Bon Jovi’s 2020 - What You Need To Know
The ever-reliable stadium rockers return with an appropriately titled new album this week, and here is everything you need to know about it...
What’s the background?
Bon Jovi are a behemoth. Everything they do is on an epic scale, with their tours normally a criss-cross of arenas, stadiums and the world’s biggest festivals. It was a machine that rumbled on with little interruption, with just the one line-up change since the band’s beginnings in 1983.
That all changed in 2013 with the departure of guitarist Richie Sambora. Sambora left part way through the band’s world tour in support of their What About Now album, and, aside from one guest appearance as the band were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, has not rejoined.
Sambora’s replacement, Phil Xenidis, better known simply as Phil X, joined the band permanently in 2016, while bassist Hugh McDonald, a long-time member of their touring outfit, became a full-time member at the same time.
The new line-up had its first test run on 2016's This House Is Not For Sale and bedded in on the subsequent world tour, which, in typically understated style, ran for over two years, sold over 2.2 million tickets, visited five continents, and grossed over $232 million dollars.
Now with a settled line-up, but a world in total chaos, the group return with 2020. Originally due in May, now dropping at the start of October, it’s an album that finds the group in a reflective mood…
John Shanks, a producer and songwriter who has worked with the Goo Goo Dolls and Van Halen, co-produces the album with Jon Bon Jovi.
Shanks produced This House Is Not For Sale and was also a part of the band's live line-up on their last run.
Any special guests?
None. The only outsider involved in the process is songwriter Billy Falcon, and he's written on every Bon Jovi album going back to 2000's Crush.
What does it sound like?
This album was originally due to be released in May, but, amid delays over the Covid-19 pandemic, Bon Jovi wrote two new songs while in quarantine.
'Do What You Can' is a tub-thumping anthem that directly calls out to the Covid-19 situation, while Bon Jovi has been open in interviews that the tragic killing of George Floyd moved him deeply and inspired 'American Reckoning'.
It's not the only call to arms on the album, 'Lower the Flag' is inspired by the 2019 Dayton shooting, while 'Blood in the Water' was composed with Bon Jovi watched footage of the migrant crisis.
Though the band have often dabbled in small p politics, this is their most openly outward-looking LP to date.
That's the record's big departure, sonically, it's classic latter-day Bon Jovi. Blending country with arena rock, big honking melodies, choruses designed to make 50,000 arms go up at the same time. Longtime fans will adore it.
Does it deliver?
As we said above, longtime fans will adore it. And for more casual observers, they are some big tunes to dive into next time you see the band filling Wembley Stadium. Whenever that is...