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Bon Jovi The Circle Universal/Def Jam
· Produced By: John Shanks

· Running Time: 53.07

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released: WORLD

· Musical Style: Rock

· Links: Bon Jovi
70%
Songs: 60%
Sound: 80%
Bon Jovi have been pretty consistent in their releasing of albums since coming back into the scene with Crush. But they have also been consistent in confusing fans by being all over the place as far as direction. It seems they are not content or convinced in their role as an iconic 80s rock band still existing and staying popular modern times.
We've had the career encompassing live album (fail), the mega-box set (average), the re-workings album (epic fail), the big rock album Have A Nice Day (higher pass) and most recently the country album (mostly fail). Now we have the "big rock album" that isn't a 'big rock' album at all. Their 'rock' sound has evolved into true contemporary setting, which worked for them well when mixed with their traditional sound on Have A Nice Day (mainly due to the quality of songwriting), but fails them here on The Circle.
As far as I can see it, this is a pure Jon Bon Jovi album, with side-kick Richie Sambora relegated to do as he is told alongside the other members of the band (who are they again??)
JBJ has dubbed this a 'big loud rock album'. Dear, oh dear…fail! It is a rock album, but it is nothing akin to the Bon Jovi of yesteryear and doesn't come close to the great (and still contemporary) effort Have A Nice Day was.
I have given this album so much airtime waiting for it to grow on me, but it just doesn't. And it isn't necessarily the new modern pop/rock sound that doesn't work for me – I just think the songwriting here is second rate compared to the band's best.
In my opinion the band - sorry, JBJ – is trying too hard to be something he isn't. Bon Jovi is (was) an iconic hard rock band. Jon – just accept that! You are not Coldplay and you are not U2! Producer John Shanks has to go. It is still ok to turn the guitars up, and it is still ok to have a pounding rhythm section. And it is sure as hell is still ok to sound like you did in the old days. Right now I just see too many other bands doing what Bon Jovi used to do, only better and here in the now (Winger, Kiss, Gotthard, Danger Danger).
Track By Track:
We Weren't Born To Follow is most likely a left over from the last few albums as it didn't cut the grade then, easily surpassed by It's My Life and Have A Nice Day.
When We Were Beautiful is the worst offender for the band wanting to be Coldplay. I really like the possibilities here, but the vocals are whiney and the underlying guitars are tragically underutilized and should have exploded into the track. The song builds mood and suspense and then wastes it all by going nowhere.
Work For The Working Man sees the band ripping themselves off with the bass line for You Give Love A Bad Name before disappearing into a bland chorus better suited for a John Mellencamp album.
Superman Tonight has been heralded as the song of the album and it is a decent mid-tempo sentimental rocker. But personally, I don't feel that sentiment – it's all a little flat.
Finally a hard rocker even if it is only mid-tempo. Bullet has a promising beat to kick things off before sounding like a rip-off of themselves yet again – this time Keep The Faith. The guitars kick in briefly, but the chorus just doesn't sound right at all. It sounds forced and is completely ineffective.
Thorn In My Side is where the band sounds most natural on this record. Although filled with a modern tone, the beat kicks the song along nicely and the chorus is actually worth remembering.
The mid-tempo breezy storyteller track Live Before You Die is a JBJ solo tune if there ever has been one. Typical JBJ themes of life and love and a replication of other songs included on each of the band's recent albums. Lush orchestration lifts the track beyond the standard ballad, but very safe generally.
Brokenpromiseland has a cool name and I expected something cool from it. I was disappointed though when the song became another Coldplay/U2 modern rocker. And why is JBJs vocals really annoying on this record? I used to love this band and his delivery.
Love's The Only Rule has a great beat and an in your face tempo, and is a more quality track, despite being a long way from the band's classic sound. But it also shows that no matter what the style, if you can deliver great songs, the rest will come with it. This album needed more songs like this.
Fast Cars is a sappy Coldplay style pop rocker that does absolutely nothing for me and is a huge drop in quality after the last track.
Happy Now tries to rock, but it largely forgettable and falls into the same tempo/vein as 4 or 5 other songs on the album.
Learn To Love is another forgettable formulatic Bon Jovi ballad with a modern twist.
The Bottom Line
I know I'll hear from the Bon Jovi fan club after this review, but The Circle for me is a largely flat, bland, innocuous and ultimately very very safe album that just doesn't inspire repeat listens. Many of the songs are completely forgettable and only 2 or 3 are worthy of inclusion on a new Best Of. Dare say that I'll be done with this album forever now the review is done. Send hate mail now…
Previously Reviewed
· Crush
· One Wild Night
· Bounce
· This Left Feels Right
· Have A Nice Day
· Lost Highway
· The Circle

