Keep The Faith

Bon Jovi

Mercury, 1992

REVIEW BY: Daniel Camp


There are certain artists a music reviewer, even an amateur like me, is simply expected to like: the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2…Bon Jovi?

Yeah, I know, I know, there’s a pretty serious stigma in the music world against arena rockers. All the songs sound the same, the lyrics are juvenile, every band is all glitz and no substance, etc. etc. But if the album’s fun, does it matter? Easy answer: not this time.

With standard-fare arena rockers “I Believe” and “Keep The Faith,” fans of classic Bon Jovi will be happy to see that some things never change. Loud, rousing choruses that demand a crowd response are what you expect the boys from Jersey to deliver, and about half the album is full of solid, if unspectacular, numbers like “Fear,” “Woman In Love,” and “I Want You.”

“If I Was Your Mother” fits this mold, albeit with lyrics that just cause you to cringe a little when you hear them: “If I was your mother/Could I teach you what’s right/Could I tell you stories/Maybe tuck you in/And kiss you sweet goodnight.” You know what Jon means here, but still…the lover = mother idea just makes me say eww.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The other half of the album, where the arena rock roots are present but not overwhelming, is what separates Bon Jovi from so many of the other long-haired rockers of the 80s. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” carries about it a conviction that life should be lived to the fullest, and has you banging your head at the same time. “In These Arms” and “Bed Of Roses” are both excellent power ballads that beg you to sing along for the whole ride, and both feature exquisite vocals from Jon.

The high point of the album comes in the form of “Dry County,” which finds the band in Springsteen-worship mode, framing the struggles of life around a family that moves to a county held hostage by drought. Clocking in at nearly 10 minutes, the most amazing thing about this song is that it never feels too long – self-indulgent perhaps, but never too long. The lyrics, especially to the chorus, are superb and the tone matches the musical style perfectly. Throw in a rocking guitar solo that gives Richie Sambora his moment to shine, and you’ve got an underappreciated classic on your hands.

The album closes out with another song that hasn’t been given the publicity I think it deserves, a fun tune called “Blame It on the Love of Rock And Roll.” I have a weakness for songs praising the genre that is rock music, and this one is a perfect example of what those kinds of ditties should be. “Blame It” isn’t meaningful, it isn’t life-changing, but it is definitely fun, and that’s what this album is all about.

Keep The Faith is not exactly the most complex album ever written, musically or lyrically. As a matter of fact, it’s not going to crack the Top 500 of that particular list. But once it gets going, you just can’t help but love it. And there’s really only one logical explanation: blame it on the love of rock and roll.

Rating: B+

User Rating: A-



© 2008 Daniel Camp and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mercury, and is used for informational purposes only.