The Bottom Line
- With three Top 10 singles, the album represents the finest mainstream rock of the '80s.
- Strong album tracks deftly complement the singles and the keep the filler to a pleasing minimum.
- The record features a masterful blend of power ballads and mid-tempo rockers even if it's not metal.
- The album's hook-laden, heavily produced sound can suffer from a plodding sameness at times.
- There is absolutely nothing groundbreaking or daring about the record's music.
- This is solid, well-crafted pop/rock that blends its core styles as well as any other competitors during the glossy mid-'80s.
- Any sacrifice of artistry for a blue-collar aesthetic has disappointed few of the album's millions of admirers.
- The quality of the band's songwriting and performances makes it clear why Bon Jovi has built a long-term pop music career.
- Released August 18, 1986 on Mercury Records
Guide Review - Bon Jovi's 'Slippery When Wet' Album Review
The odd combination of horns and a minor stab at social commentary turn "Social Disease" into a decidedly mixed listen. But the record's quality doesn't lag for long, with the moody, even rootsy power ballad "Wanted Dead or Alive" serving as a nice change of pace at the album's halfway mark. "Raise Your Hands" announces itself as an obvious stadium fixture in the band's live shows, a position the tune has held consistently over the years. Even better, "Without Love" keeps things moving along at a confident pace, as few mainstream releases of the era could boast deep album tracks with hooks like this one.
With a keyboard riff that fondly recalls perhaps the band's finest moment ("Runaway"), the sturdy arena rock of "I'd Die for You" provides useful balance for the album's final third. One of Bon Jovi's greatest assets, after all, was its fervent following of female fans, but the group was careful to avoid pandering. That's one reason "Never Say Goodbye," the set's most shameless flame-worthy prom slow-dance number, works as well as it does. Following in the footsteps of obvious influence and fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen, Slippery When Wet ultimately functions as a populist offering with something for every taste.