Bon Jovi – I’ll Be There For You

First Hit #1: May 13, 1989

And so, hair metal descends to earth in a flurry of power ballads, and Bon Jovi makes a song that sounds as though it was tailor made to be played at weddings. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there’s something slightly calculated about this song of all consuming love. Still, it’s actually pretty interesting as power ballads go, with heavy sitar and Bon Jovi himself going all out on his vocal performance. It’s actually a pretty good example of how selling out doesn’t mean going lazy. Maybe selling out is the wrong term, Bon Jovi was always a band with an eye on the commercial side of the business. But still, this is a song that is calculated to reach the maximum number of young couples who want to have a track that they can claim is “their song”. It was even released right before peak wedding season, to get couples really into the idea of a Bon Jovi song getting played at their nuptials. But it’s also a song that has clearly had a great deal of effort put into it, the instrumentation is novel, the harmonies are relatively complicated, and the vocals are pretty much the apex of the hair metal power ballad. It’s clear a lot of work has gone into this song, and it’s neither generic or expected. It is, however, incredibly, almost distractingly, commercial, a song that sounds like a new kitchen. But you can’t argue with that, the trick worked, or I wouldn’t be typing this right now.

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One Response to Bon Jovi – I’ll Be There For You

  1. RBerman says:

    A sitary leads us into a Stonesy love song with hair metal harmony ornamentation: keyboard whrilng in the right channel, harmonic heroics on the guitar. I assume the counterpoint vocal on the verses comes from Richie Sambora. Bon Jovi actually tried to be an arena rock band alongside Journey in the early 80s, but since they didn’t catch fire until a few years later, they cheerfully picked up the airspray.

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