Whitney Pastorek
June 15, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Lost Highway

Current Status
In Season
Patricia Arquette, Robert Blake, Bill Pullman, Gary Busey, Balthazar Getty, Robert Loggia, Richard Pryor, Giovanni Ribisi, Henry Rollins
David Lynch
Drama, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an B-

With their attempt to make an album ”influenced by Nashville,” Bon Jovi have mostly just succeeded in making a slightly above-average Bon Jovi disc — albeit one with a lot more songs about driving. But a couple of shout-outs to hitting the road (among them ”Lost Highway” and ”Summertime”) do not a country-tinged album make. And despite the former hair-metal band’s insistence on this as a storytelling exercise, none of the clichéd generalities (”I’m one step closer/With my arms open wide”) comes even close to the complexity of, say, Tommy and Gina’s plight in ”Livin’ on a Prayer.” Frankly, the alleged genre shift on Lost Highway, the band’s 10th release, seems like a well-intentioned ploy to find a few more airplay options in these challenging musical times.

So they’re not cowboys. But the adult-contemporary horse they’re riding does have its charm, like the fist-pumping chorus of the title track or the joyous slide of Richie Sambora’s guitar on ”Whole Lot of Leavin’ Goin’ On.” ”’Til We’re Not Strangers Anymore” is a sweet, old-timey duet with LeAnn Rimes, and there’s a genuine party happening in ”I Love This Town,” which wanders over to the Buffett/Chesney county line without leaving Jersey. Still, as always, the album’s strongest selling point is Jon Bon Jovi’s familiar rasp, a voice as comfortable as a broken-in barstool or a beloved pair of boots. And look on the bright side: Those things are very, very country…esque. B- DOWNLOAD THIS: Whole Lot of Leavin’ Goin’ On

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