Bon Jovi: The Circle [2009]

Released November 10, 2009
Recorded 2008–2009
Sanctuary Studios, NJ
Henson Recording Studios, CA
Genre Hard rock
Length 52:47
Label Island
Producer John Shanks, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora

The Circle is the eleventh studio album by rock band Bon Jovi. Produced by John Shanks, the album was released November 10, 2009.[1] The album debuted at #1 in several countries, including the U.S., where it sold 163,000 copies in its first week debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200.[2]

The Circle takes the band back to the rock n’ roll roots after their prior Nashville influenced album Lost Highway. The Circle inspired by the economic meltdown and political turmoil around the world.

In an interview given to Rolling Stone Magazine, guitarist Richie Sambora says the album is a return to “rock and roll” and said “There’s going to be some big choruses on there. It sounds like Bon Jovi, but it sounds fresh. We experimented with a lot of new sounds and had a really good time working with John Shanks, who is also a really good guitar player, so he and I did a lot of ‘weaseling’ with the guitar sounds. There are a lot of really good guitar sounds and new kind atmospheres on the new Bon Jovi record, that I think makes it really modern. I think people are going to dig it, man. And it rocks hard.”[3]

In an interview on UK radio station Absolute Radio, Jon Bon Jovi stated the album title has multiple meanings. It stands for the fact that a circle is never ending, and that it also refers to Bon Jovi’s inner circle – stating that “in this organization, the circle is very difficult to get into, and even more difficult to get out of.”[4]

The lead single, “We weren’t Born To Folow” is about the tough times we are experiencing in this economic crisis. Work for the Working Man was also written about the DHL plant that closed in Ohio. Before the official release of the album, U.S. President Barack Obama‘s chief adviser David Axelrod had the lyrics to “Work for the Working Man” framed and hung in his White House office.[5]

The album is the first record since 1988’s “New Jersey” not to feature bonus tracks (all the subsequent albums from 1992’s “Keep The Faith” through to 2007’s “Lost Highway” have included songs not available in the USA). Lead singer Jon Bon Jovi has stated that there were one or two songs that he left off the album that could have been bonus tracks which he wanted to keep for the Greatest Hits.

The Circle debuted at the number-one position with sales of 163,000 copies on the U.S. Billboard 200.[2] It debuted at the number-one position with the sales of around 67,000 copies on the Japanese Oricon weekly album charts, becoming their fifth number-one album on the Japanese chart. Because of the album’s number-one debut, the band tied the Oricon charts’ record of having five number-one albums as a Western artist, which was held by Mariah Carey and Simon & Garfunkel.[7]

Initial critical response to The Circle was average. Nigel Britto of the Times of India observed that the album marked a ‘return to tradition’ and served as a ‘breath of fresh air’ to those that found the band’s recent material corny.[8] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 52, based on ten reviews. The album received a 79/100 from billboard.com praising the group for returning to their rock roots.

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. We Weren’t Born to Follow”   Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora 4:03
2. When We Were Beautiful”   Bon Jovi, Sambora, Billy Falcon 5:18
3. “Work for the Working Man”   Bon Jovi, Sambora, Darrell Brown 4:04
4. Superman Tonight”   Bon Jovi, Sambora, Falcon 5:12
5. “Bullet”   Bon Jovi, Sambora 3:50
6. “Thorn in My Side”   Bon Jovi, Sambora 4:05
7. “Live Before You Die”   Bon Jovi, Sambora 4:17
8. “Brokenpromiseland”   Bon Jovi, Sambora, John Shanks, Desmond Child 4:57
9. “Love’s the Only Rule”   Bon Jovi, Sambora, Falcon 4:38
10. “Fast Cars”   Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child 3:16
11. “Happy Now”   Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child 4:21
12. “Learn to Love”   Bon Jovi, Sambora, Child 4:39
Total length:
52:47

 Lyrics

1. We Weren’t Born To Follow

This one goes out to man who mines for miracles
This one goes out to the ones in need
This one goes out to the sinner and the cynical
This ain’t about no apology

This road was paved by the hopeless and the hungry
This road was paved by the winds of change
Walking beside the guilty and the innocent
How will you raise your hand when they call your name

Yeah, yeah, yeah

We weren’t born to follow
Come on and get up off your knees
When life is a bitter pill to swallow
You gotta hold on to what you believe
Believe that the sun will shine tomorrow
And that saints and sinners bleed
We weren’t born to follow
You gotta stand up for what you believe
Let me here you say yeah, yeah, yeah, oh yeah

