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BON JOVI Do What You Can gets 7/10


Bon Jovi

Do What You Can
Island/Universal

7/10

Here’s some fast facts about the band Bon Jovi: they’ve sold over 130 million albums worldwide; their ticket sales exceed $1 billion in the last decade alone; they were inducted into the US Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2018 and their frontman Jon Bon Jovi was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2009. Put simply, the band would be afforded the opportunity to rest in retirement but that they aren’t is a testament to the their strength of belief in what they’re doing. 

A pillar of American rock, the unprecedented events that have plighted their home country appear to have shaken Jon from his ageing slumber. Their upcoming 15th album, 2020, is set for release on October 2 and in anticipation of that full record, the band have given us a third major single in Do What You Can. It follows American Reckoning, a protest song about George Floyd’s death, while this track focuses on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It’s a song of its time, for its time. Well-known for his extensive philanthropy, Jon had spent the initial weeks of the pandemic helping feed those in need at his own JBJ Soul Kitchen Community Restaurant in New Jersey, when the idea for Do What You Can arrived. Instead of releasing the completed song though, he asked fans to tell their story by writing their own verse. Jon then sang the first verse and chorus and went on to receive thousands of fan-created verses, using the hashtag #DoWhatYouCan. 

In the song he cries, “’Round here we bend but don’t break/ Down here we all understand/ When you can’t do what you do/ You do what you can”. This is an anthem of hope and in this way could act as a companion piece to the band’s most famous song, Livin’ On A Prayer: their 1986 arena hit focused on working-class couple Tommy and Gina, struggling to make ends meet but managing to retain love and hope to get them through the hard times; 34 years later, Jon has surveyed his country and sees that everyone is Tommy and Gina now, trying to survive a pandemic and a fascist government.

Will Do What You Can be belted out similarly as a hard rock paean to hope in a few decades to come? Only time will tell but Bon Jovi deserves commendation for focusing their music on the precarious current moment. 

CONOR LOCHRIE

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