"I've been everywhereBon Jovi is an American hard rock band from Sayreville, New Jersey. Fronted by lead singer and namesake Jon Bon Jovi, the group originally achieved large-scale success in the 1980s. Over the past 25 years, Bon Jovi has sold over 120 million albums worldwide, including 36 million in the United States alone.Bon Jovi formed in 1983 with John Francis Bongiovi Jr. aka Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan, Alec John Such, and Tico Torres. Richie Sambora joined shortly afterwards. Other than the departure of Such in 1994 (which pared the official lineup down to a quartet - his replacement, Hugh McDonald, did not become an official member until 2016), and Sambora in 2013 (replaced by touring member Phil X, who was an unofficial member until 2016 when, like Hugh, he was made an official member), the lineup has remained more or less stable. After two moderately successful albums in 1984 and 1985, the band scored big with Slippery When Wet from 1986 and New Jersey from 1988, which sold a combined 19 million copies in the U.S. alone, charted eight Top Ten hits (including four number one hits), and launched the band into global super stardom.After non-stop touring, the band went on hiatus after the New Jersey Tour in 1990, during which time Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora both released successful solo albums. In 1992, the band returned with the double platinum Keep the Faith and has since created a string of platinum albums throughout the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.The band is closely associated with the 1980s Hair Metal era, but were one of the few bands from that genre to retain their popularity after the Grunge explosion of the early 1990s. This had to do with their move towards softer pop ballad, which made them staples on adult contemporary radio. This ultimately resulted in them permanently changing their sound to a much less metal-oriented style.
Still I'm standing tall
I've seen a million faces
And I've rocked them all!"
Still I'm standing tall
I've seen a million faces
And I've rocked them all!"
— "Wanted Dead or Alive"
Principal Members (Founding members in bold, current members in italic):
- David Bryan - keyboard, piano, vocals (1983–present)
- Jon Bon Jovi - lead vocals, guitar, harmonica (1983–present)
- Hugh McDonald - bass, vocals (2016-present; 1994-2016 unofficial)
- Richie Sambora - guitar, vocals, talkbox (1983–2013)
- Alec John Such - bass, vocals (1983–1994)
- Tico Torres - drums, percussion, vocals (1983–present)
- Phil X - guitar, vocals, talkbox (2016-Present; 2011-2013 touring; 2013-2016 unofficial)
- Bobby Bandiera note - rhythm guitar, vocals (2005-2015)
- Everett Bradley note - percussion, vocals (2016-present)
- Matt O'Ree note - rhythm guitar, vocals (2015)
- Lorenza Ponce note - viola, vocals (2007-2009)
- Dave Sabo - guitar (1983)
- John Shanks - Record Producer (2005-present), guitar (on Burning Bridges and most tracks on This House Is Not For Sale), rhythm guitar, vocals note (2016-present)
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- 1984 - Bon Jovi
- 1985 - 7800° Fahrenheit
- 1986 - Slippery When Wet
- 1988 - New Jersey
- 1992 - Keep The Faith
- 1995 - These Days
- 2000 - Crush
- 2002 - Bounce
- 2005 - Have A Nice Day
- 2007 - Lost Highway
- 2009 - The Circle
- 2013 - What About Now
- 2016 - This House Is Not For Sale
- 2001 - One Wild Night Live 1985–2001 note
- 2008 - Lost Highway: The Concert
- 2012 - Inside Out note
- 2016 - This House Is Not For Sale - Live from the London Palladium
- 1991 - Hard & Hot note
- 1994 - Cross Road
- 2001 - Tokyo Road: The Best of Bon Jovi note
- 2003 - This Left Feels Right
- 2004 - 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrongnote
- 2010 - Greatest Hits
- 2015 - Burning Bridges note
Jon Bon Jovi
- 1990 - Blaze of Glory
- 1997 - Destination Anywhere
- 2001 - The Power Station Years: The Unreleased Recordings note
- 1991 - Stranger In This Town
- 1998 - Undiscovered Soul
- 2012 - Aftermath of the Lowdown
- 2017 - Rise EP (with Orianthi)
- 2018 - TBA
- 1995 - On A Full Moon
- 2000 - Lunar Eclipse
"You give tropes a bad name":
- Anti-Love Song: "You Give Love A Bad Name".Shot through the heartAnd you're to blameDarlin'
- Absolute Cleavage: 90% of his performances he is wearing an unbuttoned shirt that exposes his whole chest allowing the crowd to feast their eyes on his sweaty, hairy chest and nip slips. He might as well just perform shirtless which in fact, he does on occasion.