Line Up:
· Jon Bon Jovi: Vocals
· Richie Sambora: Guitar
· David Bryan: Keyboards
· Tico Torres: Drums
· The Guy That Is In The Band But Can Never Be Seen: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
· Jon Bon Jovi
Track Listing
· We Weren't Born To Follow
· When We Were Beautiful
· Work For The Working Man
· Superman Tonight
· Bullet *
· Thorn In My Side *
· Live Before You Die
· Brokenpromiseland
· Love's The Only Rule *
· Fast Cars
· Happy Now
· Learn To Love

--*Best Tracks


09/04/10: support - support.host1@gmail.com
Rating: 55
good

20/03/10: Michael - angra55t@yahoo.com
Rating: 85
As with "Lost Highway" I should point out that it takes time for me to get used to those last 2 Bon Jovi albums. At first I liked only a couple of songs, not more - but after 5th or 7th listen I dig all the album except 2-3 songs. Sorry people, I have no idea what Coldplay is - I don't care about nowadays MTV or modern teenage music. "The Circle" is a great record - it might not be Bon Jovi at its best but a decent album anyway.

09/03/10: evil reviewer - hzaf@msn.com
Rating: 50
half good half boring...only trying to sell tickets to their next gig

05/03/10: Toddman - twigren@comcast.net
Rating: 90
Love it !!!!

01/03/10: Stefan Grimbs - grimbsel@aol.com
Rating: 90
This is pure BonJovi. I don't know what people have against them. bj is doing his thing. and some people like it some not. if you not, it's ok. and if you do, enjoy the music.

18/02/10: sorpul - sorpul@gmail.com
Rating: 30
This album is horrible, I don't know what to think anymore about these guys. I sorta like 3 songs on this album but after playing them for 2 days I'm bored already which sums up their last 2 albums for me. Here is an idea, Hey JBJ why don't you find the kids (now adults) you had listen to every track of of Slippery and use them today to preview any new material before you guys release anything and get their take like you used to. All I'm saying is circle back a little and give something back to the original fans who have been waiting for what seems like a million years for you guys to put out something that really kicks ass. This album doesn't.

17/02/10: Rick - rwhit12@hotmail.com
Rating: 25
This is not a Bon Jovi record, this is a JBJ solo record and it is pure, utter, pop drivel..... Too many people have their noses up JBJ's ass or something if they like this crap.

Huge Bon Jovi fan here... but this is horrible.

10/02/10: Tom - thomas.oelze@gmx.net
Rating: 10
This is the most shitiest Album from Bon Jovi. I now listen over 20 years to their music; but this is simply shit. Why can Def Leppard record good Albums till Totay; because they love music and always had good ideas. Hate me for this, but this Album sucks. Next Time better took a year more in the studio Guys; and try out somthing good and not crap. Cheers

10/02/10: William - dadbliss33@yahoo.com
Rating: 70
I concur with Andrew's review on this one. He makes some accurate points. I still purchased Bon Jovi tickets at $125.00 a piece but we are going to the concerts to listen to some of the classics.

I do agree that "Love's the only rule" is the highlight of this album! It has the energy of "Wild is the Wind" from (New Jersey).
I think the Bon Jovi of today is not focusing on writing any songs for the men like they used too, whether they admit it or not.

For us older Rock fans of old we should probably expect a worse record in the future and then maybe we can enjoy it more by doing this.

I think like with AC/DC long time rock fans expect more; and tend to find disappointment. I was expecting a new Thunderstruck with the latest AC/DC and maybe an "Edge of a Brokenheart" from Bon Jovi! Considering all aspects, I agree with Andrew on this one!

08/02/10: Mark Donnelly - mark@journey.freeserve.co.uk
Rating: 89
Opening track and lead single We Weren’t Born To Follow is typical Bon Jovi fare and sounds all too familiar but lacks the same punch as Have A Nice Day or It’s My Life. It is definitely a grower.

When We Were Beautiful the title-track of the bonus DVD is great atmospheric track and one of my personal favourites on the album.

Work For The Working Man is brilliant and one of the best tracks on the album and has an old-school Jovi feel to it. The wife loves this track.

Superman Tonight - great power ballad and has a familiar feel due to the lyrics.

Bullet is the heaviest track on the album and my personal favorite.

Thorn In My Side takes a few listens but is another great track with a great chorus.

Live Before You Die is classic Bon Jovi and simply a great track.

BrokenPromiseLand with its great chorus keeps the middle of this album on a real high.

Love’s The Only Rule as the last of the highlights as the album tails off at the end.

Fast Cars has great lyrics in the verses but a light-weight chorus makes this the by far the weakest track on the album.

