Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora’s acoustic performance of “Wanted Dead or Alive” at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards is widely acknowledged as being the inspiration for MTV’s hugely successful “Unplugged” series. It was a historic performance, one that truly made a significant change in the course of popular rock music. Now, proving that they can’t leave well enough alone, Bon Jovi have given us This Left Feels Right: Greatest Hits with a Twist, an album of re-recorded, mostly acoustic versions of their biggest hits. Here’s how questionable this whole affair is: The highlight of the record is a vocal appearance by the girl from “The Wonder Years.” Indeed, actress Olivia d’Abo (who just happens to be producer Patrick Leonard’s wife) and Bon Jovi duet nicely on “Livin’ on a Prayer,” which has been recast as a dark, melodic ballad. But most of the other new recordings are just boring, their original rock edges having been dulled by strings and keyboards. Sluggish versions of “Bed of Roses” and “Lay Your Hands on Me” are virtually unlistenable. “Wanted Dead or Alive,” with its sporadic bursts of electric guitar, is one of the few songs here that has a pulse, but its best line—“I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all”—has become “I’ve seen a million faces/I’ve seen an awful lot of faces.” That perplexing lyric change pretty much sums up This Left Feels Right, which just feels wrong.
Score:Label: Island Release Date: November 4, 2003 Buy: Amazon