- Aerosol Flamethrower: Used in the music video of "Always."
- Audience Participation Song: Let's just say the band is fond of invoking this trope, most especially in "Livin' On A Prayer" and "You Give Love A Bad Name." Justified in the former that Jon himself has rarely sung the chorus after the Slippery When Wet tour, probably due to a variety of reasons. "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Who Says You Can't Go Home" take this up by a notch, with the entire audience singing the first verse and an audience member singing it with Jon respectively.
- Auto Erotica: Referenced in "Never Say Goodbye" and "Wild in the Streets," both from Slippery When Wet.We were cruising to the back-beatOh yeah, Making love in the back-seatsWild In the Streets
- Big Heroic Run: The "It's My Life" video.
- Boxed Set: 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong, containing 4 CDs and a DVD.
- "It's My Life" explicitly refers to Tommy and Gina from "Livin' on a Prayer".
- So does "99 in the Shade".
- Career-Ending Injury: Subverted when David Bryan regained control of one of his fingers when he nearly severed it in a sawing accident during the late 90's.
- Careful with That Axe:
- Daddy's Girl: Mentioned in the chorus of "Runaway"
- Dark Is Not Evil: "Good Guys Don't Always Wear White".
- Darker and Edgier: These Days is darker than their usual vibe.
- Determinator: Jon has been injured twice onstage and the shows still went on. In the case of the latter, he and the band even performed 7 more shows (one of them being a three-hour set) before finally undergoing knee surgery in Dublin.
- Tommy and Gina.
- David Bryan would brave through both an attack by a South American parasite while on tour in the early 1990's, then an accident involving a circular saw at home which would nearly sever a finger. After medical help and rehabilitation in both cases, Bryan would regain his playing abilities.
- "Days of the Week" Song : "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night."
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: This was mostly a fan reaction to Hugh McDonald (who replaced Alec as bassist) not being made an official member, not appearing in most videos, not appearing in publicity photos etc. between 1994 and 2016 despite having been in the band longer than Alec was, and having been an associate of the group since the very beginning (he played the bass on their debut single "Runaway"). McDonald himself didn't seem to have an issue with it and the band themselves have said it wasn't a knock against Hugh but just that they agreed to never officially replace Alec when he left. Finally averted when both Hugh and new guitarist Phil X became official band members in 2016 prior to the release of the upcoming album This House Is Not For Sale where Hugh and Phil appear in the title song's video and in publicity shots for the album.
- The same reaction arose when Hugh was not inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Bon Jovi for the same reason. A few days later the HOF changed its mind and included Hugh as one of the inductees.
- Dying Town: Dry County.
- Egocentric Team Naming: named after lead singer John Francis Bongiovi Jr. last name pronounced exactly like the band's name
- End of an Age: Jon describes Burning Bridges as this.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: Both "Let It Rock" and "Lay Your Hands On Me" take a minute or longer before the lyrics kick in.
- Epic Rocking: "Dry County" is nearly 10 minutes long. Even its radio edit spans over 6 minutes.
- If we're talking about songs that barely went past the 6-minute mark, we have Blood on Blood (6:14), Bed of Roses (6:34), Hey God (6:10), These Days (6:33), and Next 100 Years (6:19). Fingerprints is the only post-Crush track to approach this trope at 5:59.
- A lot of their pre-2000 material when played live will easily qualify as this trope, especially the ballads.
- Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Jon.
- Foil: "Who Says You Can't Go Home" to "Born to Run".
- Fanservice: Jon mostly wears navel-deep clothes exposing his hairy chest and occasional nipple slips, not to mention lots of booty shaking on certain songs. It also forms a huge part of the band's appeal.