Happy Love & Learn To Love are good tracks but do not maintain the high standard set between tracks 2 to 9.

This album is definitely a grower and the best album since my favourite Bon Jovi album Keep The Faith and the much underrated Have A Nice Day (take out the woeful Ring Them Bells & Wildflower and you have a simply stunning melodic rock album).
Production of this album, as you would imagine, is very good though Richie Sambora is kept very low in the mix which gives the album a Killers / Kings Of Leon feel. Please do not let the latter put you off if you are not fans of either of these bands. Similar to a few other albums released in 2009 a little more attention to the running order could have improved the overall effect (with the digital age bands do not seem to take as much interest in this part of the production of an album).

It is not often that I find myself in total disagreement with Andrew's reviews. I have often purchased albums soley based upon them and have rarely been disappointed. My own personal ratings are normally with a couple of marks of Andrews though favourite tracks are nearly always different. With The Circle it is like we are litening to two completely different albums? Still it is only personal opinion and neither one of us are either wrong or right. Keep up the good work Andrew and I am in total agreement of Album Of The Year: W.E.T.

03/02/10: Frank - fjbmoore@q.com
Rating: 8
8.333% because only one out of twelve songs is worth listening to ever again... that being the opening track, which to me sounds like something that would have fit very well on KEEP THE FAITH. The rest is garbage in my opinion.

Thank God I'm not the only one who feels this album is pure rubbish (Andrew). Honestly, Jon is doing Bon Jovi (the band) a disservice releasing utter crap like this. I'm so offended right now I've put a listening freeze on the band's first five albums out of spite.

But I no longer matter to Jon... you know, the guy who purchased no fewer than 30 copies of Slippery When Wet on vinyl, cassette and CD over the past 24 years; The guy who spent the night outside in the pouring rain (multiple times) to buy concert tickets in 1987 and 1989; The guy who stuck up for the band in 1993 at parties when everyone else was listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Yeah, Jon could give two-s***ts about that guy, and after all these years he's finally convinced me to feel the same way about him.

You've finally done it Jon... you lost one of your biggest fans of all-time, and you've lost ALL of my respect as well.

"Have A Nice Day."

29/01/10: panos - panline9@yahoo.gr
Rating: 1
This isn't Bon Jovi anymore....While other hard rock bands are releasing amazing albums...new..or older bands...Jovi r still put out mediocre or bad albums...To me there are two Jovi bands...The before Destination Anywhere Jovi...and the after Destination Anywhere Jovi...I prefer them berore D.A. (which was great for a solo John's album)..and i just like some songs afterwards...That's it that's all..i love'em..but..not like they way they play now...

19/01/10: Lukas - lukas.ba@centrum.cz
Rating: 90
I don't like somebody always telling the artist what he is, should or shouldn't be. First of all artistry is about the freedom to create and develop.

If you stick to your guns and Bon Jovi's 80's output, then forget this pretty quickly and don't touch it. This is Bon Jovi 2009.

We Weren't Born to Follow 9/10
Classic Bon Jovi album opener. 4 chord uptempo song in the style of Have a Nice Day or It's My Life, just much less that magic.

When We Were Beautiful 9/10
Building the pace very slowly, could have been more upbeat in the end with a nice solo, but I like it. Shalalahey.

Work for the Working Man 9/10
BJ's version of Springsteen's Working on a Dream with the Prayer baseline.

Superman Tonight 8/10
Not that super, seems raw at the very first time, takes several listens to enjoy it.

Bullet 7/10
Richie ads some heavy riffs.

Thorn In My Side 9/10
Good melodic rocker.

Live before You Die 7/10
An ok ballad in the style of Joey.

Brokepromisedland 9/10
Classic modern Bon Jovi.

Love's the Only Rule 10/10
The highlight of the entire album - utterly perfect!

Fast Cars 7/10
At first I didn't like the song at all, it's not great, but will grow on you.

Happy Now 9/10

Learn to Love 10/10
Inspired by Leonard Cohen, this is a perfect song to end the album so there's no need for the bonus trax since they would have only spoiled the athmosphere. Halle halle...

Richie's guitar isn't dominant again, but finally David got more space and Tico is great on the record. And Jon?

Take it or leave it.







11/01/10: Alex - deflep@aol.com
Rating: 85
I think this is actually a pretty strong Bon Jovi album from a songwriting perspective. They nailed it on Superman Tonight, Brokenpromiseland, and Love's the Only Rule. They completely failed with Fast Cars and Life Before You Die.

My real criticism of the album is the muddy production and the fact that Richie Sambora either forget how to play well or hs been pushed to the back my Jon's "vision" of how the band should sound.

