Bon Jovi – “2020” Review

Story posted October 5, 2020 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Cade Miller

Staying strong in the music industry, Jon Bon Jovi and his self-titled band are still making great music to this day. Some fans would say that since Bon Jovi is back for the first time since 2016, maybe 2020 isn’t so bad after all.

But 2020 is the perfect year to call out the imperfections of politicians and even America, which is exactly what Bon Jovi does in their latest album “2020.”

Bon Jovi has reached massive success with songs like “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ on a Prayer,”  and it’s likely that every music fan knows their name. This band has never fallen short on staying up to date, as they remain talented in finding what the modern listener wants. That is exactly what they offer with “2020,” an album that does not sell the group’s fans short.

The first song, “Limitless,” is a song that sounds just like classic Bon Jovi but with a modern touch. Listeners can clearly hear that retro sound of a keyboard and electric guitar.

What stands out is the choir-like singing in the background. This is something that has become very popular in the last decade among rock and pop music. Adding this helps make the music sound present and relative.

“Do What You Can” is a song that could slide right into any country music record. Focusing on a small town and just getting by during the pandemic, “Do What You Can” finds itself relating to people who are struggling during these hard times.

It is kind of ironic that a $400 million celebrity is singing about how difficult this year is. Americans have to do whatever they can to cope with the struggle of losing jobs or making a payment, and Bon Jovi tries to relate to that the best they can, as forced as it may sound at points.

Going deeper into “2020,” topics in the music industry that are considered off-limits are explored in full. It’s safe to say that things like cancer, rape and mass shootings are taboo topics, but Bon Jovi goes right for one of them.

“Lower the Flag,” a reference to the act of bringing flags down the mast as an indication of tragedy, gets emotional quickly. With one acoustic guitar and the return of the choir, listeners can understand that this song is going to make an important statement.

The lyrics tell of the aftermath on the families of mass shooting victims. Bon Jovi sings, “These days it’s hard to sleep when I lay my head down/What if it was your loved one laying on the ground?”

The way the music and lyrics work together to form a slower and a soft rhythm is perfect for such a touchy subject.

In the bridge, Bon Jovi starts to list towns and schools of mass shootings, such as Columbine, Las Vegas and Sandy Hook Elementary. Even Penn State is mentioned.

It’s very brave for the band to make a song about this topic. Mass shootings are a scary but real thing that Americans have to be aware of, and Bon Jovi isn’t afraid to tackle it head-on.

The song “Brothers in Arms” turns the mood right back around with an uplifting, meaningful sound. It’s like a rallying cry. America has seen division; this country is separated politically. But this song is basically saying, “we are all in this together.”

“2020” uses the resources that 2020 has given songwriters. Other controversial topics, like police brutality (“American Reckoning”) and the Trump administration (“Blood In The Water”) are touched on in detail. Bon Jovi is clearly not afraid of losing some followers by making a political statement with this record.

Listeners may automatically think Bon Jovi is a conservative act because they sing about their faith and can be classified in the country genre, but this album throws those people for a loop. This could be a new era for the band, and in terms of recognition, it could be for better or for worse.

No matter what the listeners think, it’s clear that Bon Jovi wanted to make a statement about 2020 with their music. They sure did—and they did it very well.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “American Reckoning”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: N/A

 

Cade Miller is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email cam7095@psu.edu.