- Genre Shift:
- "Who Says You Can't Go Home" is a lot softer than their normal vibe, which is why it placed higher on Adult Contemporary Charts than the Hot 100. And then they released a duet with Jennifer Nettles, and that version hit #1 on the country charts.
- Lost Highway received criticism (despite selling well) from fans for being largely a country album. The album featured a lot of stripped down songs, string arrangements, and duets with country artists such as LeAnn Rimes and Big & Rich.
- Greatest Hits Album: Two of them, Cross Road and Greatest Hits, released in 1994 and 2010, respectively.
- Hair Metal: Until the Important Haircut.
- Heavy Meta: "Blame It on the Love of Rock & Roll".
- High-School Sweethearts: Jon and his wife Dorothea. They got married in 1989 and are still together.
- Hymn to Music: "Scars on This Guitar" is about songwriting.
- I Don't Know Mortal Kombat: Jon can't succeed in singing his own song.
- The Immodest Orgasm: You can hear lots of moaning during the first few seconds or so of "Social Disease."
- Important Haircut: Jon cut his long hair short when Keep the Faith was released.
- In-Series Nickname: Captain Kidd (Jon), The King of Swing (Richie), Lemma (David), and Hitman (Tico).
- Intercourse with You: "Let's Make It Baby," an out-take from New Jersey.
- The Invisible Band: The video of "Labor Of Love" is their only one without any member showing up on it.
- "I Want" Song: "I Want You" from Keep The Faith.
- Large Ham: Phil X and Everett Bradley.
- Last of His Kind: "Last Man Standing" ("His kind" in this case referring to "real" musicians as opposed to pop/hip-hop/etc. performers.)
- Listing Cities: "Raise Your Hands".
- Raise your hands
From New York to Chicago
Raise your hands
From New Jersey to Tokyo
Whoa, whoa, raise your hands
- And then there's the ending:(Raise your hands) New York!
(Raise your hands) Detroit!
(Raise your hands) Vancouver!
(Raise your hands) Hey London!
(Raise your hands) Sayreville, New Jersey...note
(Raise your hands) Phoenix!...
- Long-Runner Line-up: Type 1 + Type 2. The band has had two change since their first album in 1984: bassist Alec John Such left in 1994, and they became a quartet (officially without a bassist although Hugh McDonald played on every album since These Days and appears with them live, he finally became an official member in 2016) until Richie Sambora left in 2013 (replaced by touring guitarist Phil X who again became an official member in 2016). (only changes being for live concerts when drummer Tico Torres couldn't attend) And while Jon Bon Jovi recorded a demo with McDonald and other guys before forming the band, the closest one got to being The Pete Best in Bon Jovi is Jon's neighbour Dave Sabo, who was his original choice to play guitar but went on to form Skid Row instead.
- Love Is a Drug: "Bad Medicine".
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Shot through the heart! And you're to blame! Darlin' you give love a bad name!"
- "In and Out of Love" begins with this, repeating the title four times before the drums kick in. "God Bless This Mess" is a downplayed example.
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night": all the characters mentioned within are either desperate, suicidal, abused, or all three, but eventually they will be like a Saturday Night. This could either mean they they will be jubilant and free of oppression (indicated by the bouncy and joyous tune and vocals), or it could mean that they'll be like Saturday Night in terms of it being at the end of the week, all the bad stuff having happened and no more is going to come. These people are essentially looking forward to the sweet release of death!
- "Always" is a love song with the singer declaring his ever lasting dedication to his one true love. The release video, along with the correct interpretation of the lyrics, makes it perfectly clear that he has been abandoned and is pining for someone he can never have again.
- "One Wild Night" seems like a description of a great night out partying. Listen carefully, and it turns out that the singer is actually some kind of lecherous predator slipping into a crowd with the express intent of fleecing rubes for their money ("Take 'im for a coupla weeks pay") suggesting sexual favours from their victims' girlfriend in lieu of an unaffordable monetary debt ("If ya lose this roll/ I'll take ya girlfriend home/ Well, alright!"). One could even go so far as to make a link between the lines "Blinded by the moonlight/ Twenty-four hours of midnight/ I stepped into the Twilight Zone" and being rendered blind and mindless by a drug or alcohol induced fugue...