If you listen to Keep the Faith Sambora's playing is crisp and clear and a large part of the sound. Now he sounds like a sessin player. What happened???

07/01/10: bob - poundcake2000@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
I agree,They all seem to have something personal against the band.
I mean there favourite hair bands are playing in front of 300 people each week,While Jon and co. keep breaking records.

07/01/10: Charlie - charlie_edge@btinternet.com
Rating: 85
I've been a BJ fan since 1984.
It's all a matter of personal opinion and where you sit ie. 80's,90's,00's etc.
For me Bon Jovi and 7800 were their most consistent and best. Sadly those days have gone and those albums didn't get rave reviews back then in the likes of Kerrang and yet, it's what true BJ fans now want.
Like many other fans, I was hoping for the hyped big rock album, where Richie is allowed to fly. Sadly and yet again, he's been held back on most of the tracks and it just didn't happen.
However, on a positive note, the song structures really stand out for me. The lyrics for the first time in years, give me goose bumps and there is consistency throughout.
I do believe that JBJ should let a true rock producer take control, because it's all there, they just need someone like Dennis Ward to bring it all out. Let's face it, John Shanks is the producer for Take That, which says it all for me.
As for the U2 comparisons......so what.....to me that's a compliment!!
It's a gooden, so buy it :-)

07/01/10: Ditty - dmdittman@live.com
Rating: 70
The first time I listened to this cd I was not impressed at all unfortunately. Having heard that is was supposed to be a return to rock formula for Bon Jovi, I had high hopes for this release. I wanted to like it, I gave it exclusive play in my car cd player for several weeks after its release and it just never got off the ground for me, seemed lack luster and boring over all if I'm being honest. Songs like We Weren't Born To Follow and Superman Tonight are decent and would be the only ones I would add to a Bon Jovi cd mix. All the others are ok but just lack something that I can't quite put my finger on and are pretty easy to forget. I have to agree with some reviewers that this sounds more like a Jon solo album then a true band record overall. I am one fan who would truly love to see Bon Jovi return to true rock form someday, similar to when they first started out and what made them the stars they are today, even it was just one more time for glory sake. I have to believe the guys have it in them somewhere, they aren't old yet, just older. It's not that this release is bad, it's just not nearly as good as it could be and should be for a band of thier stature. I also want to add that like Andrew eluded to on band member credits... what's the story with Hugh McDonald, the bands bass player both live and on recordings who's been with the band for forever and a day but never IN the band! That's just plain messed up! Hopefully someday he will get the respect he's earned.

06/01/10: Jon - jsmajerus@charter.net
Rating: 50
When Jon came out and said this was a true ROCK recording....I have to admit I was pretty excited.....BUT...after listening to this CD, I now realize that Jon has forgot how to ROCK..if he thinks this is a rock record then he really has lost his touch...I was truely disappointed in this release...the opener and Thorn in my Side are the only one's that come close...The band needs to regroup and write pure adrenaline type songs..quit writing about events and politics..."Have a Nice Day" has been the best of the decade...the b-sides from that release where rocking tunes....

06/01/10: James - topjimmy2@yahoo.com
Rating: 50
I love Bon Jovi but this is not a big rock cd.

Buy the new Winger instead. Now that is a BIG ROCK CD....

06/01/10: Shane - herbertshane@hotmail.com
Rating: 45
Probably easier just to slot this in a list of there albums in order of best to worst.

1- New Jersey
2- Slippery when wet
3- Keep the Faith
4- Bon Jovi
5- Bounce
6- These Days
7- Have a nice Day
8- 7800 Fahrengeit
9- Lost Highway
10- This Left feels right
11- Circle
12- Crush

06/01/10: Billy Sastard - ithink@not.com
Rating: 10
I WANT A REFUND! Should have been called "The B-Sides '09" as that's all that every track is.

Am I the only one that thought their last abum was a cracker?... and I truely HATE Country btw.

06/01/10: Maxxbell - maxxbell@libero.it
Rating: 95
simply their best album since These Days....'Love's the only rule' its the best melodic rock song of the year!!!

06/01/10: Zok - micke_016@hotmail.com
Rating: 65
Bon Jovi is boring these days. With "Have A Nice Day" they where on the right spot. But after that record I have no interest of the band anymore. It´s not awful, but not good either. Just boring.

05/01/10: Patrick - Patrickrexan@hotmail.com
Rating: 98
Their finest since New Jersey

05/01/10: Kevin - mrockreviews@gmail.com
Rating: 50
Amen Andrew. You were too kind. I own everything they've ever done and this record is just drivel.