This one’s about anyone who does it differently
This one’s about the one who curses and spits
This ain’t about our livin in a fantasy
This ain’t about givin up or giving in

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

We weren’t born to follow
Come on and get up off your knees
When life is a bitter pill to swallow
You gotta hold on to what you believe
Believe that the sun will shine tomorrow
And that saints and sinners bleed
We weren’t born to follow
You gotta stand up for what you believe
Let me hear you say yeah, yeah, yeah, oh Yeah
Let me hear you say yeah, yeah, yeah, oh yeah

We weren’t born to follow
Come on and get up off your knees
When life is a bitter pill to swallow
You gotta hold on to what you believe
Believe that the sun will shine tomorrow
And that saints and sinners bleed
We weren’t born to follow
You gotta stand up for what you believe
Let me here you say yeah, yeah, yeah, oh yeah
Let me here you say yeah, yeah, yeah, oh yeah
We weren’t born to follow, oh yeah
We weren’t born to follow, oh yeah

2. When We Were Beautiful

The world is cracked
The sky is torn
I’m hanging in
You’re holding on

I can’t pretend
That nothings changed
Living in the shadows
Of the love we made

Back… When we were beautiful
Before the world got small
Before we knew it all
Back… When we were innocent
I wonder where it went
Let’s go back and find it

Sha la la Sha la la hey Sha la la
Sha la la Sha la la hey Sha la la

Some dreams live
Some will die
But the you and me
Is still alive

Now am I blessed?
Or am I cursed?
Cause the way we are
Aint the way we were

Back… When we were beautiful
Before the world got small
Before we knew it all
Back… When we were innocent
I wonder where it went
Let’s go back and find it

The world is cracked
The sky is torn
So much less
Meant so much more

Back… When we were beautiful
Before the world got small
Before we knew it all
Back… When we were innocent
I wonder where it went
Let’s go back and find it

Back… When we were beautiful
Back… When we were beautiful
Back… When we were beautiful
Back… When we were beautiful

Sha la la Sha la la hey Sha la la
Sha la la Sha la la hey Sha la la

3. Work For The Working Man

I’m here trying to make a living
I ain’t living just to die
Never getting back what I’m giving
Wont someone help me, someone justify
Why these strong hands are on the unemployment line
And theres nothing left, whats on my mind
Whoooaa oooh

Whos gonna work for the working man (work)
Work for the working man (work)
Get the hands in the dirt, whos gonna work of the curse (work)
Brother Ive been damned (work), if I dont raise a hand (work)
Work for the work, work, work for the working man (work)
Working man

Empty pockets full of worries
I had to get two jobs and it was hard enough just getting by
But with the grace of God I’m getting us through
But only know that I know how to do
That I’m the only one whos gotta look my family in the eye
Day after day, night after night
Whoaaaaa oooh

Whos gonna work for the working man (work)
Work for the working man (work)
Get the hands in the dirt, whos gonna work of the curse (work)
Brother I’ve been damned (work), if I dont raise a hand (work)
Work for the work, work, work for the working man (work)
Working man, Working man, Working man

I lost my pension
They took my ID
These were my friends, these were my dreams
These were my hopes, these are my dreams
Can you hear me?

Whos gonna work for the working man (work)
Work for the working man (work)
Get the hands in the dirt, whos gonna work of the curse (work)
Brother I’ve been damned (work), if I dont raise a hand (work)
Work for the work, work, work for the working man (work)
Working man, working man, working man

These were my friends, these were my dreams
These were my hopes, these are my streets

4. Superman Tonight

There’s something about you
I want to rescue
I don’t even know you
So what does that mean

Maybe I’m cynical
I’m painfully logical
You’re tragic and beautiful
And that’s good enough for me

You’re looking for a
Hero, but it’s just my
Old tattoo
Tonight I swear I’d sell my
Soul to be a hero for you

Who’s going to save you
When the stars fall from your sky
And who’s going to pull you in
When the tide gets too high
Who’s going to hold you
When you turn out the lights
I won’t lie I wish that I
Could be your superman tonight

If somebody sent you
An angel to save you
What would you tell him to turn him away

That your heart don’t break
That your lips don’t kiss
That life is just a lie
That heaven don’t exist?

