Analyzing and responding to song lyrics!

I’ve decided to do a biweekly thing, where I take popular, supposedly meaningful songs, and carefully analyze them and add my cynical comments.

Today’s  song is, “Living on a prayer” by the amazingly talented, Bon Jovi (or Jon Bovi, as I said as a child.) My comments will be in parenthesis, under each verse and chorus. 

“Livin’ On A Prayer”

Music and lyrics by Bon Jovi

Tommy used to work on the docks
Union’s been on strike
He’s down on his luck…
It’s tough, so tough
(Life is tough, Tommy. Nobody said it was easy, but McDonald’s is always hiring!)
Gina works the diner all day
Working for her man,
She brings home her pay
For love, for love
(Wait a minute, so Tommy sits at home on his ass, while you bust your ass at a diner, making two bucks an hour, and if you’re lucky you’ll bring home some tips? Gina, Tommy is a lazy shit. But you LOVE him, so you’ll do it.)
She says, “We’ve gotta hold on to what we’ve got.
It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not.
We’ve got each other and that’s a lot.
For love we’ll give it a shot.”

(Gina, you can’t buy a loaf of bread on your wages. Its the 80s and Reagan is in office. You haven’t a thing. You have each other, but that don’t mean Jack if you’re starving!)

Whoa, we’re half way there
Whoa, livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand and we’ll make it – I swear
Whoa, livin’ on a prayer

(You aren’t halfway anywhere. You aren’t even a quarter of the way there. God is ignoring your prayers, because Tommy isn’t trying. Prayer isn’t going to feed you.)

Tommy’s got his six string in hock
Now he’s holding in
What he used to make it talk
So tough, it’s tough

(Yes Tommy, the toughest part of life is you can’t bitch about life to musical accompaniment. But hey, you got at least enough money from the pawn to keep you from dumpster diving for a week, right?)

Gina dreams of running away
When she cries in the night
Tommy whispers,
“Baby, it’s okay, someday…”

(Well, I’d run away too if my boyfriend sat on his ass at home all day while I busted my ass  at a greasy dive for two bucks an hour where truckers slap my ass every time I refill their coffee, and they make sexual innuendos about tips.)

…We’ve gotta hold on to what we’ve got.
It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not.
We’ve got each other and that’s a lot.
For love we’ll give it a shot.”

(This relationship ends in 1997. I guarantee it.)


Livin’ on a prayer

We’ve gotta hold on ready or not
You live for the fight when it’s all that you’ve got

(By fight you mean how Tommy and Gina lay into each other every night, right? Gina comes home, asks if he found a job, he drunkenly says the unions on strike, nobody is hiring, and asks how much she got paid. When she shows $10 for tips, he tells her to get her big butt out of his face, and she calls him lazy, and she runs off and cries. )

The more I think about this song, the more I realize that this relationship is doomed. Only young, naive people, primarily women think that love is all that matters in a relationship. Food? Fuck it. We have prayer and each other. Its all good!

As I said in an earlier blog, by 1997 this couple had split. Gina went home to her mom, and Tommy drinks himself silly, and takes home bar wenches each night.

Then again, 1997 was the Clinton era. Maybe economic surplus worked in their favor.


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