Thursday, July 23, 2020

Bon Jovi releases album version of Do What You Can

Artwork for Do What You Can by Bon Jovi

We've previously only heard Jon Bon Jovi's coronavirus anthem, "Do What You Can", in solo acoustic mode. In case you need a refresher, here's the version Jon performed at Jersey 4 Jersey in April:

But now the electric "band version" that's going on the Bon Jovi 2020 album has just dropped. And it sounds like this (ignore the typos in the lyric video):

It's a kind of rollicking country-tinged arrangement, and more lyrics have been added since April. At the moment I prefer the acoustic version, but that could change. "Do What You Can" is still my favourite of the songs we've heard from 2020 so far. The radio edit of "Do What You Can" is now available for streaming and download.

What do you think of the new version(s)?

Another thing... There are now inexplicably two versions of the album listed on iTunes for pre-order, with different track lists.

One is entitled Bon Jovi 2020, and this is the original album that was supposed to come out in May (the expected date listed for this one is now 31 December 2020). The track list is as follows:

  1. Beautiful Drug
  2. Unbroken
  3. Limitless
  4. Luv Can
  5. Brothers in Arms
  6. Story of Love
  7. Lower the Flag
  8. Let it Rain
  9. Shine
  10. Blood in the Water

The newer version is just called 2020, and this has the release date as 2 October 2020, which is in line with what we've been told. The track list for this version is:

  1. Limitless
  2. Do What You Can
  3. American Reckoning
  4. Beautiful Drug
  5. Story of Love
  6. Let it Rain
  7. Lower the Flag
  8. Blood in the Water
  9. Brothers in Arms
  10. Unbroken

So basically they've taken two tracks off ("Luv Can" and "Shine") and replaced them with "Do What You Can" and "American Reckoning" to keep it to a 10-track album? And if you pre-ordered the original version, you now have to pre-order again for the new version? I hope the latter is a bug that gets sorted out soon.

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Bon Jovi releases American Reckoning

Bon Jovi has dropped a very topical new song, "American Reckoning". And here's the lyric video:

The lyrics are not at all subtle, making specific reference to the death of George Floyd, which sparked a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests in the US and around the world.

The harmonica solo was unexpected and cool, although it helps draw inevitable comparisons with fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen. And once again, this sounds more like a Jon Bon Jovi solo track than a band song.

Cover art for American Reckoning by Bon Jovi
Speaking of Bruce, one of my favourite Springsteen songs is "American Skin (41 Shots)", which was also inspired by the death of a black man (Amadou Diallo in 1999) at the hands of police. I think "American Skin" is a better song than "American Reckoning" but I don't dislike "American Reckoning". Besides, if you're going to release an album called 2020, you might as well sing about stuff that's happening in 2020.

I know it often polarises fans when a musician "gets political", especially if they disagree with the views expressed or they see music as a way of escaping the harsh realities of the world. Jon's views have not been a secret though, and they've come through in his music before, albeit not as overtly as this.

Here's what Jon had to say about the song on Bon Jovi's website:

“I was moved to write American Reckoning as a witness to history,” said Jon Bon Jovi, “I believe the greatest gift of an artist is the ability to use their voice to speak to issues that move us.”

Now, Jon could be completely apolitical if he wanted to be -- he'd probably make a lot of people happier if he stayed away from these issues. And he's in a privileged position where politics aren't likely to have a significant impact on him personally. But for some people, what we call "politics" could literally be a matter of life and death. Or as Jon puts it:

"I'll never know what it's like to walk a mile in his shoes
And I'll never have to have the talk so it don't happen to you"

"American Reckoning" will be added to the upcoming Bon Jovi 2020 album, which is now slated for release in October (although my iTunes pre-order says 'Expected 31 December 2020'. What?).

"American Reckoning" is available for download now. Net proceeds will be donated to Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal representation to people who have been wrongly convicted, unfairly sentenced or abused in prison.

What are your thoughts on the song?

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Phil X & The Drills are Right on the Money

Earlier in June, Phil X & The Drills released a new single, "Right on the Money" through Golden Robot Records.

The official video for "Right on the Money" is a sign of the times... It edits together the musicians' separate performance videos (since they couldn't film together due to COVID-19) as well as videos submitted by fans:

You might even recognise some of these fans from the Bon Jovi tour. 😉

"Right on the Money" is available now from iTunes.

What do you think of the track and video?

While in isolation, Phil, Daniel Spree (The Drills bassist) and Randy Cooke also got together (separately) for this "live" version of "Fire" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience:

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

David Bryan performs If at Hip New Jersey Stays Home

David Bryan lent his voice and keys to Hip New Jersey Stays Home on May 31. The benefit show raised money for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

David performed "If" from Diana: A True Musical Story:

The song is written from Princess Diana's point of view but it's kind of cool to see it sung by a man. Well, I think it's cool. And I always like hearing David sing.

Diana, David's latest musical collaboration with playwright Joe DiPietro, was set to open on Broadway on April 1, but had to be suspended during previews in March due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Bon Jovi performs Limitless on The Voice

With everything that's happened in the world since then, it's easy to forget that Bon Jovi released "Limitless" -- the lead single from Bon Jovi 2020 -- three months ago. The album was meant to come out in May but has now been delayed until October.

But the 2020 album is still coming out in 2020 so Bon Jovi got together, recording from separate locations, to promote "Limitless" during The Voice (US) finale. Check out their performance:

It's not on a stage, and won't be for quite some time... but it's great to see some fun being had (e.g Jon's "I need a haircut" sign at 2:34).

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

JBJ performs Saturday Night for Covenant House benefit

There have been quite a few virtual concerts during this pandemic, and Jon Bon Jovi lent his pipes to another one on May 18, playing an acoustic version of "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" for A Night of Covenant House Stars. The show raised funds to assist young people facing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.

Jon is a long-time supporter of Covenant House. Check out his performance of "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night":

I'm enjoying the acoustic stuff at the moment and it's been cool to see Jon and/or the band contributing different songs to these events. Hopefully we'll be able to safely enjoy live gigs again at some point.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Bon Jovi performs It's My Life acoustic for Rise Up New York

Bon Jovi regrouped at a social distance for the Rise Up New York! telethon on May 11 to raise money for Robin Hood's COVID-19 relief fund. With Jon Bon Jovi, Tico Torres, David Bryan, Hugh McDonald, Phil X, John Shanks and Everett Bradley each recording from a different location, they put together an acoustic performance of "It's My Life":

I'd be lying if I said I was a fan of This Left Feels Right, where this version originates from, but "It's My Life" was one of the tracks I thought was decent on that album. And I think the acoustic rendition suited the occasion. I love a good fist-pumping anthem, but sometimes it feels more appropriate to do something introspective and sombre.

If you want to jog your memory (or perhaps never listened to it in the first place) here's "It's My Life" as it appears on This Left Feels Right:

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