If you say you haven’t heard of Bon Jovi, I will never believe you. The legendary rock band released Slippery When Wet in the August of 1986 and to this day the album hasn’t aged. Fans both new and old still enjoy listening to hits like Livin' On A Prayer and You Give Love A Bad Name with the same enthusiasm as they did growing up. In the 34 years since their debut album, Bon Jovi has kept up a consistent popularity, still selling out stadiums on their most recent tour; This House Is Not For Sale.
This year has seen the release of a new album, Bon Jovi 2020, and with it a YouTube documentary featuring both live performances and backgrounds of each track. The video chronicles the band as they gathered in Nashville to perform the album live for the first time together in a personal way that makes it feel extremely special to the viewer. On A Night Like This premiered on Facebook and YouTube on Friday 27th November, providing something for a lot of people, in the UK and across the world, to look forward to in what has otherwise been a difficult time.
Incorporating a mixture of black and white and colour footage, the video is incredibly well put together. It showcases each band member equally which really helps to portray the strong friendship that is clearly evident between them all, and added to the personal feel it gave anyone watching. One viewer stated that “it felt like it was a performance specifically done for the person watching,” and I can definitely see where they’re coming from. A blend of black and white and colour video is always an interesting choice, but in this case, it gives a subtle sense of definition between the live shots and more documentary-style footage.
Having had the pleasure of seeing Bon Jovi live back in 2019, I can safely say that the fact that this was effectively a virtual concert didn’t hinder the enjoyment of it at all. Yes, there was less damage to the vocal cords of people watching and yes the size of the production was considerably reduced, but the inclusive feel was still there. The love of music the band has and their passion for what they do really shone through in a way that I haven’t seen yet in an online concert. Feelings of excitement that I, and many other people, had while watching On A Night Like This didn’t waver for the entirety of the documentary. There is always something new happening, whether it's a shot change or Jon Bon Jovi cracking the harmonica out, the band demands your attention without even being in the room.
According to Jon Bon Jovi, “this is a year unlike any other, and these songs represent that.” While 2020 is a topical record tackling a lot of important, current issues, the songs are still true to the sound Bon Jovi is known for, with an additional family-centred feeling to them. The tracks address a number of serious topics, such as COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and PTSD in military personnel in an effective way, the band putting the issues forward and using their platform to raise them further in the music community and inspire others to make what changes they can in order to make a difference.
The album itself is definitely one to listen to! While in terms of genre it feels like a more relaxed version of rock music, as I said earlier the classic Bon Jovi sound is there and I think this album will be just as popular as their previous material, both because of the instantly recognisable voice of Jon Bon Jovi and because of the messages it’s promoting. I would 100% recommend you listen to the album if you haven't already and watch the documentary, it’s definitely worth it.
Check out the album and documentary here!
Words by Chloe Pollard.