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 Post subject: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:38 pm 
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Location: Canterbury, New Brunswick, Canada
Favorite Band: Y&T, Rush, Van Halen, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Journey, April Wine, many more
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Released: 2009
Label: Island
Produced by John Shanks
Co-produced by JBJ and Richie Sambora

Personnel:
Jon Bon Jovi - vocals, guitar
Richie Sambora - lead guitar, backing vocals
David Bryan - keyboards, backing vocals
Tico Torres - drums
Hugh McDonald - bass
(somebody's got to list poor Hugh as a band member)

I realize this album is coming up on three years old, but it's hardly a "Cut From the Crypt" either. Anyway, my wife asked for a list of CDs to get me this year for Christmas, and this was one of the few I could think of that I hadn't picked up yet, that she could probably find readily, and without consulting my favourite store, amazon LOL.

You might recall I reviewed their 1984 debut in "Cuts..." a long while back. Bon Jovi is a band that I have definite mixed emotions about. Aside from a handful of cuts, I haven't been blown away by anything they've done in almost two decades. However, the fact remains that this band will always have VITAL importance to me. I used to say, they were the band that introduced me to hard rock music. Let me amend that, they're the band that made me a serious music fan, period. When Slippery When Wet made it big, I like so many other 12 year old kids went out and bought it. Bon Jovi was the band that made me stop recording songs off the radio, and actually go out and buy music. Read the liner notes. Learn who the band members were...the producers, songwriters, record companies, EVERYTHING. I started buying Circus, Hit Parader, Metal Edge, etc. I saw the 1st album and 7800 Fahrenheit inside the Slippery liner notes, and bought those too. The first album I ever waited excitedly for release day was New Jersey. Fast forward to early '93, my very first concert was, you guessed it, Bon Jovi. Even MET Jon that day.

Having said that, they've changed SO MUCH from the fun-loving, anthemic pop metal band I became obsessed with so long ago. I admire Jon and Co. for being the ONLY band of their era to sustain success, even if it meant "going country" and making some damn strange career choices. (I still can't get my head around that This Left Feels Right fiasco, which along with Lost Highway I refuse to have in CD collection.)

Now it's review time, so buckle up baby, it's a bumpy ride :mrgreen:

1) We Weren't Born to Follow - I actually came close to snapping this CD up right quick when I first heard this first single. A successor to "Have a Nice Day," which followed "It's My Life," etc, etc... Even though the rest of the album doesn't exactly stick to this song's formula, in my opinion, this kind of anthemic rock is what Bon Jovi's always done best. Effortless hummable IMHO.
2) When We Were Beautiful - A slower, building but still anthemic song; I think this is one of those songs where they're trying to sound like U2 or Springsteen or something. Picks up a bit of steam toward the end.
3) Work For the Working Man - Um...two things. My first thought when this song kicks off with a VERY familiar bassline, was "guys, seriously, you've already done "Livin' on a Prayer" umpteen times, do we really need to do it again?" But once the chorus kicks in, I realized it wasn't "Prayer" I was being reminded of, it was Midnight Oil's "Beds are Burning." It's really not a bad song, but caveat emptor. There's nothing remotely hard rocking on here, everything's got that electric but clean electric sound to it. On the plus side, no fiddles, dobros, pedal steel guitar, or Jennifer Nettles either.
4) Superman Tonight - A soft intro and I figured we were heading into the inevitable ballad territory. Actually no, it's more in the vein of "In These Arms," mid-tempo rock track. I actually think I can hear Richie more prominently on this chorus. He's always been Bon Jovi's sadly under-utilized secret weapon in the vocal department. Seriously, listen to his Stranger in This Town CD.
5) Bullet - This one sounds a little tougher, but obviously it's modern-day Bon Jovi's version of "tougher." Lyrically, this one's a sequel to 1995's "Hey God," the one lonely rocker on These Days, the album where I knew "my" band was heading somewhere I didn't want to go. Nice, gritty but too-short solo from Richie. Also sounds like they stole the drums from the Rolling Stones "Sympathy For the Devil" and looped them in the background.
6) Thorn in My Side - Six songs in and nothing really "fun" on this album. This is the first song which has some of those country influences, but not overly so. I gotta say though, after all this JBJ "earnestness," I could sure go for a light-hearted fun song like "Raise Your Hands" or "99 in the Shade." Another nice solo from Richie, nice to see they haven't forgotten guitar solos.
7) Live Before You Die - After another country-ish feeling intro, this is a classic Bon Jovi storytelling song. Maybe it's just my ears doing some "wishful listening," but do I hear a heavy guitar tone buried behind the strings in the chorus? Nothing really "bad" so far, but the overtly serious feel starts to wear the listener down by this point. At least this listener.
8 ) Brokenpromiseland - Well, don't go looking for it just yet ha ha. Although this sounds a little more classic Bon Jovi, probably due to the fact that this is the first track on the album to feature a Desmond Child co-writing credit, curiously on the last four out of five tracks. Bet he and his accountants weren't thrilled about that. Interesting kind of "chanting" on this one?
9) Love's the Only Rule - Kind of a Who-ish guitar figure starts this one off, with Tico's bass drum thumping quietly in the background, so at least you know it's not going to be a slow one. Pretty good chorus on this one, not exactly fist-pumping but it's really the only other track on here (besides "We Weren't Born to Follow") that would classify as "arena rock." I bet if the boys could have seen into their own future they probably would never guess they'd be name-checking John Coltrane, although one look at their bankstatements would probably thrill them...ok, unless you're Alec Such. I really like this one.
10) Fast Cars - A faithful yet intrinsically Bon Jovi take on the Tracy Chapman classic..................................
JUST KIDDING!! Thought I'd see if anybody was paying attention. Man, Jon and/or Richie sure like writing about "running all the lights" Nothing really fast or driven about this one, with its odd chorus of "we are fast cars."
11) Happy Now - I need to give a shout out to the "Hit Man" Tico Torres. About the only thing that hasn't changed about Bon Jovi's sound is Tico's rock-solid drumming, which adds at least a little balls to anything the band does. "Can I be happy Now?" asks Jon. Suit yourself dude, you could start by writing in a happier vein once in a while. And no, I don't mean I want you tell us that we actually can go home either!! Two things occurred to me at this point on the album. a) again, another overly ponderous song, yet b) 11 songs into a 12 song album and NO BALLADS. This had to be a deliberate move on their part? I should also say that Jon sings pretty good here, wisely not attempting much of what you'd call high notes. Which is to say, he's not singing out of his nose here.
12) Learn to Live - This must be it, the one ballad. I can live with those odds. Actually, less a ballad, more of an inspirational tune, I mean, they say "Halle, Halle" before the chorus, as in "Hallelujah." It kind of reminds me something Jon might have written on the Blaze of Glory album. That is, if "Young Guns II" had a happy ending.

