Keep the Faith reintroduced Bon Jovi after almost four years of side projects and hiatuses. The musical climate had shifted considerably in that time, a fact that wasn't lost on the band. Faith blatantly brought to the surface the Bruce Springsteen influence that was always lurking in Bon Jovi's sound, and used it to frame Faith's more serious interpretation of the band's pop-metal groove. "I Believe" and "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" both amped up the blue-collar, gospel revivalist feel of Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love," dropping in triumphant power chord changes to ensure arena readiness. But Bon Jovi also took a page from Springsteen's Big Book of Epic Songwriting, padding Faith's center with ambitious balladry and a nearly ten-minute story-song, "Dry County," that wouldn't be out of place on a '70s rock album. Elsewhere, the hit single "Bed of Roses" wisely aimed for the verdant adult contemporary pastures pointed to by Bryan Adams with 1991's "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You," instead of gripping stupidly to the Aqua-Netted mane of glam rock power balladry. Some of the album's straightforward hard rock songs faltered, since they didn't sizzle like the band's vintage material and fell flat next to more inspired material like "In These Arms." But while miles of open highway separated the songwriting of Jon Bon Jovi and his mates from that of Springsteen, Keep the Faith deserves plenty of points for ambition, and it did succeed in updating the band's sound -- even if the replacement parts were bought used.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus