Versailles Records’ “Millennium Tribute” albums have generally never fared well here at "The Metal Observer", and now that I’ve experienced the steaming turd that is the label’s BON JOVI tribute, I fully understand why. When preparing to review this album, I tried to look past the fact that I barely recognized any of the names attached to this tribute. I figured, “Hey, so it’s a bunch of no-names, so what? Surely there are a few gems in here…” Not so much.
Let’s get something straight: despite my unhealthy addiction to Hair Metal, I’ve never been a fan of BON JOVI. The New Jersey quintet were dead to me after they started releasing pseudo-Western crap like “Dead Or Alive” and “Blaze Of Glory”. The only songs I’ve ever truly enjoyed were the true Hair Metal anthems like “It’s My Life”, “Bad Medicine”, and the quintessential “You Give Love A Bad Name”. So I decided to start off with that. However, after listening to Corey Craven (who?) limp his way through “You Give Love A Bad Name”, I quickly regretted my decision. Listening to Jizzy Pearl (nice name) butcher “Bad Medicine” did little to stop the bleeding. Even my hero, the majestic Jani Lane, delivers a lackluster version of “Lay Your Hands On Me” (but I’m willing to attribute that to the fact that the source material is awful; pick a better song, Mr. Lane!).
If you’ve never heard of Colie Brice, then you’re safe; let’s keep it that way. Brice’s rendition of the classic tearjerker “Always” leaves it in ruins; fortunately, he redeems himself somewhat with his upbeat cover of “Run Away”. Meanwhile, Jasy Andrews struggles through “I’ll Be There For You”, with her voice attempting to be everywhere at once and not quite succeeding. THE ISSUES do a decent cover of “It’s My Life”, but it’s marred by a surprisingly lack of emotion. I’m not even going to discuss Jason Andrews’ Country-ified cover of “Stick To Your Guns”; this is a Metal website, so I’m sure you’re already disgusted by the mere mention of the word.
Unsurprisingly, the only two decent cuts on the album come from two very established singers, Derrick LeFevre (LILLIAN AXE) and John Corabi (ex-MÖTLEY CRÜE). Both singer do a remarkable job on their cuts, with LeFevre delivering “Living On A Prayer” almost note-for-note, and Corabi belting his way through the underrated “Born To Be My Baby”.
I really can’t recommend this lame tribute to BON JOVI. Excluding a few choice cuts, the album is packed to the brim with half-assed covers by no-name singers. Even if you such a rabid fan that you paid a ridiculous price for that five-CD BON JOVI anthology that was released a few years back, take my advice and pass on “Always: A Millennium Tribute To Bon Jovi”. I mean, just one look at the Photoshopped album cover should be a clear indication of how much effort went into this “tribute”.
(Online July 9, 2007)