Jon Bon Jovi’s “American Reckoning” Delivers a Powerful Message to Fans

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Bon Jovi’s new release reflects on the state of the nation.

Kate Shanahan, Sports/Op Ed Editor

On Oct. 5, the legendary rock band Bon Jovi released a new album. The New Jersey native band has not released new music since 2018, making their latest release exciting for fans. After debuting almost 40 years ago, the band’s fan base has grown internationally and they are worshipped by all rock lovers. The band is responsible for timeless classics such as “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name,” and “It’s My Life.”

In the new era of Bon Jovi, the lead singer, Jon Bon Jovi, ventures out of his comfort zone and addresses issues going on in the world today. Music is a dynamic tool and the world is lucky to have a wholesome band using their platform to make others aware of injustices in the world today.

By far the most powerful song on the album is “American Reckoning.” The song opens with raw lyrics about the year 2020: “America’s on fire, there’s protests in the streets.” This is obviously quoting the riots and protests held earlier in the year which launched the Black Lives Matter movement after the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and more. Jovi sings, “as history repeats,” later in the song demonstrating a powerful understanding of the world we live in.

Jovi directly cites the events that took place this year by singing “those eight long minutes, laying face down in cuffs on the ground,” and continues with “bystanders pleaded for mercy.” This direct citation of the death of George Floyd hits home for many of his fans, but also shows that he sympathizes with them and acknowledges their pain and suffering. Hearing these words from a long time celebrated rockstar is special considering many singers try to leave politics out of their music.

In the second verse, Jovi went on to recognize the fact that the white population of America won’t ever have to “have the talk, so it don’t happen to you”, meaning that parents of white children will never need to teach them how to protect themselves against the police, or behave in such a way that isn’t suspicious. Jovi’s most powerful lyrics may have been “three little words written cross the chest of a twelve year old who hasn’t lived life yet: Am I next?” He used these words to illustrate the protests and marches involving young children who shouldn’t have to worry about staying alive.

Finally, Jovi finishes out this powerful piece with the lyrics “Is our American reckoning our story written in blood? Or in love? Or in peace?” Hopefully, this song by the legendary Bon Jovi is a wake up call for those who have not seen the injustices in the American system yet. Luckily, we live in a world where powerful icons, including rockstars, are confident enough to use their voice and their following to deliver such a powerful message.