Bon Jovi, "2020" (Island)

This is not your momma's Bon Jovi. These days, no one's having a nice day as a virus kills hundreds of thousands of citizens, Black people die at the hands of police and millions remain out of work.

Bon Jovi, the Jersey Boys who have always radiated a sunny optimism, offer evidence aplenty that things feel pretty darn limited right now. Other than the opening "Limitless," these songs are not meant to be shouted out as one in a football stadium.

"American Reckoning" deals with the death of George Floyd in police custody, and "Do What You Can" is about surviving the coronavirus pandemic a day at a time.

To his credit, Jon Bon Jovi gets that releasing an album of party songs would be utterly tone-deaf when there are so many literal life and death issues playing out.

His answer: Love, love and more love. "Bad Medicine" has given way to "Beautiful Drug," a song about how love is the cure that, in the absence of a vaccine, we need more now than ever.

Wayne Parry, Associated Press


Big Sean, "Detroit 2" (Def Jam)

Big Sean's popularity has longevity — this is his third straight No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, but he hasn't been the star of his own career highlights. His "Control" remix gave Kendrick Lamar an alley-oop. And "Dance (A$$)" and "MILF" are two of the funniest songs in any genre from the 2010s — thanks to Nicki Minaj.

His just-happy-to-be-here full-length albums are completely fine, but just that. "Detroit 2" rides professionally pretty productions like "Guard Your Heart" through inconsequential pandemic references. Lines like "Don't just take them clothes off/ Take the problems off" make Drake and J. Cole sound like Socrates by comparison.

Big Sean fares best here when he corrals his world-class Rolodex into one place, namely on the shape-shifting, 9-minute-plus "Friday Night Cypher" with Eminem and Detroit upstarts like Kash Doll.

Dan Weiss, Philadelphia Inquirer

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