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Discographically Speaking: Bon Jovi

Bon JoviNew Jersey's finest. Well, OK, they are from New Jersey, at least. (Olaf Heine/coutesy of Island Records)

By Allison Stewart

Remember when Bon Jovi was the most terrible thing to happen to music ever, before Creed/Britney Spears/Justin Bieber taught us there were worse things than five guys from New Jersey who knew how to play their instruments and had really good hair?

These days, Bon Jovi are cultural icons, still beloved by millions and tolerated by thousands more. Jon Bon Jovi even sent himself up on a recent episode of "30 Rock", though his unsmiling eyes suggested that deep down, he still doesn't think Bon Jovi jokes are all that funny.

Anyway! In honor of the band's gig at the Verizon Center tonight, we've ranked their studio albums from let's-pretend-it-never-happened to "Slippery When Wet."

(Take our poll below and read Allison Stewart's rankings after the jump.)

11. "Bounce," 2002
The early '00s weren't kind to Bon Jovi and history will mark this as the album where the band officially stopped trying. There's a bunch of songs on it. Nothing to concern yourself with.

10. "These Days," 1995
One of the band's forgettable mid-'90s offerings, released during the period after they began solo careers but before they figured out how to reinvent themselves. Song subjects include homelessness and religion. A downer, pretty much.

9. "Crush," 2000
A reunion album after their late-'90s hiatus, this is poppy and light. Its best track, "It's My Life," was, tellingly, co-written with Britney hitmaker Max Martin. Otherwise, see #11.

8. "Lost Highway," 2007
Even more Nashville-friendly than #6, it's adult-contemporary-meets-hair-metal-meets-Keith-Urban. It's not bad, just…unlikely.

7. "The Circle," 2009
After years of dabbling in country, the band's latest is an adult-contemporary cousin of "Slippery When Wet." Contains the ubiquitous NBC house jingle "We Weren't Born to Follow."

6. "Have a Nice Day," 2005
The band went country in a bid to stave off irrelevancy, because it was only 2005 and artists hadn't yet realized that that didn't work. The great duet with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, "Who Says You Can't Go Home," is likely the band's most enduring '00s track.

5. "Keep the Faith," 1992
Thus began the band's post-"Slippery When Wet" wilderness years. The one with "Bed of Roses" on it, this was the Jovi equivalent of "Tunnel of Love." Except "Tunnel of Love" was awesome.

4. "Bon Jovi," 1984
The band's debut boasted only one indelible track ("Runaway"), but it introduced a formula (Springsteen+pop+metal=shameless awesomeness) that endured for more than a decade. If acid-washed denim made a noise, this is what it would sound like.

3. "7800° Fahrenheit," 1985
The band was still trying to find their footing on this likeable, occasionally cheesy sophomore outing. Contains the great, underrated "In and Out of Love."

2. "New Jersey," 1988
In which Bon Jovi achieves the near impossible: following up a monster hit (see #1) with another album that's almost as good, mostly because it sounds so much like the last album, so precisely calibrated to be pleasurable in the exact same ways, focus groups almost had to have been involved. Among its gems: "I'll Be There for You" and "Bad Medicine," which gets our vote for Best. Bon. Jovi. Song. Ever.

1. "Slippery When Wet," 1986
If you like Bon Jovi, this 12x-platinum behemoth is probably why. A work of tightly crafted, heavily moussed, utterly unironic pop-metal splendor, its roll call of career-making hits includes "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Livin' on a Prayer."

By Allison Stewart  |  March 29, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Discographically speaking  | Tags: Bon Jovi  
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