“Living in Sin” was released as the fifth single from Bon Jovi’s 1988 album, New Jersey. The single was released on October 11, 1989, and peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
I was 14 years old and in the ninth grade when this song was released. Lyrically, I understood what the song was about on a surface level, but I’ve since gained a greater appreciation for what this song is saying as I’ve gotten older and gained more life experience. The vocal delivery of those lyrics also drew me into the song. It’s a song about cohabitation, and tries to make the point that love is stronger than anything. The musical arrangement of the song also drew me into it back when I was 14, and the way the music built up left an impression. Even 25 years later, I still believe that musical arrangement and the vocal delivery are what make this song as strong as it is.
The music video primarily focuses on a young couple who try to maintain a relationship while the girl’s parents disapprove, and ultimately ending with the girl running away with her boyfriend. While there are the occasional performance shots of the band, the director decided to place the vast majority of the emphasis on the narrative. I believe the director made the right choice, because downplaying the narrative would have weakened the video. I also think the director made the right choice in having the video be in black and white, because it complements the mood of the song. A music video in color wouldn’t have been nearly as powerful.