Sunday, January 1, 2012

Who's in next: Def Leppard vs. Bon Jovi - Round 4

Hits? Respect? Na, JBJ just wants to live in sin.
The cage match continues: Def Lep's "Adrenalize" vs. Bon Jovi's "New Jersey."

Round 4, Track 4:

Bon Jovi's "Living In Sin"

Michael Anthony: OK, so it's not the worst song recorded in 1989 (here you go!), but it's a close second. And the fact that it's even mentioned in the same breath as that stank travesty is all you need to know. That it hit #9 on the charts should make us all ashamed to be American.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, here are some fun facts about the great American band, Bon Jovi:

1. Did you know that Mr. Biongiovianni's 2009 non-hit "We Weren't Born To Follow (In The U.S.A. (To Run))" was seminally responsible for the Arab Spring, in which ordinary citizens in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, among others, rose up and successfully overthrew regimes responsible for everything from corruption and poor economic conditions to authoritarian oppression and state-sponsored censorship?

You didn't? Me either! I've never even heard the song to begin with! Because it got literally zero airplay! But boy did it change the political climate of the Middle East!

Here, I've taken a screenshot of the actual Wiki page, so you can see it before it gets removed:

Brayan: Least-bad-ass keyboard player in the history of rock?
2. Kroeger-haired BJ keyboardist David Brayan has released two solo albums. The first contains an intstrumental version of 1993's "In These Arms", and about a dozen other masterworks. The second, released five years later, contains the exact same songs as the first one, except now "In These Arms" has vocals again! And they're David's!

3. Bon Jovi re-recorded the oft-mentioned "Living On A Prayer" as a lite-grunge/folk/hip-hop hybrid called "Prayer 94". Why?

I suppose I shouldn't have to waste my breath, but I will anyway: it's BAD.

3a. Bon Jovi's grunge counterpart, Art Alexakis - and his sub-literate, trailer-park Springsteenisms - has foisted upon the public re-recorded versions of Everclear tunes, not once, but TWICE in two years. I mean, I kinda dig those tunes to be honest, but why are they doing this at all, let alone, all the time? Is it some kind of twisted, self-deprecating in-joke about how all their songs sound the same? Hopefully it's not just some kind of cash-grab!

RATING: -0.0 (out of 10)

No doubt Carvey's "look at my butt" skit was an inspiration.
G.E. Smith: Maybe something's wrong with my eyesight, but I think there's a mistake in the credit on "Living in Sin." It says "J. Bon Jovi" when it should say "Michael/ J. Bon Jovi/ Springsteen." It should say that because the verse is a carbon copy of the verse to George Michael's smash hit "Father Figure," released just a year earlier, and because the outro lifts the ending to about 50 Bruce Springsteen songs. But hey, no big deal, a typo is just a typo. We have our share here on CDNR, and a typo on a blog read by 6 people everyday is on the same level as neglecting to give credit to two guys who dominated the pop charts in the '80s when you so obviously ripped them off, er, used their songs.

Look, this is JBJ's time in the spotlight as a songwriter on "New Jersey," so let's not let an act of complete thievery ruin the occasion. Of all the stains on this skid-mark-laced pair of worn-for-five-days boxer shorts, this is the only one that he can take all the credit for - and, well, all the blame.

He's swinging for the fences, trying to capture that timeless story of young love on the run, the kind of thing Bruuuce was a master of. Instead, he continues his devolution into some kind of sappy-ass white trash version of Barry White, breathing hot and heavy about some chick he wants to pry from her daddy's overprotective arms so he can get her all to himself back at his place. He calls it "love," they call it "living in sin," I call it a creepy ass dude abducting an underage girl.

Marx: Don't touch the hair.
And instead of getting anywhere close to something like The Boss' "Born To Run," he ends up delivering a homeless man's version of a vintage Desmond Child song rife with Child's knack for McWriting and dumbing-down of a concept: Pack a verse with more cliches than a Richard Marx song ("sign it on a dotted line," "look me in the eye," "your daddy don't approve," "get me through the night") throttle up for a soaring refrain, cue the cookie-cutter Sambora solo, then break it down with a slow-it-down clambake ("I don't know ... just where we fit in ...") punctuated by a line that's spoken through a muffle of chest hair and Old Spice: "Sometimes it scares me."

Yeah, I'm scared too. I'm scared that this failed Casanova and his band of hacks could get into the Hall one day.

RATING: .2 out of 10

Def Lep circa 'Adrenalize.' Obviously, someone is "Bonerized."
Def Leppard's "Tonight"

Michael Anthony: All hail the Lep! Even though they resort to ripping off themselves - albeit with with slightly diminished returns - it's a wise decision that you can't really blame them for. Clearly, they've run out of ideas, melodies, and any knack for writing guitar hooks, so why not steal the arpeggiated riffs and shout-along style of earlier tunes? It worked then, right?

The tune doesn't measure up to something you might find in the guts of a solid block of Metal Mania - but it has this propulsive, rhythmic quality to it that a lot of power ballads are missing, proving that corny romantic wimp-rock bereft of any lyrical value doesn't have to be slow on top of everything else.

There's no way Def Lep (or any band besides this) could have lost this round up against "Living In STINK", but regardless, Joe Elliot and co. came up big in the clutch.

RATING: 6.65 (out of 10)

G.E. Smith: Yeah man, musically this is more like it. Instead of banging away at chords like they had He-Man pal Fisto's big silver hand, there's some actual playing like back in the "High N' Dry"-"Pyromania" days.

Oh yeah, some guy on 'Game of Thrones' gets stabbed in the neck.
You're right, the song ain't great by any stretch - you know something awesome is going to happen when those verses finally unravel, but the pay off is like the "Star Wars" prequels (Is that it? All we get is a bunch of Yoda tricks and Darth Vader putting on his helmet?) or the finale of the first season of HBO's "Game of Thrones," where a string of heart attack-inducing shows in which the creators gave one eff you after another by killing off main characters, cutting the screen to black to create unreal cliff-hangers and making heads explode (not literally) by doing things like showing someone getting their neck ripped out (literally) came to an end with a head-scratcher where a chick made three dragon eggs hatch, well, dragons and dead people started coming out of the forest.

Also,  I'm not really sure what a "haute beat" is, as in "listen to your haute beat," but I do think that sometimes these guys sing like they just got out of the dentists' chair.

RATING: 6 out of 10

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