The long wait is over — with Bon Jovi's 15th album, 2020, finally dropping five months after its original release date. Earlier this year, once the pandemic shut everything down, Jon Bon Jovi spoke to Yahoo, and gave a state of the union on the band's then-soon to be released album and scrapped live dates: “It's like a bad dream. I was going to release our new album on May 15th, and rehearsals were to begin this week. I was just going to do 20 arenas as a warm-up to promote the album, and then do the big stuff after that. Not only are the 20 shows postponed, but I don't know when they'll happen. And depending on what you read, none of us knows what's going to happen in the future.”
In the subsequent months, 2020 was reshaped to reflect the changes in America and around the world.
Jon Bon Jovi chatted about the new collection to USA Today and was asked if he set out to write a socially conscious album: “No, no. Typically, I'll have one or two songs that are socially conscious, whether it was 'Keep The Faith,' 'Dry County,' or 'Runaway'. Social consciousness was something I was aware of but wasn't making a career of. With this record, I was doing the usual. And then as the writing process took root, (the album) took on a whole different kind of gravitas with the latter songs that were written: 'Lower The Flag,' 'Let It Rain,' 'American Reckoning,' and 'Do What You Can.'”
Bon Jovi was asked how soon after George Floyd's death he wrote the album's song, “American Reckoning”: “Before the funeral. I watched Stephen Jackson (a former NBA player and Floyd's longtime friend) talking on the Today show, and he said, 'In his last breaths, he was calling for his mom.' And I welled up with tears because I thought, 'How could this happen to anyone?' The idea that a grown man is calling for his mom just moved me, it hurt me.”
In the new song “Brothers In Arms,” Bon Jovi references former NFL player Colin Kaepernick when he sings: “'Don't rewrite or define what it means to see a man take a knee.' He went on to explain, “To be clear: I love this country. Both my parents were Marines. I was born when John Kennedy was president, and I was able to vote when Ronald Reagan was telling America, 'There should be two cars in the driveway; and rah-rah. But the NFL lost the narrative. Colin Kaepernick took a knee not against America, not against veterans – he took a knee against injustice and police brutality. So that's why I said it (in the song). Again, just stating the facts.”
The foundation of all of Jon Bon Jovi's charitable efforts — along with his songs — has been to find a way to bring unity to the public. He recently explained to CNN that with a society working together — the job gets done far more easily: “The polarization isn't going to solve a anyone's problem. Eventually, if we don't start working together and forget the politics of politics, we're going to create a society of haves and have-nots.”
Back in March, when Jon Bon Jovi was calling on fans to help him wrote “Do What You Can” he posted a message on social media about what the song needed to convey: “There are trying times we're going through; uncharted territory — the great unknown. But, one thing's for sure, we're gonna make it through. I did what I do best, which is to sit down with my guitar and try to put something to words — for you. Maybe to brighten up your day. Here's my idea — we write this one together. I'm gonna give you the chorus, I'm gonna give you the first verse. I'm gonna play the second verse, but you, tell me your story. Tell me what you’re goin' through. Tell me how you’re feelin'. Tell me if you’re hurtin'. Talk about that high school graduation that’s gonna be canceled. Talk about the paycheck you’re losin'. So sing your song, you and me, together. And remember when you can't do what you do, you do what you can.”