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Jon Bon Jovi - Destination Anywhere

It's appropriate that Destination Anywhere is an album by Jon Bon Jovi the solo artist as opposed to Bon Jovi the band. For while it contains the requisite number of catchy tunes and the right amount of romantic drama, it varies from the band's output in two important ways. First, much of the material on Destination Anywhere is more low-key than the band's high-octane anthems, offering intimacy, if not exactly introspection, from Jon Bon Jovi himself. Too, there's an experimental edge to the music, with sound samples, programmed drums, and keyboard washes that are as distant from the group's albums as California is from New Jersey. Eurythmic Dave Stewart, ex-Hooters Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian, and perennial hit maker Desmond Child kick in some help on "Queen of New Orleans", "Midnight in Chelsea", and "Ugly". The album-closing "August 7, 4:15", meanwhile, is a dramatic rocker about the murder of Bon Jovi's manager's child. Overall, Destination Anywhere is a solid effort, with Bon Jovi flexing some of the same muscles he's building with his budding acting career. --Daniel Durchholz