Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My relationship with "Livin' On a Prayer" is complicated

My relationship with Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer" (song and video) is complicated. Mostly I think it kicks major ass. But I must temper this enthusiasm. The following points outline my predicament.

1) The song itself is pretty solid. I was not surprised to find Desmond Child's name in the writing credits.
2) The talk box guitar hook is a classic.
3) The bass line during the verses, pedaling on the tonic under i, VI, and VII in E minor is great.
4) For 80s hair/glam/whatever the hell this is, I like the sound of the recording. Solid band.
5) The video is a great concert video, complete with a "black and white rehearsal" versus "color concert footage" gimmick. Love that shit. Oh, and flying for no reason.

1) The video has absolutely nothing to do with the lyrics. The song is about a young couple struggling financially. So much so the guy has to pawn his guitar. This video seems to be about a bunch of overpaid young guys from New Jersey flying for no reason.
2) The song's most distinctive feature is the talk box guitar hook. The song has the line "Tommy's got his six string in hock. Now he's holding in when he used to make it talk." GET IT? TALK?! Sort of on the fence with that bit. Mostly I think it's stupid.
3) The bass line in the chorus is dumb/bad/too much. The walky-arpeggio stuff. No one cares if the bass player knows what notes are in the chord. Really. I mean, people say they care...but...I mean...after that cool E pedal for the verse, the line in the chorus is over-clever and dopey sounding.
4) I guess someone thought that shitty arpeggio line going from I to IV was soooo great it's part of the guitar solo (3:02, 3:10)! What a goofy, stupid idea.

So I'm at an impasse. These sort of balance out. No...but...WAIT. WAIT JUST A MINUTE.

After the solo...going into the end-chorus-vamp-fade-amahjig at 3:23?!

1) They drop a beat before they do the modulation.
2) They go up a goddamned minor third!

So there you have it. "Livin' On a Prayer," Unbehind-approved.


  1. Oooh Wa Oooh Wa Oooh Oooh Oooh Wah.

    Oooh Wa, Oooh Wa...f'n Oooh Oooh Oooh Wa!

    I dunno brotha...I think the bass arpeggios in the chorus are probably the best part of this horrifying example of 80's aqua-net sonic turdlery. Too bad everything has gone all digital and shit because I seriously would like to gather every existing copy of this nightmare and have a good old fashioned uptight 50's style Bible Belt southern bon (jovi) fire. Pile'em up, apply hair spray, ignite. Praise the Lord. Actually...F that. I blame the Lord seeing as how he's ultimately responsible for everything. At least he came up with flying for no reason...that's even better than the bass arps.