Well, I must say it's not the total waste of time I thought it might be. I can't see it garnering much repeat airplay with me, but if I was at someone's house and their music collection was mostly pop, country, and well, Bon Jovi, I could hear much worse. Mind you, the longtime fan in me folds his arms and says, "yeah, but they've also done so much better." I know, I know :lol:

_________________
Saturday and Sunday nights from 6pm to 9pm (Atlantic time) playing a mix of old and new rock, at http://www.foxrocks.ca

To watch AND listen to me blather on, I give you Tim's Vinyl Confessions

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2fi5G ... iBkLtUEWFg

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 Post subject: Re: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:29 am 
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Been wondering what Bon Jovi's been sounding like. Dude, I'm digging all these reviews.


:B We're not worthy.

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round the back fudge is made.


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 Post subject: Re: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:51 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
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To be completely honest, I've never even heard of this album... After "New Jersey," my Bon Jovi purchases have a been somewhat spotty... and my listening far more spotty. With some of their post-zillion selling titles ("Crush" and "Have A Nice Day" come to mind), I'd hear the single and like it, then buy the album... get through two or three of the other songs, and then quickly lose interest.

This sounds like more of the same, really. I'm not sure what happened to them... It's not that their newer material is bad by any means, but somewhere along the way, they seem to have lost that signature "formula" that served them so well through the 80s. I really think that if they had just continued doing what they were doing, they could have continued to sell millions of records all through the Grunge-laden 90s and rap-crap 00's... completely oblivious to what was happening with the rest of the musical world. In some cases, the most successful bands in the world do just that... turn off the radio and just do exactly what they always do.

I enjoyed "Blaze Of Glory"... but sometimes I think that recording those old-school Western tracks gave JBJ an unhealthy taste for tumbleweed. :lol:



:BB Steve



PS ~ Another great review, bro... :B

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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 Post subject: Re: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:48 am
Posts: 939
Location: Canterbury, New Brunswick, Canada
Favorite Band: Y&T, Rush, Van Halen, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Journey, April Wine, many more
Facebook: Tim Durling
Ok that last line is gold Steve!!

I know a lot of old-school fans bailed with Keep the Faith, but I actually really enjoyed that one. But since then, yeah a few decent cuts here and there. Except "It's My Life," that's a modern-day BJ classic.

_________________
Saturday and Sunday nights from 6pm to 9pm (Atlantic time) playing a mix of old and new rock, at http://www.foxrocks.ca

To watch AND listen to me blather on, I give you Tim's Vinyl Confessions

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2fi5G ... iBkLtUEWFg

https://twitter.com/TimsVinyl

https://www.facebook.com/timsvinylconfessions


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 Post subject: Re: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:08 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
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Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 11:51 pm
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Location: South of Heaven
Favorite Band: Pinkmaiden Rainsabbath Zeppepriest
Canuck wrote:
Ok that last line is gold Steve!!