- Marked Bullet: "Love Lies" from their first album.Scratched a picture of a heart on a bullet and took his life away.
- Meaningful Name: The band's stage during their 2013 tour is called Sofia because it was the first city they toured using that stage.
- Memetic Mutation: An in-universe example. The smiley face in the music video for "Have a Nice Day".
- Mondegreen: Jon's pronunciation of "like Frankie said, I did it my way" in "It's My Life" has been misheard by some fans as "like Frank and Sid, I did it my way". This would have been a Double Meaning (since the Sex Pistols recorded a cover of Sinatra's "My Way" with Sid Vicious "singing"), except Jon has gone on record clarifying that it really is "like Frankie said".
- "It doesn't make a difference if we're naked or not."
- Miniscule Rocking: Ride Cowboy Ride clocks in at 1:24.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Being a band that underwent changes in style while retaining their core hard rock sound, the band's discography can vary wildly from as low as 1 to as high as 7. Sometimes these changes occur within albums.
- "If I Was Your Mother" is perhaps their heaviest song, scratching Level 7. The live "jungle versions" of "Keep the Faith" can shoot up to a 6, as well as "Hey God", "Undivided", and "I Could Make A Living Out of Lovin' You."
- The first three albums are pretty consistent at Level 5, though the two power ballads ("Silent Night" and "Never Say Goodbye") fall a bit lower on the scale. New Jersey is a rather mixed bag, while most tracks fall at level 5, it has two power ballads ("Living in Sin" and "I'll Be There For You"), and two tracks that fall even lower ("Ride Cowboy Ride" and "Love For Sale" are definitely at 1).
- From The '90s up to 2005, Bon Jovi falls mainly to 5 or 4, with a few exceptions (The first two aforementioned level 6 and 7 tracks are from Keep the Faith, Bounce, and These Days, respectively, and ballads like "Bed of Roses" and "Always" are much lower).
- Lost Highway, being a primarily country album, is on average at 3.
- Albums from The Circle onwards are on average at 3-4, though "The Devil's In The Temple" from This House Is Not For Sale scratches 6.
- Music at Sporting Events: "This Is Our House" was primarily designed for this; the National Rugby League in Australia used it as their theme song for a time, and the New Jersey Devils started playing it for goals in October 2013 (ironically, this triggered a campaign demanding that they put back Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll". And they were booing it too! In retrospect, New Jersey's hockey fans seem to be hostile to their state's own music.)
- My Horse Is a Motorbike: "Wanted Dead or Alive"
- New Sound Album:
- After having had a country hit before ("Who Says You Can't Go Home?") and having previously recorded songs tinged with a country and western vibe/themes, Lost Highway was the group's attempt to make a full-fledged country album, even collaborating with country artists Big & Rich and LeAnn Rimes on two songs.
- Another case that maybe justified as the line-up underwent a slight change and lead singer/writer Jon aged and mellowed a little - and they went after the changing tastes of ladies more their own age (Hair Metal always being, in the end, all about the ladies)... but, the stylistic shift experienced between the classic but ironically titled Keep The Faith, and newer, more pop-oriented, and mushier Crush (with "These Days" as a confused, halfway turning point, and "Crossroads" being a sort of "this is the Best Of the OLD Bon Jovi, now watch as we change it all") is still a heck of a jolt for male fans who enjoyed the heavier, more traditional rock flavour of their first 15 or so years. Those two start the Broken Base, with women (stereotypically) liking the new phase and rockers (of both genders) the old one.
- Ode to Youth: "Livin' On A Prayer"
- Older Than They Look: It's often joked that David Bryan has stopped aging in The '90s. Having retained the same look for over 20 years helps.
- Older Than They Think: Phil X first met Jon in 1991, joining them for Aldo Nova's tour which was promoting an album produced and partly written by JBJ. He's the other guitarist with the really long whammy bar.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: "Born Again Tomorrow" is a mixture of EDM and the band's own sound. Go back one album, and you'll get "Take Back The Night," which has a similar vibe.
