Needing no introduction of any sort, Bon Jovi, the band that introduced the talk box into modern music dictionaries and produced songs such as “Living on a Prayer” which have become the theme to many people’s lives, have a new album out entitled “The Circle.”

The Circle (Bon Jovi album)

Album Cover

Their eleventh studio album marks their return back to their hard-rock roots, after their previous effort “Lost Highway” was heavily influenced by country sounds. To many, it does not completely sound like Bon Jovi of yesteryear, yet after a careful listen to all the tracks, it is evident that the spark and love for music that propelled the band to stardom in the first place has remained intact, even after 25 years of being on the scene. On this album, the boys from Jersey truly come to a full-circle.

The powerful first single “We Weren’t Born to Follow” kicks off the album with an inspiring message and a heavy musical arrangement. The infusion of successive drum beats, guitar arrangements, and Jon Bonjovi’s signature vocals propel the song forward and the listener may surprisingly find himself singing along from the first time.

“When We Were Beautiful” follows, and while the listener may think the band are slowing things down a bit too early on the album, the song is a far cry from being a sappy ballad. It is a song that chronicles what the group has been through in their music careers and what they have learned from that journey. The thought-provoking lyrics are sung to one the best guitar riffs of the entire album, courtesy of Ritchie Sambora.

The rock-anthem of “The Circle” comes in the form of “Work for the Working Man” which is an attestment to the working class, a recurring theme for Bon Jovi. The chant-along style and the easy lyrics are bound to get instant attention.

The title for the necessary love song is taken by Track 4, “Superman Tonight” with Bonjovi emotionally singing, “Who’s gonna hold you when you turn off the lights. Wish that I could be your superman tonight.” Musically, it’s more of a power ballad than a mainstream “pop-ish” love song, which automatically sets it off from its contemporary counterparts.

“Bullet,” “Love’s the Only Rule,” and “Happy Now” can be easily classified together as being the three most forgettable tracks on this album. It is not because the lyrics aren’t good, or the music seems off, but because any fan of rock has probably heard the same style over and over again. For a band that has been known to be innovative and for an album that is expected to achieve more, these three songs fall short of expectations. They are, nevertheless, still good enough to be given a listen.

“Thorn in My Side” and “Brokenpromiseland” are tailored to suit the tastes of all those who love to play air-guitar. The former provides a catchy hook and the ultimate liberation from love anthem with the lead singer bluntly proclaiming he “will survive.” It shares a similarity with the musicality of the first single.

The band, though, is not fully ready to shed the country image they portrayed on their previous album, and that manifests itself in “Live before You Die.” It offers the same sort of sappy wisdom you can find on any country track and the only thing distinct about it is the smoky lead vocals and harmonious background ones. “Fast Cars” also plays the wisdom card, with the band suddenly going all philosophical on the listeners by saying, “We are fast cars, on a long ride. There’s no turning back on the highway of life.” It is one of those classic rock songs about maximizing every moment spent on Earth.

“The Circle” is completed by “Learn to Love,” a perfect closure to a rock and roll adventure. Once again, there are no signs of slowing things down, as the band delivers their final message, of embracing the world we all live in.  The acoustic guitar that starts off the track is sometimes interchanged within the song itself for a stronger base sound, giving an overall beautiful feel to the song.

“The Circle” is a perfect choice for anyone who has been a rock fan for years or just starting to explore their options in this wide genre.


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