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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Bon Jovi - 2009 The Circle
Bon Jovi - 2009 The Circle

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


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' bring 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 this band'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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#1 | gdazegod on November 12 2009 07:02:35
Bon Jovi, as far as AOR and melodic hard rock are concerned, can be considered irrelevant.

who gives a fuck
#2 | thejbl on November 12 2009 08:40:20
Superb album, modern and fresh

have no idea what album the reviewer was listening to
#3 | gdazegod on November 12 2009 08:52:57
Sorry JBL, i agree with Alun.. BJ means something other than Bon Jovi these days. I'm not sure that comparisons to Coldplay and U2 are meant to be complimentary, particularly on this website.. My 2 cents worth.
#4 | thejbl on November 12 2009 14:22:18
I shall agree to disagree then

considering that's the first album I've pretty much disagreed with on here regarding the review, I'd say that's a pretty good track record lol Smile
#5 | dangerzone on November 12 2009 20:09:06
I just can't see what is appealing about this at all. I stick by every word and in the days since I wrote this I've come to despise it even more. Sorry mate. This is as dull as 'rock' has ever gotten. What is worse is how these frauds still slag off '7800 Farenheit' as if it never existed.up you
#6 | gdazegod on November 12 2009 21:54:23
If they ever diss their 1984 debut, I might have to book a ticket and fly over to Sayreville and have a word to JBJ himself.. lol!
#7 | Eric on November 12 2009 23:58:34
No kidding- that debut is the only Bon Jovi I ever cared for.
#8 | RobLynott on November 19 2009 15:45:08
I agree with Dangerzone! The last Bon Jovi album of any relevance was Keep the faith imo. 1991 - a long time ago. In Germany we call this "music for housewifes". And that's not a compliment yuk
#9 | jeffrey343 on December 04 2009 03:17:58
I usually agree with the majority of you guys, but I actually like this album. Granted, it is not hard rock or AOR or arena rock. It's not the same stuff they put out in the 80s. But it works for me in 2009. I'm on the fringe of the modern rock scene - I hear the hit songs, I know who the artists are, and sometimes I find artists I really like (Daughtry being a good example). To me, this straddles the current adult rock scene and the more classic 80s stuff (leaning more to the modern scene though). Where it rises above is Jon's vocal style. His voice is not the same instrument it was 25 years ago, but he sings in a more rock style than most of the new guys. And that makes these songs more listenable to me.

I must admit that Bon Jovi basically fell off the map for me after "New Jersey". I probably played the whole CD through a couple of times, then just put the first three tunes on a mix tape. I never got anything else before "The Circle" except for the singles "It's My Life" and "Have A Nice Day" from iTunes. But it seems like most of the latest releases from the classic bands have been pretty good, so I approached this with an open mind, despite the negative reviews here. I may revisit the stuff from "New Jersey" through this one.

I do sometimes wonder what I would think of some of these releases from the classic bands if they were coming from new and unknown bands... Most of us are predisposed to either liking or not liking an album based on what we know about the artist's previous work. So I did give this one more of a chance because I've liked Bon Jovi in the past. But be that as it may, I do like this one on its own merits.
#10 | reyno-roxx on December 04 2009 20:58:02
I think this album is probably the best Bon Jovi have delivered since 'Keep The Faith', but it's by no means the greatest thing since sliced bread.....
#11 | Benthecat on December 26 2009 20:02:23
This CD has really got a wide variety of opinions from music lovers and BJ fans alike. It all depends what people expect from them - and there is obviously a lot of different ideas of what is expected. Personally I really like The Circle and think it is one of their better CD's. The only track I don't think too much of is Fast Cars but don't mind it. Otherwise its great stuff. I think Jeffrey343 post makes more sense than any other here with an good explanation and I think he is spot on.
#12 | gdazegod on December 27 2009 01:25:17
This is one band I really can't be bothered with anymore. There are far more interesting bands than this lot. If I had my way, I would ban all reviews of this band from 1990 onwards.. lol! guns
#13 | Benthecat on December 28 2009 02:29:42
Personally I am open to BJ changing their style here and there but as long as they still sound like Bon Jovi - which to my ears they do, very much so on 'The Circle'. I enjoy everything that they have put out from the beginning, but some more than others, including their very personal 'Lost Highway'. No, they don't rock anymore like they did in their first few CD's, but why should they. I don't mind anay bands changing their styles as long as I enjoy listening to it and they don't turn to rap. Just my thoughts for what they are worth.
#14 | dangerzone on December 28 2009 04:59:03
The aspect that made BJ so popular was that they did rock. Then they (JBJ) decided I guess they were too good for that. Seems to me this band is obsessed with erasing their past. It might have been a long time ago but I don't hear other bands who have been around as long playing it as safe as these guys. I'm well past the point of defending bands with comments like 'why should they.' More like 'why shouldn't they?' bugs
#15 | Benthecat on January 03 2010 07:16:40
"Why shouldn't they'? You need to ask them that. But if BJ are so 'obsessed' with erasing their past why do they cover all their past hits consistantly during every concert for near on 2 1/2 hours? They do know that is what fans want to hear play them consistantly. And I don't understand why it is that so many people want to hear a SWW part 2,3.4, etc. Even if they did 'rock' it up to the level you expect, does that mean they will be top of the charts again? I don't think so. I personally would get bored of them if they did releaseSmileThumbs Up SWW's over and over again. I like the variety they give us listeners now. I have a CD from them I can play for every occasion and enjoy the lyrical matter in most of their songs, whether old or new. I do agree on one thing though, I would like to hear more Richie Sambora solo's!
Anyway, it's all good as long as we still have the music from someone.
#16 | jeffrey343 on June 23 2010 20:15:30
My wife and sons really like this one, so it gets played a lot in the car. I liked it pretty well when I got it, and it has grown on me more since then. It's not the same kind of AOR I usually listen to, and it definitely is different from the band's earlier stuff. I have the first four albums and a couple of later singles on the flash drive in that car, so we can listen to a lot of Bon Jovi easily.

I will say I would have been disappointed if this same album came out in 1988 following 'Slippery When Wet'. But now, as I'm a lot older and slightly more mellow, it works well for me.
#17 | jeffrey343 on December 08 2013 20:07:20
While writing my review for the latest Daughtry album, I remembered this one. Seems like I made a decent attempt to defend it over three years ago. That was before all the great albums of 2011, plus more great stuff since, so this one did get ignored over the past 2+ years. I listened to it again last night, and it really didn't move me much. I believe this is one that sounds OK if I'm playing a lot of similar modern stuff. But it definitely doesn't seem to fit in when I'm playing more typical stuff for me. There is nothing on here I'd put on a Bon Jovi playlist. We'll see how much I reach for this in the future, but I think I have enough newer material that appeals to me that this one won't be played much.
#18 | gdazegod on December 29 2013 13:23:58
It's just as well we steered clear of their 2013 release.. I did have aspirations to review it, until I listened to it.. puke..
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