This House Is Not for Sale

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This House Is Not for Sale
Artwork for Bon Jovi's album This House Is Not for Sale.jpg
Studio album by Bon Jovi
Released November 4, 2016 (2016-11-04)
Recorded 2015–16
Studio Avatar Studios (The Power Station)
Genre
Length 49:08
Label Island
Producer
Bon Jovi chronology
Burning Bridges
(2015)Burning Bridges2015
This House Is Not for Sale
(2016)
This House Is Not for Sale – Live from the London Palladium
(2016)This House Is Not for Sale – Live from the London Palladium2016
Singles from This House Is Not for Sale
  1. "This House Is Not for Sale"
    Released: August 12, 2016
  2. "Knockout"
    Released: October 21, 2016
  3. "Labor of Love"
    Released: November 4, 2016
  4. "Born Again Tomorrow"
    Released: December 23, 2016

This House Is Not for Sale is the thirteenth studio album by American rock band Bon Jovi. It was released on November 4, 2016, by Island Records. It is their first studio album without former lead guitarist Richie Sambora and the first album to feature the band's new lead guitarist Phil X and it is also the first album where bass guitarist Hugh McDonald is credited as an official member, even though he has played bass for the band since 1994.

Background[edit]

On November 18, 2014, in an interview with Pierre Robert from WMMR-FM Radio, lead singer Jon Bon Jovi confirmed that he started writing songs for the upcoming Bon Jovi album and that album is going to be recorded in 2015 and released in 2016. He also confirmed that lead guitarist Richie Sambora left the band and said that the doors are wide open for him if he wants to return to the band, even though is highly unlikely. Jon said: "I’d be hard-pressed to [allow him to return], so would David, so would Tico. It’d be a lot for us [to allow him back]. After a year and a half and you miss 80 shows … I don’t think that’s possible."[3] By February 2015, Jon confirmed that he was still in an early stage of songwriting process with around 12 songs written and that inspiration for writing those songs came out of reading newspapers.[4] In April 2015 Jon signed a management deal with Irving Azoff, who will represent Bon Jovi in all areas.[5]

On August 21, 2015 Bon Jovi released the album Burning Bridges; an album recorded specially for the fans and also to accompany the Bon Jovi Live! Asian concert tour. It includes songs that were never finished, songs that were finished but never released, and a couple of new songs. Jon said about the album: "It’s sort of a hint as to where we’re going musically".[6] With this album, the band also concluded their 32-year relationship with Mercury Records and its parent label Universal Music Group. The reasons for leaving the label are described in the last song on the album Burning Bridges. Jon said: "This hits it right in the head and tells you what happened. Listen to the lyrics because it explains exactly what happened. And that's that."[7]

On September 30, 2015, in an interview for a star2.com, Jon confirmed that album is going to be called This House Is Not for Sale describing the album as a "really going back to the beginning". Describing the album, he also said: ""This record is about our integrity. Integrity matters and we’re at a stage of our career where we don’t have anything left to prove. Some songs have a little more of the ‘chip on my shoulder’ sound which is OK for us to have right now."[8] Lyrics on the album talk about difficulties Jon came across over 2014-2015. Jon explained: "A lot happened. Richie's sudden departure, my trying to buy the [Buffalo] Bills and now this with the label. I have a lot of material to write about. Believe me, the new record is good. It's pointed. It is something we are going to be very proud of in the spring when we put it out."[7]

Lyrics and composition[edit]

Title track "This House Is Not for Sale" was inspired by a picture from Jerry Uelsmann that Bon Jovi saw in a magazine. It's a proud old house with deep roots that was in disrepair. Since Jon was actually selling the house at that time, the title came to his mind subliminally. Song is about integrity and where band members were at that time. The line "These four walls have got a story to tell" symbolize each of the four members of the band.[9][10]"Living With the Ghost" is a song that deals with the subject of loss. "Knockout" is about the fight between man and his hope. "Labor of Love" is a song about love and relationships. "Born Again Tomorrow" is a song about looking back on life and asking yourself: Would you change anything or would you live it the same way?. "Roller Coaster" is a song about Jon Bon Jovi's life, the love and all the low blows along the way. With provocative lyrics like "life ain't a merry go round" and "What goes up might take us upside down", Roller Coaster's political agenda is clear. "New Year's Day" is a song about the cohesion of the band; it was originally written in 6/8 time, but turned out to be much faster in the studio when Tico Torres counted the beat and all the other band members jumped in. "The Devil's in the Temple" is a song about the band's record label and situation in music industry. Jon explained: "I’ve always had only one dream: To write songs and to present them in this church. It wasn’t easy to put away the changes in the industry, which led us to change our relationship with this former ‘home’ after 33 years. Fortunately, we have left this chapter behind us now.". "Scars on This Guitar" is a song about Jon's guitar. "God Bless This Mess" is a song about surviving through the downs of life. "Reunion" is a song that Jon wrote after he accepted an honorary doctorate from Rutgers University.[11] "Come On Up to Our House" is a song about the people who are persuaded to come and stay in the house for a party together. "We Don't Run" is a defiant song in the face of adversity and it addresses the record company situation that Jon went through and future of the band being called into question. Song is a battle cry for anyone who feels their back against the wall.[10]

Release and promotion[edit]

On May 25, 2016, Bon Jovi announced via social media and their website that the album was finished. Billboard reported that Bon Jovi had re-signed with Universal Music, with the album being released on Island Records.[12] The title-track and its official music video were released on August 12, 2016. It was also announced that the album will be released on October 21, 2016.[13] This album is also the first which features Hugh McDonald and Phil X becoming official members, although producer John Shanks was responsible for creating and performing most of the guitar work in the album.[14] On October 5, 2016 Jon Bon Jovi announced their 2017 live concert world tour, This House Is Not for Sale Tour on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[15] On the same date it was announced that the release date has been pushed back from October 21 to November 4, 2016.[16]

Through October, four intimate TIDAL X: Bon Jovi live listening parties at intimate venues presented the album front-to-back for fans in Red Bank NJ, London UK, Toronto ON, and New York City.

