Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bon Jovi - The Circle

Every Sunday, The Rock and Roll Guru reviews a new or classic music CD, DVD, or a rocking book.

New Jersey’s most beloved sons (after The Boss, of course) are back with a brand new album and the announcement of a world tour starting in 2010. The Circle is Bon Jovi’s latest release, the follow up to their country-tinged, experimental album, Lost Highway. So, does The Circle return the band to their rock and roll roots? Will this album wash away the memory of the country experiment? Let’s spin the disc and find out!

The first noticeable thing about The Circle is the decided departure this record takes from Bon Jovi’s previous album. Straying away from the country tinged themes of Lost Highway, The Circle is a return to the heavier rock and smooth power ballads that catapulted the band into superstardom. With no guest stars (like Big and Rich, or Jennifer Nettles), and almost no outside influences or collaborators, The Circle is a pure Bon Jovi record. Desmond Child was called in to round out some of the lyrics and songs, but considering he co-wrote the classics from the 80s, Desmond is practically the 6th man of the band.

The Circle can best be described as a pessimist’s optimism. Covering real world issues of unemployment, middle age, the desire to reflect fondly on days gone by while still having the impulse to move forward, The Circle is Bon Jovi’s deepest work to date. The lyrics tackle modern day issues and present ways to help someone deal with the challenges of everyday life. The songs present the darkness that is currently out there, most notably on Work For The Working Man, but they also show there is hope for the future and that you should never give up, there’s always tomorrow.

Notable tracks include the lead single, We Weren’t Born To Follow, Thorn In My Side, Happy Now, and the absolutely stunning When We Were Beautiful. This could be one of the greatest songs in Bon Jovi’s illustrious history. The melody is breathtaking, the guitar solos are so rich and deep they make your eyes moist, and the song is layered in excellence. Fondly reflecting on the glory days of innocence and naivety, When We Were Beautiful is a cry out to yesterday. It is a call to examine your past and recapture a portion of it in order to guide your future. I found myself playing this song several times over before I even got through the rest of the album. It is that good and if you decide not to purchase the entire CD, you must buy this song.

The Circle is hands down Bon Jovi’s best record since Crush. Ripe with beautiful Richie Sambora guitar solos and harmonies, Jon Bon Jovi’s deep luscious vocals, and great music filled out by the talented Tico Torres and David Bryant, The Circle isn’t just 12 songs that you are bound to enjoy endlessly over the years, The Circle is 12 gifts given to us, the fans, by the band that works hard to keep their fans satisfied. The Circle is an incredible album that every fan of the band and every fan of rock and roll should add to their collection.

Ryo’s Rating: 9 (out of 10)

Track Listing
We Weren’t Born To Follow
When We Were Beautiful
Work For The Working Man
Superman Tonight
Thorn In My Side
Live Before You Die
Love’s The Only Rule
Fast Cars
Happy Now
Learn To Love

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