Review: Bon Jovi sends message of hope in final four-part TIDAL exclusive video series feat. 'Living With The Ghost' and 'Reu
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Bon Jovi proves the human spirit has the capacity for unbridled resilience in their stunning four-part visual series which concludes the track-by-track This House Is Not For Sale exclusive TIDAL video series. The final four videos, which TIDAL premiered on Jan. 19, include “Living With The Ghost,” “Reunion,” “Spiritual Warfare” and a companion documentary that tie in messages of optimism, re-building and community in “America’s most dangerous city,” Camden, New Jersey.

Directed by Casey Stein, the compelling series uses Camden as a focal point and sends a strong, universal message of hope. The riveting nine-minute documentary features local people who have made a positive difference in the oppressed community. Police Chief Scott Thompson explains how their 2014 commitment to effect change found the force shifting from being “crime fighters” to community builders. Thus, crime stats drop and hope for a better future abounds. TIDAL members and Non-members can all view this documentary.

“Living With The Ghost” begins with alarming statistics, such as:

  • “With a 1 in 39 chance of becoming a victim to a violent crime, Camden has been given the label of ‘America’s most dangerous city’.”
  • “Per capita income for the city was $12,807, rendering over 40% of residents as living below the national poverty line.”

A young boy walks through the impoverished neighborhood, listening to music in his headphones. He’s oblivious to the crumbling buildings and bleak surroundings along his path. He finally reaches home and smiles as he falls into his mother’s open arms. The stark neighborhood images give reason for us to pause and consider the obstacles this boy faces growing up in this environment. Yet, he still finds reason to smile at the sight of his mother. Her love alone gives him hope.

Images of Jon Bon Jovi singing alone on those same shabby streets are intercut with the boy’s journey. JBJ is visibly somber and reflective. He represents a man pitted against unfortunate circumstance and he intends to rise above. The video is shot in black and white, which heightens the sense of gloom on the dreary rainy day. Bon Jovi’s lyrical message blasts through like a beacon in the storm. The young boy’s smiling face amplifies it.

Ultimately, the song celebrates hope and triumph over despair:

“I set my sails over wheat fields/Rode waves of amber, let a new sun shine on my face/I dropped the sword, put down my shield/I left your scars for the stars/Guiding my way/I traded hurting for healing/I must admit that I was reeling/Now I’m feeling just fine/Traded nightmares for dreaming/Go tell your shadows that I got out alive.”

“Reunion,” by contrast, is a celebration. It is shot in vivid color with vibrant, bustling streets and happy people working together. Camden Mayor Dana Redd makes a cameo, along with people working with various organizations and volunteers who are united in a mission to make a difference. New statistics reflect their positive results. Here are just a few of the incredible changes:

  • In 2013 through 2016, the murder rate was cut nearly in half.”
  • “In 2016, Governor Chris Christie consolidated the police force to focus on communal policing.”
  • “The Camden Children’s Community Garden has created 120 community-run gardens in empty lots throughout the city, totaling 27 acres in Camden.”
  • “St. Joseph’s Carpenters Society redevelops abandoned properties into homes for Camden families. Last year, they celebrated their 800th home.”
  • “In 2016, St. Joseph’s House served 1962 meals to those in need.”

How uplifting is that? JBJ bears his signature beaming smile as he and his boys perform the feel-good song in a school gym. He calls us to positive action as he sings, “Write your song, sing along, love your life/Learn to laugh, dare to dance, touch the sky/Take pictures each step of the way/Make this the best of the rest of your days/Start your own revolution and I'll see you at the reunion.”

He’s telling us all to live life to the fullest, to dream our dreams and reach for the sky. To live, love and laugh. His optimism is infectious and we’re inspired to follow his charge.

“Spiritual Warfare” offers a continuous video stream of both songs.

Overall, this compelling four-part series puts a perfect cap on a brilliant visual representation of Bon Jovi’s entire 14th studio album, This House Is Not For Sale. The iconic band takes connecting with listeners one step farther by using Camden’s triumphant story to illustrate the universal message of hope at the core of these two tracks. The human spirit has the capacity to soar, despite the darkest of circumstances. Bon Jovi shows us here how hope lights the flame and love, perseverance and passion turn it into a glorious fire.

Watch the full “This House Is Not For Sale Camden, New Jersey" documentary and previews of “Living With The Ghost,” “Reunion,” and “Spiritual Warfare” below. Click here to find out about a free TIDAL trial membership.

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