05/01/10: Ben Dyson - bendyson77@gmail.com
Rating: 6
I have to agree with the MR review in saying that, as an album, The Circle is a disappointment.
There are some great songs on here; the singles 'We Weren't Born To Follow', 'Superman Tonight' and 'When We Were Beautiful' are deserving of praise. 'Learn To Love' is also a good song.

But the remaining songs scream 'filler' and the usual quality of these album tracks is below par compared to their previous albums of the last decade. Usually when i play a new Bon Jovi album i end up discovering something new everytime i listen, and other songs grow on me more than the singles - not the case here :(

I will always be a Bon Jovi fan and would rather see them tour together than the 'solo' era, but from a creative perspective it could do Jon & Richie some good to do some independent work just to reinvigorate the juices and influences, then come back together and make a fresh album.

05/01/10: bob - poundcake2000@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
Let me start by saying,I think Andrew reviewed the wrong album.Because i have always respected his opinion on these cds' but this time he is way off the mark.
This is Bon Jovi at there best.How can anybody review Sonic Boom from Kiss over this is way beyond me.Sorry Andrew.
Lets go track by track.
WWBTF;People have always wanted an 80's styled bj song,well here you go.Similar to born to be my baby,So a good start.
WWWB:Wow ,What a fantastic song.The build up and the chanting at the end brings goosebumps to my arms.Fantastic.
WORK FOR THE WORKING MAN;This is lame,Not my cup of tea.
SUPERMAN TONIGHT;Should have been the first single,Great chorus.
BULLET;This is ok,maybe a 6 or 7 out of 10.
THORN IN MY SIDE:Oh yeah,if you liked h.a.n.d,then you'll love this,Awesome rocking tune.
LIVE B4 YOU DIE:Good ballad,Not there best,but still very good.
BROKEN PROMISELAND;One for the die hards,80's sounding tune,Really growing on me.
LOVE'S THE ONLY RULE;Best song on the album and probably the best jovi song since It's my life.
FAST CARS;Desmond Child at his best,Great feel good tune.
HAPPY NOW;Sounds like something off the Bounce cd,Another good tune.
LEARN TO LOVE;What a fantastic way to end an album that bj fans have been waiting for years to hear.This song is as good as any of the ballads they have written.
This is one of the best albums i have heard in a long time,Even though i loved Lost Highway,It's so great to hear a rocking cd from my favourite band of all time.
The boys are back.BUY IT.

05/01/10: jeff - jrachubinski@yahoo.com
Rating: 65
Granted i'm unlike everyone else, but i kind of want to hear the same kind of album from these guys.Everyone says a band has to grow, BULL!!! real fans (And I' am one)want to hear them play what they play best, and that is hard rock. Not Bruce Springsteen style rock.


05/01/10: Paul - pgborden@hotmail.com
Rating: 78
No complaints on Andrew's review from me (this time!). Bon Jovi just doesn't seem to have anything new to add to their history anymore. It's just the "same ol', same ol'". WE WEREN'T BORN TO FOLLOW & LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE are the only two cliche' filled songs worth listening to every once in a great while. Not a bad album, but it's nothing we haven't heard from Bon Jovi many times before... and in the past it was done with more emotion.

05/01/10: Paul Melling - mellingp@hotmail.com
Rating: 50
I used to love Bon Jovi and still look forward to seeing them live in the UK when i can. Their back catalogue is huge and so many hits mean that a live BJ show is always worth the entrance money. Even the songs from their last "country style" album went down well live amongst the classics. Although their later albums have been patchy,there have always been some great songs in there somewhere. This is where "The Circle" is different. Try as i might,i just cannot imagine one single song off this album becoming a live favourite..or anyone´s favourite for that matter. This album is DULL DULL DULL. Where is the energy? Where is the spark? Andrew said in his review that the band are trying to sound like Coldplay/U2 and it certainly sounds that way. My question is..why do Bon Jovi have to try and sound like ANY other band? They don´t need to pay homage to any other band on the planet so why record an album full of boring tunes in the style of these other bands? JBJ said beforehand that this album would "rock hard" and i was looking forward to a good modern rock album (not harking back to the 80´s). If JBJ thinks that this is even a soft rock album then he needs to hit the cabaret circuit and stop conning his legions of fans into buying BJ albums by trusting that they will be of the "Rock" genre. This is not good enough and i find the album hard to classify..not because of any diversity but by the total lack of power,emotion,songwriting and effort. What style is this? Someone please tell me. This is music by numbers and such a huge disappointment even compared with "Lost Highway" which was the first BJ album i didn´t buy upon release.
Andrew expected some criticism after his review but i think that he was actually quite kind to this album by giving it 70%.
I challenge even the most ardent BJ fan to deny that this album is the worst they have ever done.

