Which Is Better: ‘Slippery When Wet’ Or ‘New Jersey’? [POLL]
Bon Jovi's massive album 'Slippery When Wet' was released on this week back in 1986 and went on to become the band's biggest selling album to date. But is it Bon Jovi's greatest album? I don't think it is. I think their greatest album was still a few years away.
There is no arguing 'Slippery When Wet' is a great album. Four massive singles - "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Livin' on a Prayer", "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Never Say Goodbye". The first three of those singles still bring stadiums to their feet when played live. The album sold 12 million copies and put Bon Jovi on top of the music world. Normally you would think there's no way any band could top an album like 'Slippery' yet they did just that in my opinion.
Although it didn't sell as many copies as 'Slippery When Wet' 1988's 'New Jersey' still went platinum seven times thanks to five Billboard Hot 100 top ten singles, the most top ten hits to date for any hard rock/heavy metal album, including "Bad Medicine" and "I'll Be There for You", which both reached No. 1. Those were rounded out by the singles "Born to Be My Baby", "Lay Your Hands on Me" and my personal favorite "Living In Sin".
The big difference maker, however, comes in the album tracks. The songs that weren't released to radio listeners but left for Bon Jovi fans to experience and listen to as if they were they were their own. With 'Slippery When Wet' there were the fist-pumping anthemic tracks "Let It Rock", "Raise Your Hands" and "Wild In The Streets", the over-the-top cliche-filled "Social Disease", and the heart-wrenching rocker-ballads "Without Love" and "I'd Die For You". All solid songs. If there's a clunker among them it's "Social Disease" yet still worth a listen from time to time.
Those songs are no match for the album tracks on 'New Jersey'. To me, these songs best represent the songwriting and musical partnership of Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora. More blues-based, raunchier and experimental than anything they'de done before or since. These songs have stood the test of time more than any Bon Jovi songs of the 80s.
There are the auto-biographic tracks "Blood On Blood" and "Wild Is The Wind", songs that would make Bruce Springsteen proud. The deep cuts continue with the bluesy rocker "Homebound Train" along with the beautifully-heavy pair of tracks "Wild Is The Wind" and "Ride Cowboy Ride/Stick To Your Guns". Those, by the way, include the best lead-in instrumentals by Sambora you'll hear on any Bon Jovi song. Last but certainly least is the adrenaline rush rocker "99 In The Shade" and the intimate "Love For Sale", a raw recording that feels as if it were recorded around a campfire rather than a studio.
For those who don't think it matters one way or the other that Sambora is no longer in Bon Jovi, listen to the album tracks off of 'New Jersey' and you'll understand why that is far from the case.
I've made my argument, now it's your turn. Vote for your favorite Bon Jovi album and feel free to let us know why! You can also hear both albums below.
'SLIPPERY WHEN WET'