Crush

The Nineties were not a kind decade to Bon Jovi. The Slippery When Wet boys managed only a couple of underwhelming records, while Jon Bon Jovi's career as an indie-film actor ranks with Ethan Hawke's novel and Fabio's album as a landmark of celebrity hubris. But Bon Jovi are still around, wanted dead or alive, principled popsters who now cater mainly to the overseas market — Crush comes out in Japan nearly a month before America gets it. Jon does a fine job of shaking his Bon-Bon to the blow-dried, rockish tunes on Crush, especially the Max Martin co-write "It's My Life," which sounds like a Britney track shot through the heart with Richie Sambora's voice-box guitar. Nothing reaches the trans-mall splendor of "You Give Love a Bad Name," "I'll Be There for You" or "Wild in the Streets," but like the mythical Tommy and Gina of yesteryear, Bon Jovi admirably keep livin' on a prayer.