05/01/10: Nun Yo Business - nun_yo_business_1@yahoo.com
Rating: 55
With more than a couple of the tracks having retreaded beats and cords, I can't give this a higher rating I found myself humming You Give Love A Bad Name more than once. At least they are making new music, too many bands from back in the 80's are happy to just keep taking the fans money and playing the same old tunes over and over (Hello Journey) at least the Jersey Boys come up with new tunes on a regular basis. It's a smart move to have new music out for your fans sooner than later. the real killer of a bands momentum is they wait way too long before releases, keep up the release schedule guys, but please next time don't re-release old songs with new titles.

05/01/10: Dave - jrnyfan_99@yahoo.com
Rating: 93
In some ways I agree with Andrew, but I am a much bigger fan of this record than he is. This album is missing the big rock songs. There is no "Hey God" or "I Believe" on this record, but the lyrical content and direction of the band far outweighs the lack of heavy rockers.
"We weren't born to follow" is a strong start to the record. As with much of the record, it sounds more Springsteen than anything else. I do hear a little U2 in a song or two, but the major influence in my opinion is much more The Boss than anything else.

"When we were beautiful" has a little of that U2 flavor as mentioned earlier. I don't hear any "whiney" in the vocal personally. I do see how Andrew thinks the song doesn't go anywhere as it does seem to build and then not go anywhere else, but overall I like the song.

"Work for the working man" is not my favorite on the record. Again, more Springsteen sound (Mellencamp is appropriate as well). I find it acceptable for a song to be more about the statement it makes lyrically than that it fits a certain musical criteria and this is one of those songs.

"Superman tonight" is one of my favorites on the record. To me, this could have been on "These Days". This song is a great representation of my I love Bon Jovi.

"Bullet" has the crunchy guitar and reminds me of "August 7, 4:15" on JBJ's solo record (which I really like). Similar lyrically to "Hey God" (another favorite), I like that Bon Jovi is more socially aware and this song is a great example of that.

"Thorn in my side" is another highlight for me. Another great represenation of who Bon Jovi is and where they are headed. Very upbeat, strong guitars and vocals and when the song ends you feel much better than when it started. Call it Bon Jovi optimism, but it's one of the reasons Bon Jovi is who they are.

"Live before you die" is Ok. I haven't been a big fan of Bon Jovi ballads in recent years. I thought that "Crush" and "Bounce" were loaded with mediocre ballads. This isn't a bad song, but it's not a highlight.

"Brokenpromiseland" has a very U2 sound to it during the verses. I'm a big U2 fan so I can appreciate it. But the chorus is all Bon Jovi and although not my favorite track, it is a quality song.

"Love's the only rule" has a "Just Older" type feel to me. Up beat, Tico drum fills, big chorus. It's classic Bon Jovi with a little more modern sounding guitar.

I don't see the next track, "Fast cars" as sappy at all. Now that Andrew mentions "Coldplay" I guess I hear it a little, but it's not something I heard at all until I read his review. There is definitely a "Coldplay" piano sound going on througout the song, but lyrically it doesn't remind me of Coldplay at all. It's a good track, but not a highlight.

"Happy now" features a rougher (in a good way) vocal from JBJ and a heavier guitar sound. I like the edge of the song even though I do agree with Andrew that much of the record has the same tempo. I like the angst of the song.

"Learn to Love" is the better ballad of the two on the record. I hear a little "Hallelujah" influence (Cohen song they've covered recently) and is much more inspirational than many recent Bon Jovi ballads. The song ends the record on a positive, hopeful note that I appreciate.

Overall, I really like where Bon Jovi is going. Lyrically this might be my favorite Bon Jovi record (right up there with These Days) and I think it's a good follow up to the Nashville-inspired "Lost Highway" (which I also loved).

Bon Jovi is no longer the late 80's version and we won't see another "Slippery When Wet", and that I am grateful for. This is a band that realizes they are not who they were 25 years ago and have grown up. Some folks won't like the direction, maybe because they grew differently, but I appreciate a band that writes about their progression as a band and as individuals.

I haven't decided if I like this record more or less than "Lost Highway", but it is definitely better than anything else they've released since "These Days".

05/01/10: fritz - fritz@dreamothergirl.com
Rating: 85
great line-up quote: "The Guy That Is In The Band But Can Never Be Seen: Bass"
actually I waited until the album came out and didn't even hear the 1st single before I had the album - and I think it's quite OK. Esp. since the Documentary-DVD finally resolves the mystery that this is not the Bon Jovi (Band) we all (well, most of us....) love back in the 80's and early 90's. Instead this is Jon Bon Jovi with the same guys from his then band as back-up musicians. Sometimes this reminds me of the fact that from early on Jon tried to be "Springsteenish" and he comes close - just the drums kick a bit more butt....so after this being another soloalbum from Jon it's totally ok with me! Since I knew that I wouldn't hear the "Richie"-touch (I like the most about BJ) - I'm not disappointed. It's a nice record and Andrew is right about it being essential for Jon (!!!) Bon Jovi Fans! Looking forward to a Richie Solo album tho!!!!!!

