses here. You start with the song title (otherwise, how will anyone know what song this is?), then you rhyme that with an uplifting line about being yourself, then BAM! A cultural reference. Semi-relevant, if possible, but cram it in there no matter what.
It’s my life, it’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever, I just wanna live while I’m alive
My life is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, I did it my way, I just wanna live while I’m alive
She’s a ride on a mystery train
To a place we’ve never been before
Hold on tight to that mystery train
We’re not in Kansas anymore
You and me, we’re invincible together
We can be oh so tragical, whatever
All dressed up like Ziggy, but he couldn’t play guitar
Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen from Mars
Captain Crash deviously plays with order, but I see through the foggy deception, yes sirrah.
3: Most of the upbeat songs sound like they were conceived as theme songs for sitcom pilots for which Jon was writing spec scripts in the hopes of furthering his very successful Hollywood career. Examples?
I Got The Girl: Jon Bon Jovi is “John Elliot”, a well-meaning single father to his teenage daughter “Julie”, played by Amanda Bynes. They live next door to a couple, played by Tate Donovan and Andrea Anders – and let me tell you, they’re a little bit crazy. In the pilot script, Julie has some of her friends over for a slumber party, but John’s antics threaten to embarrass her in front of everyone, including Susie’s recently divorced mother (Penelope Ann Miller). Meanwhile, will the next door neighbours ever get their sprinklers working properly?
Just Older: John Bon Jovi is “Bruce Dearborn”, a 40 year old bachelor moving back home after his lumber company in North Carolina closes down. He gets back in touch with the old gang – Jimmy, Jerry, Donny and Tony (Andy Kindler, James Patrick Stuart, Sam Lloyd, Brad Garrett) – and tries to settle back into his old haunts, but has his hometown grown up without him? And can you ever really go home? Yes. Clearly. Also, will his old high-school flame Christine (Debra Messing) respond to his awkward voicemail?
Waitasec, “very successful” Hollywood career?
*The offending lyric is “I’m just one story in a two story town, but you’re never going to find me in the lost and found”, which is rhyming dictionary fodder at its worst. It’s only pipped to the proverbial post by the inexcusable couplet from Welcome To Wherever You Are: “When you wanna give up and your heart’s about to break/Remember that you’re perfect, God makes no mistakes.” Hnnnnnnnnggghh, &c.