Inspiration often comes from experiencing a certain feeling after witnessing something profound, such as a love story, losing loved ones, and sometimes, a political incident. Poetry and music, two forms of art that have been around for centuries, became a method of not only conveying experiences but also protesting. Bon Jovi is also one of the names who chose to make a mark in history with his music, in the way he knew best, by writing down the things he saw and using music as a protest tool.
In recent times, as one can observe in his ‘2020’ album, it is possible to talk about a change in the tone of his songs. He has been exploring political topics like the gun violence epidemic in the United States or the killing of George Floyd with his lyrics in a more visible way. This is how he chose to react to certain happenings that he experienced and, like many, could not cope with the feelings they evoked. As for one of his recent songs, it was not a testimony but rather a prophecy.
The Bon Jovi’s Song That Foresees The Future
Bon Jovi’s album ‘2020’ has songs that intersect with his personal life journey, as some focus on his parenthood experience and his relationship with his family. However, at the same time, as a musician that comes from a certain social and cultural context, he also has songs that are woven with social consciousness and focus on issues such as political violence, social justice, migration, and pandemic.
The song ‘Blood In The Water,’ which he wrote in the summer of 2018, is also in this second group, and the theme of migration is prominent throughout the song. However, as he revealed in an interview with Forbes in the fall of 2020, this song was also a kind of prophecy.
“I’ll give you a great example of a prophecy is ‘Blood In The Water.’” said Bon Jovi about his then-upcoming song. “It was the first one in the summer of ’18, and I could walk you through it. ‘A storm is coming,’ Stormy Daniels. ‘Let me be clear/the walls around you are closing in’ could’ve been last night’s debate.”
He continued by pointing out the relevancy of his lyrics because history repeats itself and said, “So whether it was Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen and General Flynn to the impeachment hearing to the Russian hack at the end of it, which was in ’16, that’s relevant now, this same storyline, to me, is a revolving door of characters.”
“I did think for a period of time, ‘Oh my god, this is gonna be dated. No one is gonna know who I am referencing,’” Bon Jovi admitted, as his song explored a then-recent incident that he thought wouldn’t be relevant years later. “But it doesn’t matter because it was as relevant this morning after last night’s debates. So that song, to me, specifically, is a prophecy; it’s timeless.”
In an interview with USA Today in the same month, he revealed his prophecies more clearly. “‘Blood in the Water,’ and that was over two years ago,” he said. “That’s the one song about the current administration, and two years down the road, the story still holds up today. I can tell you the references: ‘Your shadow sold your secrets.’ Michael Cohen. ‘They say the noose fits like your necktie.’ Russian ties. ‘A storm is coming.’ Stormy Daniels or impeachment or the election.”
Having been a songwriter for decades, it seems clear that Bon Jovi derives inspiration from his personal experiences. Although those involving love, heartbreak, or loss may always stay relevant, the rocker feared that the songs exploring specific political themes would become irrelevant. However, he ultimately realized that his approach to these recurring incidents would stay the same, and thus, his observations would be timeless.
You can listen to ‘Blood In Water’ on Youtube below and check out the lyrics with this perspective.