05/01/10: Rick - rwhit12@hotmail.com
Rating: 0
I will not rate a Jon Bon Jovi crappy solo record disguised as a new Bon Jovi record > than a zero. This cd is crap, just horrible. Worst cd of 2009

05/01/10: Mark - mlas_2000@yahoo.com
Rating: 0
Complete utter crap!!! Some of their more recent work had the occasional rocker and I was holding out hope that they might turn back in that direction but I guess not! Not sure where the band is trying to go but the songs are weak and limp, even the ballads, which is about all they make anymore, are really bad.

05/01/10: Mitch - mitchnotes@gmail.com
Rating: 70
I must agree with Andrew on this one. Bon Jovi is tired and apparently has forgotten the meaning of "big rock." I'm not sure they still have it in them, which is why I will not spend money to go see them. However, my favorite song on the CD is "Work For The Working Man." Also, I'm tired of this "we made a pact" junk regarding the bass player. Hugh has now been in the band longer than Alec was and he should be seen and recognized.

04/01/10: Skip - Cdcollector81@aol.com
Rating: 6
It's not bad, it's not great. It's safe. Just what you would expect but I guess they are going to stick with what works. I just ask that bands stop giving interviews talking about how hard they are going to rock and how the old fans are going to love it then ballad me to death.

04/01/10: Marc Vanway - vanway@hotmail.com
Rating: 50
Another weak effort by a band that it's playing the safety way. Don't tell us a cd is gonna rock when it's bland and lame as this one. I don't expect nothing from Bon Jovi these days, but a surprise would be nice... and this is not a surprise at all. The band should stop releasing cds for a while.

04/01/10: Kissfan1 - geetarslinger@hotmail.com
Rating: 70
Agreed. No reason to listen to this disc more than once.

04/01/10: Eduardo - liquidsky@bol.com.br
Rating: 89
Brokenpromiseland, for me, it's a fantastic song. Work for the working man and Thorn in my side are really good too. BJ is a little different, but this album still rocks. IMO it's a very good album.

04/01/10: Jace - Jace5150@aol.com
Rating: 30
I would like to start this by saying I listened to this album over a dozen times. No snap judgements. I like to really digest records and songs before I make up my mind about them. I am a long time huge Bon Jovi fan. One of my favorite bands of all time. I buy everything they release based on my loyalty to them for the music they gave me while I was growing up. I have great respect for them as a band and as a force that navigated itself through the changing culture of music for almost 30 years. That is a feat for any band.

With all that being said and in mind I listened to their new album, "The Circle", and here are my thoughts... what the HELL is this? This album is garbage. And it takes ALOT for me to say that. But the truth is the truth. I don't hold it against them at all that they ripped themselves off with "We Weren't Born To Be My Baby", or "Work For The Working Man Living On A Prayer". If a band has been around for 30 years some things are going to sound the same, I don't mind that. I don't hold it against them that Jon's voice is gone. That is not his fault. He sacrificed it for us. By touring and recording for over two decades, FOR US. His voice is shot, but that's not the problem. The problem is these SONGS are terrible. T E R R I B L E.

And this is a "rock" album the way LOST HIGHWAY was a "country" album. Hell, in fact, I will go on record saying LOST HIGHWAY was more of a rock record than this crappy CIRCLE album. I mean, LOST HIGHWAY was just uptempo Bon Jovi with a little fiddle here and there. I dare you to put these two records next to each other and see which one makes you bob your head more. Shame on Bon Jovi for calling THE CIRCLE a "rock" record. Either they know better and it's just a marketing ploy, which burns my blood, or they REALLY THINK this is rock now, which breaks my heart.

How did this kind of music become "rock"? This Bon Jovi record is just a U2 album sideways. And I'm one of the few who never, never liked U2 . Hell, the last tune, "Learn To Love", is just "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" sideways. And the lyrics were obviously influenced by his love for Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Which "I do Leonard's favorite version of Hallelujah." states Jon in the When We Were Beautiful companion DVD. Is it just me, or is Jon kind of becoming pompous? Ugh.

