365 DotU, Day 89: In Which I Celebrate Cheese

There’s just something about an earnest, cheesy, brilliant Bon Jovi song that kind of makes my day, especially the earlier stuff. Slippery When Wet (for example), as an album, is not great art. It wasn’t trying to be, of course. It’s just good-hearted rock and roll fun, big hair and tight pants and all, just in time for MTV and chock full of yummy pop to boot. The tunes are catchy, the singers have genuine pipes for the tunes, and the guitars sound good. It isn’t music built for the King Crimson set, but it does what it does very nicely, and I can’t see myself apologizing for finding it pretty damn fun sometimes. The whole album is straight-up 80s fun, and it actually wears surprisingly well over time.

The real high point of Slippery When Wet, though, the crowning achievement in magnificent BonJovitude, is Wanted Dead or Alive, with lyrics that should seem utterly absurd and yet, played very nearly straight, really work.

Oh, who am I kidding? The lyrics are absurd, in the delightful, fun, pop/rock way that only a precious few performers can really pull off (the sort of thing Journey used to be able to get away with on occasion). There is a place in the world, a need, for such music. It’s just so damn much fun!

So I tried to play it.

You can stop laughing now.

Wait until after the video, then chuckle away.

This was fun for me, actually — more than I thought it would be, given what an utter failure I am as a guitar player and the fact that I can’t remember the lyrics no matter how hard I try. I try to choose songs for the Challenge that force me to try something different (learning a new instrument, learning a new technique, learning a new technology, etc.). I don’t tend to play riffs further up the neck on the guitar, mostly because I’m still not really comfortable out of first position, so this song was a good excuse to try to figure out some higher-up stuff. I still bungle the pickin’ too badly to do the riff as it was originally written, but I think the strummy change I made actually kind of works — I like it better than I thought I would, anyway. It doesn’t match up to the original well at all, but it’s fun anyway. I did go a little crazy with the reverb. WHOOOOOOOO!


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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