bonjovi_circlecdBon Jovi: The Circle

I am by no means an analytical master like George is. He may call this a “Review,” but I call this my thoughts on the new CD.

First let me preface this with a one major fact about Bon Jovi the Band and myself. They are one of the three bands (Bon Jovi, Guns N Roses, and Alice in Chains) that inspired me to pick up a guitar and learn to play. To want to learn how to song write and not just hammer away at a guitar. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora were inducted into the Song Writers Guild Hall of Fame this year and for very good reasons.

I’ve loved most of their work. Even though most of the CDs during the 00’s have been a bit of a miss on the whole, I give them credit for still turning out some “hit” songs that the fans have ate up and loved. They have had some decent songs off of each of those CDs – Crush, Bounce, Have a Nice Day, and Lost Highway.

If anyone is wondering, my favorite Bon Jovi CD is their “bastard record” These Days. They rarely play any songs from it. Since it wasn’t popular and was more of a personal CD for Jon Bon Jovi they decided to steer clear of it. Every once in a blue moon they will play “Diamond Ring” off that CD, which is a song of their I truly love.

Here we are in 2009 and now comes, “The Circle.” A CD that Jon says is like a loop of everything they’ve done as well as adding a new sound to the band. This CD has songs that have familiar sounds from previous songs they’ve written, but then there’s songs that have the sound that I will dub “The Circle Sound.” The sound is like U2 meets light 80s synth pop meets Bon Jovi. As intended by the band, every song on the CD manages to try and have the “big choruses” like older hit songs. They said the idea behind this CD was to have all of the songs ready for the stadium. Songs that everyone can sing along with. Soaring guitars, soaring vocals in the choruses, catchy lyrics, Etc. I feel they’ve done just that.

The Tracks and my quick thoughts on them:

We Weren’t Born To Follow: It keeps in tradition with the more upbeat anthems that us fans of the band have grown to love. It’s the same feel as Everyday. Have A Nice Day. It’s My Life. It’s a well written song. It features a more searing Richie Sambora solo than we’ve heard in many records.

When We Were Beautiful: This is a song that Jon says is unlike anything he’s written before. There’s nothing they’ve done that’s really close to this song. Possibly, “Something To Believe In” off of the CD These Days. It’s a nice look at the world, the band, or what ever you feel from the song. It’s got a nice semi-haunting yet upbeat feeling to it. It’s my favorite song off the CD. Richie’s Solo is caked in reverb and sounds just like his guitar work off of his first solo CD Stranger In This Town… The solo fits the song extremely well. This is a The Circle Sound.

Work For The Working Man: The bass line feels like it could have came from the Slippery When Wet days. It has the same dancing bass line that will make you automatically think of “Living On A Prayer.” The theme of this song is the working man. The current recession of 2008-2009… It’s trying to be uplifting as well. Another nice solo by Richie that fits with the song.

Superman Tonight: It’s another Bon Jovi ballad that starts of quiet and then builds to soaring guitars to make it a nice mid tempo song. Another song of wanting to be the man in a woman’s life. This is a The Circle Sound.

Bullet: Starts off with some nice Talk Box guitars and has the nice drum line from Keep the Faith. The rest of the guitars are nice and crunchy. Slightly heavier than what we’re used to hearing from Richie. A nice crunchy riffy solo by Richie. Has some of his signature bends. I’m not exactly sure what the message is in this song. This is a The Circle Sound.

Thorn In My Side: A mid temp song that’s talking about being pushed down, kicked around, etc. Losing things, but surviving. Sounds like a song that could have come out of the 80s synth pop, but yet is another song that has The Circle Sound.

Live Before You Die: Starts off with a nice piano line and strings are thrown in for good measure. Sounds like a song that could have come from the “Have A Nice Day” CD. This is a song about growing up. Saying goodbye to the past and growing up.

Brokenpormiseland: This song could have been on a U2 CD. Very different for Bon Jovi as a band. This song is part of The Circle sound. The theme of the song is about breaking out and getting away. Hope of breaking out and being free. It’s got a nice catchy sound. Richie has a nice solo that fits with the song as well. David Bryan’s keyboard playing is very

Love’s The Only Rule: It is a synth pop style 80s song. The title says it all about what the song is about. Pushing out hate etc.

Fast Cars: A mid temp song. Fast Cars is in reference to people and love. Leaving the past behind.

Happy Now: Sounds like a song that could have come off the New Jersey CD. The lyrics are about being down, but asking god if you can be happy now. Getting past all the garbage and crap that happens in life. To love again. Another Richie solo that fits with the song.

Learn To Love: A slower song. This is a Jon song. It’s got a nice big chorus. It shows that Jon still has it and that he’s not lost it in his voice yet. The song is about not giving up. Putting the gun down. Moving on. Having faith.

My Final Words:

I feel that the layout of the songs is a little off pace. Some songs don’t really flow from one to the other. It’s still the same Bon Jovi lyrics of being the working man and having it hard. Of losing love and gaining love. Having faith and pushing on. This is one of those CDs that you need to listen to a few times and then “BAMM!!!” It starts growing on you. You end up knowing the main chorus hooks before you even know it. If you take the whole group of songs and look at them as a record, this is easily the best CD that Bon Jovi has put out in the 2000’s. Even some non-fans of Bon Jovi will find songs on this record that they they’ll have a hard time not liking.

My favorite song of the CD is, “When We Were Beautiful.” I love this song. It reminds me of my years in HS. Some of my friends. My HS girlfriend before we got older and grew up and saw the world differently.

For you fans, this is a must buy. Enjoy it. It’s their best work this Decade.

-Ted Rorabaugh