So this is a U2 album mixed with Coldplay (Andrew hit this review right on the head). And DAMN Coldplay for making that stupid 8th note snare kick kick snare kick kick snare kick (repeat) drum pattern popular with "Clocks". That is an awful rhythmic pattern for a rock song. The ONLY band to copy that and make it work is Bon Jovi with the tune "Have A Nice Day." It actually worked there. But since then I have heard it more and more. Danger Danger ALMOST made it work with "Rocket To Your Heart", but it's also in Def Leppard's 2008 "Gotta let It Go", and on THE CIRCLE it's on here THREE times! "Superman Tonight", "Happy Now", and "Fast Cars." My god it wears thin fast. No one can ROCK to that.

And since we are mentioning "Fast Cars", what the hell happened to Desmond Child? I suspect he had very little to do with these tunes really. Cuz HE still rocks (Bat Out Of Hell III, Scorpions "Humanity" album, the tune "Bad News" by Orianthi). Desmond can still rock it, that's why I was horribly disappointed with the tunes he "co-wrote."

I will say one positive thing about this record... the ONLY good song is "Live Before You Die", which I would bet a weeks pay was written during Jon's Nashville sessions and left off of LOST HIGHWAY. It has that same framed lyrical structure and theme of the Nashville tunes. I like this song, but one out of twelve is not good.

Hell, I can go on and on. The more I heard this album the more disappointed and aggravated I became. Just one thing after another:

My buddy Joe in high school had a band that had a song called "Thorn In My Side" and it was better than this Bon Jovi Song.

"Love's The Only Rule" I'm guessing is Bon Jovi's stab at a club song. What the hell is this song?

"Work For The Working Man." What irritated me about this song is the "tick tock" tone of the snare drum when the tune starts. Listen close, you will hear it too. And that kinda sums up the problem with this record for me. It's OVER thought. Over researched. Over processed. When they recorded "Living On A Prayer" they recorded what sounded good. Set up the drums, play, let's rock. Now they are recording a similar song and messing with the tone of the snare, over thinking everything, trying to give the MASS what it wants while us true fans who stuck with them through every album (even the sub par "Crush" and "Bounce") are standing here scratching our heads. I have never said this about a Bon Jovi album but… don't buy this one. Just don't buy it. This is their worst. album. ever. I would repeatedly smile through 7800 Fahrenheit if the alternative was sitting through this contrived, stuffy, disappointing, soulless, corporate "rock" album.

Here is what Bon Jovi needs to do, This is my dream: They need to make ONE more album. One great kick ass rock album... and then disappear. (I have always had this fantasy that the band BOSTON just disbanded and faded away after their first album so that THAT could be their legacy and not taint that amazing band with some of the shit that followed. They would have been LEGENDARY). Jon and Richie need to sit in a room with Desmond Child for six months and write. Really write. They need to gather a handful of people that are still really able to rock and have them help with the backing vocals (Aldo Nova, Tommy Funderbunk, etc, or unknown back up singers. Whatever it takes to get the big Bon Jovi chorus back). It's not Jon's fault he can't sing anymore, but you don't have to have a crazy range to make a good rock record, Stage Dolls "Get A Life" taught us that. They need to get in the studio, Jon needs to loosen his grip on the reins a little bit, they need Desmond Child or Bob Rock or ANYONE with skill in ROCK behind the board. Twelve songs, 6 rock balls, 3 ballads, 3 mid tempos about loyalty and brotherhood and time passing. And the final track on the album should be flat out rock. ROCK. And it should be the title track of the album: "Blood From A Rock"

Then they never record again and leave us with a good taste in our mouths.

That is my dream.

Because ending their recording career with an album like THE CIRCLE is like Deniro ending his acting career with "The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle"

I'm sorry I rambled so much, but if I spend this much time writing this it's because I'm passionate about it. I want my Bon Jovi back. Not… this… band that did THE CIRCLE. If this was the FIRST Bon Jovi record you ever heard... would you buy any more?

I apologize if I offended anyone. I mean no disrespect to the band or the fans, just saying what I think.

Avoid this record. Treat it like the fourth Indiana Jones movie: pretend it doesn't exist.

04/01/10: ODDY - oddylee@hotmail.com
Rating: 2
only 1.5 good songs

this isnt bon jovi

04/01/10: David Kaiser - metalhead48@verizon.net
Rating: 95
you usualy are pretty spot on with your reviews but you realy missed the mark on this one.how can you not have the stereo cranked up and sing along with the very first track?don't listen to coldplay so don't know how your comparison butof they sound thids good might check thm out.working man who cares if they use the same baseline as another one of thier songs ay least it was one of thier own and it to is a great song.superman tonite is one of the best songs on the cd how could you not like it?sambora's guitar soars on it.I think this one of the best cd's they have put out.much better than crush.and for the record I am not a member of the fan club just like the music.sounds like you have something personal against the band or maybe jon.


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