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Bon Jovi takes a lap of honour and takes stock of his 40-year career on the new album “Forever”

Forty years after they captured our hearts and entered rock history, Bon Jovi is back with a thoughtful new album that takes stock of all the accomplishments of the New Jersey boys.

Perhaps the biggest news is that there is a new Bon Jovi album at all. After years of vocal problems, singer Jon Bon Jovi underwent vocal cord surgery in 2022 and was not at all sure about the outcome.

They turned out well. His voice has a slight affectation, especially in drawn-out vowels, but the charisma and mischief are still there, as are a few successful high notes, which are an encouraging sign.

“Living Proof” is the best Bon Jovi song of the last 20 years. It brings back the talk box technique that was such a key part of “Livin' On A Prayer” and “It's My Life,” and the song's chorus is so catchy that it gets ingrained in your brain after just one listen.

The opening track, “Legendary,” is one of many songs here that look back on the band's career with satisfaction and appreciation (“Right where I am is where I wanna be,” sings Bon Jovi). It's followed by “We Made It Look Easy,” which expresses similar sentiments.

Bon Jovi scored a crossover country hit with “Lost Highway” in 2007 and scored again here with the country-inspired “Waves”.

At least one song on this album will forever be played at wedding receptions: “Kiss The Bride,” Jon's ode to his soon-to-be-married daughter, whom he first introduced to us as a five-year-old on “I Got the Girl” in 2000. Fathers of daughters: I challenge you to listen to this song without crying.

The album comes amid much speculation about whether original guitarist Richie Sambora will ever return to the band. Current guitarist Phil X's solos are nothing special and certainly do not discourage an eventual Sambora reunion.

“Forever” is a well-deserved lap of honor.

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