Who’s going to save you
When the stars fall from your sky
And who’s going to pull you in
Hen the tide gets too high
Who’s going to hold you
When you turn out the lights
I won’t lie I wish that I
Could be your superman tonight

Who’s going to fix you
The next time you break down
Stranded alone by the side of the road
It’s your baggage that’s
Dragging you down
Don’t look back
Let it go

Ohhh, Ohhhhh

Who’s going to save you
When the stars fall from your sky
And who’s going to pull you in
When the tide gets too high
Who’s going to hold you
When you turn out the lights
I won’t lie I wish that I
Was that superman

Who’s going to save you
When the stars fall from your sky
And who’s going to pull you in
When the tide gets too high
Who’s going to hold you
When you turn out the lights
I won’t lie I wish that I
Could be your superman tonight

Woooah, woooah, woooah ohhh
Woooah, woooah, woooah ohhh
Woooah, woooah, woooah ohhh
Woooah, woooah, woooah ohhh

5. Bullet

Yeah, Yeah
Yeah, Yeah
Yeah, Yeah
Yeah, Yeah

Dateline early sunday morning
Shots ring out without a warning
No one seems to even blink in this town
Two dead and a baby missing
Sirens screaming in the distance
A mother pleading bring my baby home now

For the pink slip of an suv
A night cut down with tragedy
His defense another generation breakdown

Yeah, Yeah

What is the distance between a bullet and a gun
God are you listening
Or have you just given up

Yeah, Yeah
Yeah, Yeah

Corporate countries go to war
Behind the lies they’re fighting for
And black gold from an old king’s soul won his round
How can someone take a life
In the name of god and say it’s right
How does money lead to greed
When there’s still hungry mouths to feed

Yeah, Yeah

What is the distance between a bullet and a gun
God are you listening
Or have you just given up

We need forgiveness
We all need a lot of love….

We need some hope
We need it now
A little faith man help me out
I’ll learn to pray
But it’s too late now

Yeah, Yeah

What is the distance between a bullet and a gun
God are you listening
Or have you just given up

What is the distance between a bullet and a gun
We need forgiveness
We all need a lot of love…
A lot of love…

6. Thorn In My Side

Thorn in my side
You’re always there
Just to remind me
That I still care
Thorn in my side
You won’t let me go
Right there beside me
To let me know

I’ve been pushed around
Been knocked down
Lost a round or three
Life took a couple of things I loved
When I was too blind to see

But I’ll survive
I gave up on luck but I’m still getting by
Yeah I’m going to be alright
You can test my faith
But you can’t take my pride
Thorn in my side

Thorn in my side
You just won’t quit
Once in a while when I crack a smile
You rub my face in it
Thorn in my side
You won’t let me run
God bless the fights
That I’ve lost and won

But I’ll survive
I gave up on luck but I’m still getting by
Yeah I’m going to be alright
You can test my faith
But you can’t take my pride
Thorn in my side

I’ve been pushed around
Been knocked down
Lost a round or three
Life took a couple of things I loved
When I was too blind to see

But I’ll survive
I gave up on luck but I’m still getting by
Yeah I’m going to be alright
You can test my faith
But you can’t take my pride
Thorn in my side

7. Live Before You Die

I was a little boy of 9 years old
The whole world in his hands
Trying to toss that ball across the yard
A game of catch with my old man
He would always say I’m sorry
Every time he had to leave
And I was much too young to understand
When he would say to me

When you’re young, you always think
The sun is going to shine
There will come a day when you have to say hello to Goodbye
Sit on down son take my hand
Look me in the eye
Take these words, promise me
You’ll live before you die

I was barely seventeen, summer of seventy-nine
Already I was feeling like I was running out of time
I had this girl, we fell in love
Or Should I say that she had me
Then one fateful night changed our lives
And made a memory

When you’re young, you always think
The sun is going to shine
There will come a day when you have to say hello to Goodbye
She laid me down, she took my hand
Looked me in the eye
And just before she kissed me she said
You got to live before you die
Live before you die

You learn to love, to live
You fight and you forgive
You learn what’s wrong and right
You Live before you die

I made mistakes, I caught some breaks
But I got no regrets
There’s some things I don’t remember
But one thing I don’t forget

When you’re young, you always think
The sun is going to shine
One day you’re going to have to say hello to Goodbye
Shout it out, let someone somewhere know you’re alive
Take these words wear them well
Live before you die

Live before you die
Hey
Live before you die

You learn to love, to live
You fight and you forgive
You face the darkest night
Just live before you die

8. Brokenpromiseland

Angels falling from the sky
Imagine that, imagine that
Nobody getting out of here alive
No turning back, no turning back

Who’s gonna bail out all our shattered dreams
And scrape some truth off of these city streets
No time for praying, get up off your knees

There’s hope I know
Out on that lonely road
Cause home is where you are and where I am
Breathe in, breathe out
There’s only now
And all I got, I’m holding in my hands
We’re breaking out of
Brokenpromiseland

