Hey God, These Days (1995)

The Bon Jovi album These Days (1995) starts with a pounding heavy guitar driven intro that cuts open your ribs, exposes your heart, and then drops its message right where it frickin hurts;

Hey God,
I’m just a little man, I got a wife and family

I almost lost my house, I bought into the dream
We’re barely holding on when I’m in way too deep
We’re two paychecks away from living out on the streets

With two more verses and a bridge, “Hey God” delivers three more stories.

These Days is a socially conscious, powerfully honest record that makes its point right from the first song.

Not only should “Hey God” have been These Days’ flag ship single;
It is also the entire These Days album, crushed into one song!

Meanwhile on Wikipedia:

“Hey God” is a song from American rock band Bon Jovi’s sixth studio album, These Days (1995),
released as the album’s fifth and final single on June 24, 1996.

Although it did not chart in the United States, it became a moderate hit in Canada, Finland, Iceland,
the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

.
And after this first paragraph, on a page that will rank high in the category Ultra Short Wiki Pages About Amazing Rock Songs, the author could be explaining WHY this page is so short;

“As with most of the songs on These Days,
“Hey God” is one of Bon Jovi’s darker songs.”

“Bon Jovi’s darker songs”
Is it me or can you also almost hear the sigh in that?
Like a “Who needs that?”.

Worth the extra mile! 2 disc version, Main album has 2 songs extra (14 total) + really great bonus disc

Or maybe the author was a bit bogged down by the lukewarm reception of the album, and he or she had forgotten they had actually liked that album,
and – mind you!- that in Europe we have entire clans of people, and when I say people I mean Real Serious Music Lovers,  who would never have gotten on the Bon Jovi wagon if it were not for the 1995 album These Days;
Maybe they had forgotten what the album had accomplished.

And in all fairness, these people who suddenly recognized the quality of Bon Jovi after listening to These Days, did drop off the wagon pretty quickly.
And yet!
As far as I know them, all have expressed Bon Jovi has earned that place in their heart and extensive vinyl collection, just from that album.

The “darker songs” on These Days did what no other Bon Jovi album had ever done; 
It won the critics’ hearts.

Now that I think of it, this might explain why I myself have been unfairly harsh to this album.
In a 2019 song-by-song Bon Jovi video series for my YouTube, which I am still committed to restore, I even boldly claimed that, in all honesty? 
These Days may be my least favorite Bon Jovi album.

*mike drop*

Which was not just a very unpopular opinion but being a fan of heavy music, being a Bon Jovi fan, and I am also a proud citizen of The Netherlands one of the few countries where the album was well received and probably doubled Bon Jovi’s fan base;
Then WHY was I so harsh towards this strong album?

I never investigated that question too much, also because I was kind of attached to my own antagonistic standpoint here.
But I think now that I m typing this blogpost I inadvertently answered my own question;

It was BECAUSE the serious critics suddenly got on the Bon Jovi wagon.

And mid 90s?
I mean give me a break!

BON_JOVI_THESE+DAYS-52174
press kit/ promotional photo for These Days album

SURE!
Maybe, mid 80s, out of spite for Bon Jovi clearing out your country  of female attention, you refuse to admit the Slippery songs are among the best songs in rock n roll history.
I get it, it was the 80s, and it all went really fast when within 6 months you received a three puncher of three hits that was so tough to take in, you just couldn’t.
I get it.

But the album New Jersey, 18 months after you got your Slippery-hits-ass whooping completed (on a strong strike, I admit) with Wanted Dead Or Alive?
Jon’s award winning record in 1990?
Richie’s blues album in 1991?

Keep The Faith in 1992?

Are you honestly gonna tell me you needed to wait until These Days 1995 before you heard that Bon Jovi was amazing?
I m just not buying it.

I will admit that me still leaning towards claiming These Days is my least favorite Bon Jovi album, is not backed up by facts.

But in hindsight I can see why I just refused to agree with people who were NOT there, in the years when Bon Jovi was being talked down upon as being just another hair metal band.

I can see why I owed it to my teenage heart who had recognized good music when she heard it,
to ignore all the serious music critics when mid-90s they wanted a piece of very tasty pies.
As if the Bon Jovi bakery had recently finally gotten the recipe right.

Girls years younger than the serious music critics had heard it from the get go,
but you were too busy looking down on it!
(and listening to Pink Floyd I imagine)

Okay that was a bit ranty.
But you get the idea.

In a way These Days is for the Bon Jovi catalog what The Last Jedi is for Star Wars fandom;
A work of art that managed to double the fan base, but with two halves that hardly talk to each other.

Unlike all the Bon Jovi albums that had come before it, and I would argue pretty much all the Bon Jovi albums that came after;
These Days did not come to us, in the spirit of union.

It cut us open with the first riffs and in song seven we’re still bleeding on the floor.

I can’t write a love song the way I feel today
And I can’t sing no song of hope, I got nothing to say

I can’t fight the feelings that are buried in my veins
I send this song to you, wherever you are
As my guitar lies bleeding in my arms

My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms
(song 7)

These Days was a raw and honest “WTF God?!” message, that never pretended to be anything it wasn’t.
Least of all a regular Bon Jovi record.

And regardless of how long we’d been in fandom, regardless how old we were at the time that record was released, or regardless if we’d already been born;
We all felt that.

And to this day, 2021, painfully slowly clawing our way out of the pandemic;
We still do.

Hey God,
there’s nights you know I want to scream

These days you’re even harder to believe
I know how busy you must be, but Hey God…

~Suzanne
Rock Star Writer
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