I know a lot of old-school fans bailed with Keep the Faith, but I actually really enjoyed that one. But since then, yeah a few decent cuts here and there. Except "It's My Life," that's a modern-day BJ classic.


Yep. One of the tunes that made me buy the album, only to be fairly bored by the rest of it.

That said, I just went over to Amazon and ordered a shit load of their stuff... just so I can guilt you out if it all sucks. :P

Actually, one of the perks of a multimillion selling band is that their used stuff is usually dirt cheap. :lol:

Incidentally, I can't believe how many friggin' DVDs they have out... :shock:



:BB Steve

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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 Post subject: Re: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:33 am 
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 8:34 am
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Favorite Band: The Electric Mayhem
Facebook: sucks royal ass!
You fuggers got my toe a-tapping now. It's My Life is stuck in my head.

_________________
Milk, milk, lemonade,
round the back fudge is made.


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 Post subject: Re: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:15 am 
The Lord of Destruction
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Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 11:51 pm
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Location: South of Heaven
Favorite Band: Pinkmaiden Rainsabbath Zeppepriest
bildo wrote:
You fuggers got my toe a-tapping now. It's My Life is stuck in my head.


I thought you said you didn't have a life... but maybe that's just me. :wink:

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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 Post subject: Re: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:02 am 
Heavy Metal Cyber-Sleuth
User avatar
Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 8:34 am
Posts: 40784
Location: Uranus
Favorite Band: The Electric Mayhem
Facebook: sucks royal ass!
RockHard wrote:
bildo wrote:
You fuggers got my toe a-tapping now. It's My Life is stuck in my head.


I thought you said you didn't have a life... but maybe that's just me. :wink:


Oh, I can definitely hear that song in my head. It's just not my voice that's singing it. :lol:


Why am I laughing again? :|

_________________
Milk, milk, lemonade,
round the back fudge is made.


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 Post subject: Re: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:48 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
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Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 11:51 pm
Posts: 31626
Location: South of Heaven
Favorite Band: Pinkmaiden Rainsabbath Zeppepriest
bildo wrote:
RockHard wrote:
bildo wrote:
You fuggers got my toe a-tapping now. It's My Life is stuck in my head.


I thought you said you didn't have a life... but maybe that's just me. :wink:


Oh, I can definitely hear that song in my head. It's just not my voice that's singing it. :lol:


Why am I laughing again? :|


Well, thank God for that. :wink:

My copy came in the mail yesterday, along with a truckload of other Bon Jovi stuff... I wonder how long it'll take me to give this a spin? :shock:



:BB Have A Nice Day

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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 Post subject: Re: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:42 am 
Heavy Metal Cyber-Sleuth
User avatar
Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 8:34 am
Posts: 40784
Location: Uranus
Favorite Band: The Electric Mayhem
Facebook: sucks royal ass!
RockHard wrote:
bildo wrote:
RockHard wrote:
bildo wrote:
You fuggers got my toe a-tapping now. It's My Life is stuck in my head.


I thought you said you didn't have a life... but maybe that's just me. :wink:


Oh, I can definitely hear that song in my head. It's just not my voice that's singing it. :lol:


Why am I laughing again? :|


Well, thank God for that. :wink:

My copy came in the mail yesterday, along with a truckload of other Bon Jovi stuff... I wonder how long it'll take me to give this a spin? :shock:



:BB Have A Nice Day


Out of respect of the review and reviewer you will put it relatively close to the top of the stack. That's what I'm wagering on.

Now show me the money!!!

_________________
Milk, milk, lemonade,
round the back fudge is made.


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 Post subject: Re: Bon Jovi - The Circle
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:01 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
User avatar
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 11:51 pm
Posts: 31626
Location: South of Heaven
Favorite Band: Pinkmaiden Rainsabbath Zeppepriest
bildo wrote:
RockHard wrote:
bildo wrote:
RockHard wrote:
bildo wrote:
You fuggers got my toe a-tapping now. It's My Life is stuck in my head.


I thought you said you didn't have a life... but maybe that's just me. :wink:


Oh, I can definitely hear that song in my head. It's just not my voice that's singing it. :lol:


Why am I laughing again? :|


Well, thank God for that. :wink:

My copy came in the mail yesterday, along with a truckload of other Bon Jovi stuff... I wonder how long it'll take me to give this a spin? :shock:



:BB Have A Nice Day


Out of respect of the review and reviewer you will put it relatively close to the top of the stack. That's what I'm wagering on.

Now show me the money!!!


It's in a stack of 16 CDs sitting next to me that are nowhere near getting ripped to MP3, much less listened to.

Respect? Seriously? Who did you think I was when you wrote that? :?

Now pay me, sucker. :mrgreen:



:BB Confidence Man

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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