- Past in the Rear-View Mirror: "Lost Highway".
- Performance Video: "You Give Love A Bad Name," "Blood on Blood," "Lay Your Hands on Me," "When We Were Beautiful," "No Apologies," "What About Now," and the second half of "Livin' On A Prayer."
- Power Ballad: Quite a few of them - "I'll Be There For You," "Bed of Roses," "(You Want To) Make a Memory," "This Ain't A Love Song," "Always," "Wanted Dead Or Alive," etc. Averted in Bon Jovi, Burning Bridges, and This House Is Not For Sale.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: This House Is Not For Sale is greatly influenced by the events that happened during the band's 2013-16 period, including Richie's departure, Jon's trouble with the label and the release of Burning Bridges, and the ensuing Creator Breakdown that happened.
- Rearrange the Song: You have This Left Feels Right, which is basically composed of acoustic rearrangements of their songs. Then you have David Bryan rearranging "In These Arms" on both of his solo albums, both instrumental and with vocals.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "You Give Love A Bad Name"
- Refrain from Assuming: "Shot Through the Heart" is completely different from "You Give Love A Bad Name." The former came from their self-titled album while the latter is from Slippery When Wet.
- The fact that they both begin with "shot through the heart" doesn't help.
- Religion Rant Song: "Hey God", one of the band's Darker and Edgier moments, falls squarely under this trope.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: On December 19, 2011, rumours spread on the Internet that Jon Bon Jovi had died. It got so widespread that news sites had to post articles confirming that he was not dead.
- Rhyming with Itself: "Wanted Dead Or Alive" does this:I walk these streets, a loaded six string on my backI play for keeps, 'cause I might not make it back
- Rock-Star Song: "Wanted Dead Or Alive."
- Rooftop Concert: At the rooftop of the O2 Arena in 2010.
- The "na na na" chorus at the beginning and end of "Born to Be My Baby".
- "One Wild Night" from Crush and "Judgement Day" from New Jersey Deluxe Edition.
- Self-Deprecation: You have Jon poking fun at his own voice problems in "God Bless This Mess."My voice is shot, I'm going grey
- Self-Parody: Done in "Burning Bridges," considering the band has always created anthems.Here's one last song you can sellLet's call it "Burning Bridges"It's a singalong as well
- Self-Titled Album: The first one.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Jon and Richie.
- Sequential Symptom Syndrome: Provides the page quote with lyrics from Bad Medicine.
- Shout-Out: From "It's My Life":"My heart is like an open highway / Like Frankie said, I did it my way."
- 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong. The title and the cover art is an obvious one to Elvis Presley's greatest hits album 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong.
- The house at the end of the video for This House Is Not For Sale and the album cover itself is one for Jerry Uelsmann's photomontage of a tree with a house on top of it◊.
- Silver Fox: Jon's hair started to grey around 2014, and since then hasn't dyed it back to blonde.◊
- Spoken Word in Music: Jon does a monologue after the guitar solo in "Keep The Faith."
- Strike Episode: "Livin' on a Prayer" starts with Tommy facing tough times after he loses his job at the docks when the union went on strike, and had to pawn his guitar for extra money, while his girlfriend Gina becomes the breadwinner and has to work overtime at the diner to make ends meet.
- Stylistic Suck: "Ride Cowboy Ride" is recorded in mono and is pretty much scattered with noise.
- Subdued Section: Quite a lot - You Give Love A Bad Name, Keep The Faith, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Bed of Roses, Lost Highway, and Because We Can.
- Take That!: "Last Man Standing" to music other than rock and roll.
- "The More Things Change" is a swipe against the record industry.
- The title track off Burning Bridges is another example, this time directed at their label. And on a similar note (against Executive Meddling), "Devil's in the Temple."
- Team Hand-Stack: Used in the album cover of Keep The Faith.
- Technician Vs Performer: Rhythm guitarist John Shanks (technician; justified in that he's the Record Producer after all) and lead guitarist Phil X (performer). While Shanks relies on gear that could rival The Edge in terms of size, Phil X lives by the philosophy of using as few pedals as possible. This is best exemplified in this video where Shanks introduces his rig for 50 minutes, as opposed to a combined 30 minutes from Phil and Hugh.