Artwork[edit]

The album artwork features a black and white image by photographer Jerry Uelsmann and depicts a house anchored by deep roots. Jon Bon Jovi became inspired by the image when he saw it several years prior to the recording of the album. According to Jovi, it was the inspiration for the album's title track and said of the image: "That picture told our story…now it’s our album cover".[17]

Singles[edit]

"This House Is Not for Sale" was released as the album's lead single on August 12, 2016 and features a music video.[18] "Knockout" was released as the second single with a music video released on October 21, 2016.[19] "Labor of Love" was released as the third single with a music video on November 4, 2016.[20] "Born Again Tomorrow" was released as the fourth single with a music video on December 23, 2016.[21] "Roller Coaster" was quoted on live shows as the band new "Hit Single",[22] reaching number 11 on the Adult Contemporary chart[23]

Music videos[edit]

Including the singles music videos were released for every track of the standard album version. "Come On Up to Our House" was released on November 11, 2016, "Scars on This Guitar" on November 25, 2016, "The Devil's in the Temple" on December 9, 2016, "Roller Coaster" on December 16, 2016, "New Year's Day" on December 30, 2016, "God Bless This Mess" on January 13, 2017 and both "Living With the Ghost" and "Reunion" being released on January 27, 2017 with a documentary and "Spiritual Warfare (Combined both of "Living With the Ghost" and "Reunion" Music Videos)" focused at the Camden, New Jersey.[21]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 59/100[24]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[25]
Classic Rock 2.5/5 stars[26]
Drowned in Sound 5/10 [27]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[28]
Kerrang! 3/5 stars[29]
The Independent 2/5 stars[30]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 59 out of 100, which indicates mixed or average reviews, based on 5 reviews.[24]

AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that "Bon Jovi and Shanks may not have done much to freshen up the band's sound–they don't take any mid-2010s musical trends into consideration–but that simmering defiance does mean this is the band's liveliest album in years."[25] Dave Simpson from The Guardian stated that the album "doesn’t tear up the old formula" and that "there are still stadium-ready rock songs and chant-friendly choruses."[28] Andy Gill from The Independent said that "the comforting simplicities peddled in tracks like "Reunion" and "Knockout" offer the rock equivalent of Donald Trump, currying favour without getting too specific."[30] Emma Johnston from Classic Rock said that "This House Is Not for Sale is no masterpiece, and while the punchy title track sonically nods to their heyday, most of it is made up of by-numbers pop".[26]

Andy McDonald from Drowned in Sound gave the album rate 5 out of 10 saying that "The arena-filling sound that runs through modern music owes something to Bon Jovi, but This House… comes across more like their third-tier spiritual successors, comprised of forgettable dance-rock and schmaltzy slow-burners loaded with endless platitudes and those echoey, staccato guitar lines that bands do when they want to sound big".[27]

Commercial performance[edit]

This House Is Not for Sale debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200 with 129,000 album-equivalent units, of which 128,000 were pure album sales.[31] It is Bon Jovi's sixth US number-one album and it is also became their fourth album in a row to hit No. 1 in US after What About Now, The Circle and Lost Highway.[31] In the album's second week, it dropped from #1 to #43, replacing Incubus's 2006 album Light Grenades for the biggest drop from number one in the Billboard 200 history at that time. The band had a previous album fall far from #1: 2009's The Circle. They are the only band to have multiple places on the list. It also suffered the largest second-week pure sales drop for a #1 in Top Album Sales during its second week, of 91.71 percent, down to 11,000.[32] The following week, it fell to number 127, which makes it the shortest top 100 charting number-one album in Billboard 200 history. On the following weeks it fell to number 166, then to 189. On weeks six and seven it rose to 173, then to 155. The album sold 174,000 copies in the United States until January 2017[33]

In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number five on the UK Albums Chart, selling 21,448 units in its first week.

Track listing[edit]

This House Is Not for Sale – Standard version[34]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "This House Is Not for Sale" 3:36
2. "Living With the Ghost"
  • Bon Jovi
4:44
3. "Knockout"
  • Bon Jovi
  • Shanks
3:29
4. "Labor of Love"
  • Bon Jovi
  • Shanks
  • Falcon
5:03
5. "Born Again Tomorrow"
  • Bon Jovi
  • Shanks
  • Falcon
3:33
6. "Roller Coaster" 3:40
7. "New Year's Day"
  • Bon Jovi
  • Falcon
4:27
8. "The Devil's in the Temple"
  • Bon Jovi
  • Falcon
3:19
9. "Scars on This Guitar"
5:06
10. "God Bless This Mess"
  • Bon Jovi
3:23
11. "Reunion"
  • Bon Jovi
4:14
12. "Come On Up to Our House"
  • Bon Jovi
  • Shanks
4:35
Total length: 49:08

Personnel[edit]

Bon Jovi
Additional personnel

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[66] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[67] Gold 7,500*
United Kingdom (BPI)[68] Silver 60,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Catalog no.
Worldwide November 4, 2016 Island Records B01LNV711A

References[edit]

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