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The Circle

Predictable return to stadium soft-rock from former Poodle-permers

Rating: 4 / 10

Colm O'Hare, 25 Nov 2009

More a brand than a band these days Bon Jovi continue to fill stadiums around the world. Following a brief Nashville foray on their last long player, Lost Highway, their 11th studio album finds the New Jersey poodle-perm rockers “going back to their roots”. Perhaps they’re referring to their hair roots, because there’s nothing remotely “rootsy” about the generic metal-pop on offer here. Granted what they do, they do exceedingly well – though they pretty much said all that they had to say on their breakthrough album, Slippery When Wet. And that, lest we forget, was all of 23 years ago.

That said, ‘We Weren’t Born to Follow’ is as good (or as bad) as anything they’ve ever done, while their blue collar ode, ‘Work for The Working Man’ harks back to ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ and ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’. Elsewhere, ‘When We Were Beautiful’ is a truly misguided dirge while ‘Thorn In My Side’ oddly resembles the Eurhythmics hit of the same name. ‘Learn To Love’, a big ballad to make Aerosmith blush, rounds off this predictable affair.

Rating: 4 / 10
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