- That Syncing Feeling: Zigzagged. During the opener ("This House Is Not For Sale") of the April 2017 Mohegan Sun show, a downtuned alternate version of the song can be heard playing over the band, which was only noticed after said track went out of sync and went straight to the bridge, while the band was playing the second chorus. It can be clearly seen that whatever the band was hearing on their in-ear monitors is different from what is blaring over the PA system, though they noticed it sometime later when Jon and David looked at each other while Tico was trying to catch up with the track. Jon's brother Matt blamed the incident on the track used to sync with the lighting during the soundcheck (which was supposed to be closed) not being closed by the time the band was performing. Only a soundboard mix of the show (which, along with nearly every other THINFS gig, is being sold by the band) can prove/disprove that Jon lip-synced throughout the song, considering he was the only one who wasn't heard through the PA system. Which is likely the reason they ditched the backing track before the solo in "Livin' On a Prayer" the following show.
- The band experienced a similar situation at Osaka in 2006, where the "Livin' On a Prayer" click track containing backing vocals was triggered earlier than usual and threw them off in the key change.
- Title-Only Chorus: "Lay Your Hands on Me".
- Title Track: "Keep The Faith," "These Days," "Bounce," "Have A Nice Day," "Lost Highway," "What About Now," and "This House Is Not For Sale."
- Train Song: "Homebound Train" from New Jersey.
- Tranquil Fury: If any member screws up onstage, Jon gives them the stink eye.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Livin' On A Prayer" and the demo of "Always".
- Unplugged Version: Their performance of "Livin' on a Prayer/Wanted Dead or Alive" at the 1989 Video Music Awards and possibly the Trope Codifier.
- This Left Feels Right is a whole album of this.
- Updated Re-release: New Jersey had one in 2014; two of its editions contained additional material in the form of demos (up until then were only available in low quality over YouTube) and a DVD. This House Is Not For Sale will get one 16 months after release, with two new songs.
- Vocal Evolution: Jon started out in the 80s with a smooth but aggressive voice and had a tendency for using his then-powerful falsetto when he can. That falsetto voice started petering out by the time Slippery When Wet came out, then his entire singing voice gave out in late 1986 or early 1987, causing him to take steroids just so he can sing. His voice had gotten a bit rougher in New Jersey, and virtually their entire catalogue had to be down-tuned half a step live. He maintained most of the grit in Keep the Faith and got smoother by the mid-90s when he picked up smoking. He started losing his range in the 2000s, causing his voice to be shot for some part on the Bounce tour and re-arranging ballads to suit his voice on the following one. As early as 2006, he started showing signs of switching his style to a more nasal one, which became more prominent as he regained part of his range in Lost Highway onwards, well at least until the middle of the 2013 Because We Can tour when his voice rapidly declined to the point that he's struggling to sing "You Give Love A Bad Name" and desperately clinging himself to the mic stand, a state which he hasn't recovered from since.
- Vocal Range Exceeded: Try watching any show they've performed in 1987.
- Probably the reason why Jon lets the other members and the crowd sing the high parts of the chorus of "Livin' On A Prayer".
- One can only wonder how his voice deteriorated in a span of 9 months during the Because We Can tour in 2013. Still on the same level two years later.
- It's quite evident that Jon was avoiding high notes left and right then went for a lower register at the end in the demo of "Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?" that was released on New Jersey Deluxe Edition. There's another demo of that song where he is hitting those notes.
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: All About Lovin' You.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Present in the first verse of "Who Says You Can't Go Home"Like a blind dog without a bone
I was a gypsy lost in the Twilight Zone
I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold
With an iron clad fist, I wake up
- "Bed of Roses" is much worse:
and french kiss the morning.
While some marching band keeps its own beat in my head
while we're talking.
I know this time you're really leaving
- Or this doozy from "I'll be There For You"
I heard your suitcase say goodbye.
- Your Cheating Heart: The music video for "Always", which has a pair of lovers cheat on each other over the course of the video before the woman leaves in tears.