Bon Jovi - The Circle

Bon Jovi – The Circle

86 / 100

I don’t understand Bon Jovi’s purpose anymore. The musical fire is so dead that it’s shocking. It stuns me how this band became so dull.

Written by: Dangerzone

ARTIST: Bon Jovi
ALBUM: The Circle
LABEL: Island
SERIAL: B0013685-00
YEAR: 2009

CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List


LINEUP: Jon Bon Jovi – vocals * Richie Sambora – guitars * David Bryan – keyboards * Tico Torres – drums * Huey McDonald – bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 We Weren’t Born To Follow * 02 When We Were Beautiful * 03 Work For The Working Man * 04 Superman Tonight * 05 Bullet * 06 Thorn In My Side * 07 Live Before You Die * 08 Broken Promiseland * 09 Love’s The Only Rule * 10 Fast Cars * 11 Happy Now * 12 Learn To Love




Following the hideous country influenced ‘Lost Highway’ in 2007, old Jon and the boys have allegedly gone back to their roots (didn’t I write that in 2002 about ‘Bounce’?), Sambora himself claiming this album ‘rocks hard’. It’s easy to be sceptical considering they haven’t released anything of real worth to the melodic rock world since 1988, so exactly what hard rock means to Bon Jovi in 2009 is anyone’s guess. Here we have the answer however and disappointingly there is nothing resembling hard rock. Instead we have another attempt at modern rock which fumbles with a few leanings towards the past, but not enough to recommend this as worth listening to.

The Songs

Opening single ‘We Weren’t Born To Follow’ is a predictable anthem along the lines of ‘It’s My Life’ or ‘Have A Nice Day’, with the big chorus made for teenagers on the cusp of rebelliousness. It’s so genuinely inoffensive and pleasant that it belies the title. The overly sentimental ‘When We Were Beautiful’ sees the band remembering the past, but the guitar sound sounds like U2 in 1987. The opening bass riff of ‘Work For The Working Man’ copies the intro of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ and features Jon’s working class lyrics at play with some chants which could be construed as over the top.

It doesn’t set the world alight melodically however but ‘Superman Tonight’ has some late 80’s charm going its way to some extent. ‘Bullet’ is as heavy as the album gets, a modern rocker with Sambora remembering how to solo aggressively. But the abundance of lightweight rockers like ‘Thorn In My Side’, ‘Broken Promiseland’, Love’s The Only Rule’ and ‘Happy Now’ drag the album down. There’s no real sense of urgency or excitement and they all play out like the soundtrack to an angst ridden teen movie. Suffice to say there’s no resemblance to 1983 here and the slower tracks ‘Live Before You Die’ and ‘Fast Cars’ are equally as weak.

In Summary

I don’t understand Bon Jovi’s purpose anymore. The musical fire is so dead that it’s shocking. It stuns me how this band became so dull with a seeming refusal to play anything with a hint of imagination. The guitar tone is monotonous and the mid paced thud gives every song a sense of repetitiveness. Compared to ‘Lost Highway’ maybe this does ‘rock hard’, but so does Darius Rucker and Weezer I guess. 12 songs of pure nothing. No more, no less.

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