Don't knock the rating. Just give a listen to this collection of 11 greatest hits, one remake and two new songs by one of the most talked about bands of the 1980s.

When Bon Jovi hit it big with the commercial success of 1986's "Slippery When Wet," hard-rock labels all around the world wanted their own version of the five bad boys from Jersey. To this day, cheap Bon Jovi protoges are popping up left and right with shallow lyrics and talentless music.The significant hits on "Cross Road" highlight Bon Jovi's 11-year career that started with its breakthrough smash about a troubled teen, titled "Runaway." Bon Jovi revived the power ballad ("I'll Be There for You") and the neo-western ("Wanted Dead or Alive" and lead singer Jon Bon Jovi's solo hit "Blaze of Glory").

The band - Bon Jovi, classically trained keyboardist David Bryan, bassist Alec John Such, former session drummer Tico "Hit Man" Torres and guitarist Richie Sambora, who owned his own independent record company when Bon Jovi called him to join the band - ducked the "glam band" label by keeping the Jersey look, sound and attitude intact.

Tough-boy lyrics about love defeating union strikes and greasy spoons ("Livin' on a Prayer"), risky liaisons ("Bad Medicine"), young lust ("In and Out of Love") and heartbreakers ("You Give Love a Bad Name") are all in this collection. Also present is the socially conscious "Keep the Faith" and the lament "Bed of Roses." Too bad other hits like "Born to Be My Baby," "Only Lonely," "She Don't Know Me" and "Livin' in Sin" didn't make the final cut. The addition of those hum-easy tunes would have made this a true "greatest hits" collection.

Still, with the addition of new tunes like the staple upbeat blues of the metaphoric "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" and the ballad "Always," probably one of the most intricate and heartfelt compositions leading man Bon Jovi has ever penned alone, the album emerges clean and fresh. By the way, the song is up to No. 4 on Billboard's Top 100 and the album itself reached No. 16 last week.

The biggest and most satisfying surprise is the remake of "Livin' on a Prayer" called "Prayer `94." Instead of the grooving, guitar talk-box rhythm lick, the song consists of a slower, spiraling jazz beat. Posse-head Sambora is given more vocal duties and mixes his mellow tones with sheriff Bon Jovi. The song's lyrics are also more meaningful today than they were eight years ago.

By releasing a greatest hits collection, the band made fans a little nervous. But it's premature to tell whether the Bon Jovi magic is over. And with the release of this album, airtime for songs like "Always" and even "Prayer '94" will guarantee continued success throughout 1995.

While some prima donna critics may roll their eyes and write this release off, the band deserves credit, and credit is due - now.

BON JOVI: "Crossroad," including: "Living on a Prayer," "Keep the Faith," "Someday I'll be Saturday Night," "Always," "Wanted Dead or Alive," "Lay Your Hands on Me," "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Bed of Roses," "Blaze of Glory," "Prayer '94," "Bad Medicine," "I'll Be There for You," "In and Out of Love," "Runaway."