Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bon Jovi: Have a Nice Day [Island, 2005]
Bon Jovi mean so little long or short term that it was only with this redolently entitled cheese bomb that I realized they hadn't actually broken up back in the fabled '90s. (Really--I took all their '00s albums for reunion one-shots, and couldn't figure out why the product kept coming in the three seconds I thought about it.) The commercial secret is as unchanging as Jon-Jon's mysteriously unwrinkled countenance--hard rock so inoffensive it's less Aerosmith than Air Supply. Not only is it impossible to tell whether the one called "Bells of Freedom" is pro- or anti-Bush, it's impossible to tell whether it's patriotic. A depressing argument for the existence of that intellectual fairy tale, the passive mass audience. C+