REVIEW: Bon Jovi – 7800° Fahrenheit (1985, 2012 special edition)

Part two of a Bon Jovi two parter!  For the last instalment, 1984’s Bon Jovi, click here.

BON JOVI – 7800° Fahrenheit (1985 Polygram, 2012 special edition)

Sophomore slump? Bon Jovi’s first record didn’t set the world alight, but their second, 7800° Fahrenheit sounded like they’d run out of material. It had a darker overall vibe, but managed to go gold in the US. To this day, 7800° Fahrenheit remains an inconsistent listen with a few great songs and a number of pure filler.

Although I was backtracking through their catalogue after Slippery When Wet, I was decidedly disappointed with 7800° Fahrenheit. Based on the excellently fun single and video “In and Out of Love”, it wasn’t unreasonable to expect more. That song was a blast, quality-wise sounding like a Slippery also-ran. It’s the only tune that periodically shows up on Bon Jovi hits albums. This remastered edition also has a smoking live version of the tune (from Tokyo), featuring an extended jam and guitar solo by Richie Sambora, before Tico Torres gets the spotlight for a drum solo! It’s a 12 minute track total, not the kind of thing you expect in a bonus track.

“Tokyo Road”, another hard rocker, is also worthy of praise. Japan was about the only place Bon Jovi were big. I could do without the boring “Sakura” intro though. Wow, does that thing get old fast. Otherwise, “Tokyo Road” is superfine. Jon seems to find these songs embarrassing today. They were certainly not very sophisticated lyrically, but neither is “When you breathe, I wanna be the air for you.”

Also on the better side are “The Price of Love” and “The Hardest Part is the Night”. Every good Bon Jovi has to contain a few heartbroken rockers. These two do the job while retaining an edge of toughness. Having Richie Sambora unfettered on axe sure does help. I’ll also admit a fondness for the single/video “Only Lonely”. Bon Jovi captured that tone of desperation. This rock ballad also appears as a live bonus track, much tougher and stronger than the studio version. It sounds like possibly a rehearsal tape.

“Only Lonely” had a pretty high budget music video for a band of Bon Jovi’s stature. It’s cheesy as hell and absolutely hilarious to watch today. So serious! It almost appears like a trailer in some kind of Bon Jovi movie. I guess Jon was interested in acting even back then.

7800° Fahrenheit was also plagued with its fair share of filler, leading to believe that Bon Jovi really only had half the material needed for a good second album. Among the filler: “Silent Night”, one of the sappiest of the sappy ballads from early Bon Jovi. It does work in clinical studies* as a sleep aid, if you need that sort of thing.

The last three albums tracks in a row were all pretty dozy and unremarkable, rendering the second side a limp finish. “Always Run to You”, “To the Fire”, and “Secret Dreams” as as forgettable as they are substandard. This second side has always made 7800° Fahrenheit a hard album to want to finish listening to in its entirety. The only interesting bit of trivia about these songs is that drummer Tico Torres only had one co-writing credit in Bon Jovi history, and it’s on “Secret Dreams”.

I don’t need to tell you that whatever slump Bon Jovi were in, they certainly overcame it by the next album. With a little help of course: names such as Desmond Child, Bruce Fairbairn, and Bob Rock. 7800° Fahrenheit is a forgettable blip in their trajectory.

2.5/5 stars

* LeBrain HQ study sample group size: 1.

Advertisements

48 comments

  1. I like “In and Out of Love” — first that I’ve heard it. With all their radio-friendly softer rock hits and ballads it’s easy to forget that they know how to rock and roll! What an amazing difference when Bob Rock et al. stepped onto the scene with them.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Actually Richie is currently playing in a blues rock duo with his lovely girlfriend Orianthi, who has a solo career of her own but is best known for playing with Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper. Ignoring the age difference between them, it’s actually quite cool! Ori is an amazing guitar player in her own right.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Not only that, both David Bryan and Alec John Such were both better singers than JBJ – and Tico Torres could have been an amazing jazz singer.

          Oh, Richie Sambora has a solo career – three albums out, two of them brilliant, the other one is just good!

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Well, it was Jon’s band. He hand-picked the rest of them. On the first single Runaway, the rest of the band aren’t playing. All studio guys. The single was recorded before Jon had his band.

          Richie Sambora once auditioned for Kiss, before joining Jon. I think they thought he was a bit too young for them.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t even describe how disappointed I was when this record came out, but since then it has grown on me. Fact is, it started growing on me right away. Still there are a lot left to be desired here. First, Lance Quinn’s production is really bad. Not Ron Nevison-bad, but still really bad. Second, there are too many song that do not hold up.
    Only Lonely might be one of the worst Bon Jovi songs ever, it didn’t even work in 1985. Then there’s Tokyo Road, To The Fire, Always Run To You… none of them are anything to write home about. I rememeber liking Secret Dreams, but it sounds dated today even if it’s not bad.
    Price Of Love sounds like the follow-up to Roulette and is the best track on this record. I usually don’t like Bon Jovi’s ballads but I have a weak spot for Silent Night, for some reason. In And out of Love, King Of The Mountain and The Hardest Part Is The Night are all really good songs. I’d give this album 6/10.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. There are voices raised in Sweden saying that Sweden Rock Festival should book Bon Jovi as headliners next summer.
          Well, it’s called Sweden ROCK Festival, not Sweden Cheese Festival…

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know anything from this one either. I’m assuming there’s a reason for that. Not my cup of coffee, but I’m fairly certain I know a few tunes off Slippery When Wet …

    Like

Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s