Bon Jovi – The Circle (2009)
When Bon Jovi released their previous album, Lost Highway, I was more than a little harsh on the band. I was not fond of band’s country direction in the least bit. I swore off Bon Jovi until they returned to playing rock music. Lucky for me,and their long time fans they have. It took a couple of years, but the band is back with a new rock album, The Circle. This album treads a fine line between pop and rock. Bon Jovi is no stranger to crafting tunes in this fashion, and they are quite good at it. Their pop metal days are long over, and if you are looking for another dose of tunes in the vein of their early material. You won’t find it here.
The opening cut, “We Weren’t Born To Follow” is more of a pop/rock tune, but it reminds me of the music that was on the 2005 CD, Have A Nice Day.
“When We Were Beautiful” has this jangly guitar tone that has an almost U2 feel to it. This song has a sing along chorus that will translate well in Bon Jovi’s live show. I must admit that this song is kind of a grower. I didn’t care for it at first, but a few repeat plays I have changed my mind.
The bass line on “Work for the Working Man” took me all the way back to Slippery When Wet. It literally sounds as if it was ripped off of the Bon Jovi classic “Livin’ On a Prayer”. With that being said, “Work for the Working Man” isn’t a bad tune, but it isn’t great either. The background vocals don’t really work for me. It just seems kind of silly.
“Superman Tonight” is another song that has some serious hit potential. The chorus is catchy and memorable. This is one of my favorites on The Circle.
The voice coder intro in the beginning of “Bullet” give the song a familiar Bon Jovi feel. Finally some heavier riffs show up in the song “Bullet”. Richie Sambora finally cuts loose a little on this tune, and I am thankful. This album needed a heavier tune, and this is it.
“Thorn in My Side” keeps the pace going well, and is one of the more rockin’ songs on this disc.
“Live Before You Die” is a story teller type of song. Bon Jovi has done a few of these songs in the past, and I have never really cared for these. This is an ok tune, and I am sure it will appeal to some folks.
Just when I was starting to get a little bored, “Brokenpromieland” comes along and makes me hit replay a couple of times. I love Sambora’s guitar tone on this song.
“Love is The Only Rule” almost sounds like a Neil Diamond tune with some heavier riffs. Every time I hear this tune, Jon Bon Jovi’s vocal delivery reminds me of that for some reason. The funny thing is, it works for the most part.
Is it just me, or does “Fast Cars” sound like a Coldplay tune? The keyboards and guitar tone sound more like that band than a Bon Jovi tune. I didn’t really care for this tune very much.
The Circle will be in stores tomorrow. Is it worth picking up? While I don’t think this is the best Bon Jovi album, it is far from their worst. The production from John Shanks is top notch, but the album could have used a few heavier moments. If you are looking for the big monster pop metal rockers like the band used to put out in the eighties and early nineties, you aren’t going to find them on The Circle. This is a solid pop rock album with a few hard edges here and there.
Rating: Out of 10
1. We Weren’t Born to Follow
2. When We Were Beautiful
3. Work for the Working Man
4. Superman Tonight
6. Thorn in My Side
7. Live Before You Die
9. Love’s the Only Rule
10. Fast Cars
11. Happy Now
12. Learn to Love
Bon Jovi is:
Jon Bon Jovi – lead vocals
Richie Sambora – guitars, backing vocals
Tico Torres – drums, percussion
David Bryan – keyboards, piano
Hugh McDonald – bass
Charlie Judge – additional keyboards and strings