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RECORD RACK

Bon Jovi--More Mass Pop

September 25, 1988|CHRIS WILLMAN

* 1/2BON JOVI. "New Jersey." Mercury.

Bon Jovi's latest teen-oriented pop-metal product is the kind of album that doesn't call for a review so much as a sales projection. Our prognostication: If the band's last effort, 1986's "Slippery When Wet," sold almost 9 million units in the United States, this one ought to be good for at least 5 or 6 million.

The album figures to be the fall sound track for tens of millions of young lives between here and N.Y.C. Bon Jovi speaks the language of the semi-educated teen heartland, a peculiar vocabulary where "my old man" (as in "I got the radio blastin' in my old man's Chevrolet") means "my father," and "my old lady" means "my girlfriend."

Though one's propensity for pain presumably drops a little after 9 million units, Bon Jovi has apparently been stung by criticism from heavy-metal fans that the last album was too wimpy and girl-oriented. So Side 1 of "New Jersey" offers more severe bombast, metal machismo and power chords up the wazoo, with Jon Bon Jovi yelping like D. L. Roth. It ends with "Blood on Blood," a sickly Springsteen-via-John-Cafferty rip-off memorializing the days of fake IDs and a "white trash girl" in a cheap motel who "turned us into men."

That's the boys' side, basically. The girls still have Side 2 and its more sentimental ballads and love songs like "Living in Sin." "I don't need your daddy tellin' us what we should do. . . . I call it love / They call it living in sin," offer our well-coiffed rebels, sure to send chills down the spines of smoking girls in down jackets wherever better high school post-football-game parties are found.

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