Let’s close our eyes and just disappear
Slip through the cracks, no looking back
We’ll get a million miles away from here
And let the past just fade to black

So what you learn to live with your regrets
No need to fear what hasn’t happened yet
Life will get you but you can’t forget

There’s hope, I know
Out on that lonely road
Cause home is where you are and where I am
Breathe in, breathe out
There’s only now
And all I got, I’m holding in my hands
We’re breaking out of
Brokenpromiseland

So rise, my falling angel
Come on now, Come on now
Shine Don’t let them break you
Come on now
Come on now
Come on now
Come on now

There hope, I know
Out on that lonely road
Cause home is where you are and where I am
Breathe in, breathe out
There’s only now
And all I got, I’m holding in my hands
We’re breaking out of
Brokenpromiseland

Breaking out of
Brokenpromiseland

Breaking out of
Brokenpromiseland

9. Love’s The Only Rule

I don’t give a damn how it’s supposed to be
That might work for you, it don’t work for me
You write your truth and I’ll write mine
One man’s ceiling’s another man’s sky high

Flying like an aeroplane
Crying like the lonely whistle of a long black train
Dance in the pouring rain
Spit in the eye of a hurricane
Who said life’s got to be so cruel
Love’s the only rule

It’s written in the stars where I fit in
It’s going to hurt sometimes, you got to lose to win
You got your sins and I got mine
Sell your secrets, kiss them all goodbye

Flying like an aeroplane
Alive like a lonely note from John Coltrane
Run like it’s a getaway
Say those things that you shouldn’t say
Think about it, wouldn’t it be cool?
Love’s the only rule

Might be a wrecking ball
Or just a wake up call
Don’t matter where the pieces fall

Woohoo

I’m gonna fly like an aeroplane
Cry like the whistle of a long black train
Dance in the pouring train
I’m alive like a lonely note from John Coltrane
Run like its a getaway
Say those things that you shouldn’t say

Where love, Love’s the only rule
Yes love, Love’s the only rule

10. Fast Cars

How can I defend
“Let’s live for now and not then”
We’re chasing taillights,
Let them fade into the distance
Let’s say the engine stalled and start again

Turn around, let’s turn around
It’s a dark road we been heading down
Trust me tonight I swear I know where we are
We’re gonna run all the lights
We’re gonna blow right through the radar

Fast cars
We are fast cars

How can I pretend The signs don’t say dead end
So many hearts just wind up in a junkyard
Where memories are nothing but spare parts

Turn around, just turn around
And leave the past behind us now
Come on, we ain’t gonna crash
This time we ain’t slowing down
We’ll pull ahead of the pack
Slip thru the cracks cause we are

Fast cars
On a long ride Take your foot off the brake
Let’s just put it in drive
We are fast cars On the inside
There’s no turning back
On the highway of life
Fast cars
We are fast cars

(Sha la, sha la)
Flying through the stop signs
(Sha la, sha la)
Running over bad times
(Sha la, sha la)
Gunning down the daylight
Counting days like white lines
Holding on for our lives

We are fast cars

We are fast cars
On a long ride
Take your foot off the brake
Let’s just put it in drive
We are fast cars
On the inside
There’s no turning back
On this highway tonight

(Sha la, sha la)
(Sha la, sha la)
We are fast cars
(Sha la, sha la)
We are fast cars
We are fast cars

11. Happy Now

What would you say to me
If I told you I had a dream
If I told you everything
Would you tell me to go back to sleep

Take a look in these tired eyes
They’re coming back to life
I know I can change, got hope in my veins
I tell you I ain’t going back to the pain

Can I be happy now?
Can I let my breath out
Let me believe
I’m building a dream
Don’t try to drag me down

I just wanna scream out loud
Can I be happy now?
Been down on my knees
I learned how to bleed
I’m turning my world around

Can I be happy now
Can I break free somehow
I just wanna live again
Love again
Pick my pride up off of the ground

I’m ready to pick a fight
Crawl out of the dark to shine a light
I ain’t throwing stones, got sins of my own
Ain’t everybody just trying to find a way home

Can I be happy now?
Can I let my breath out
Let me believe
I’m building a dream
Don’t try to drag me down

I just wanna scream out loud
Can I be happy now?
Been down on my knees
I learned how to bleed
I’m turning my world around

You’re born then you die, it’s all gone in a minute
I ain’t looking back, ’cause I don’t want to miss it
You better live now
Cause no one’s going to get out alive

Can I be happy now?
Can I let my breath out
Let me believe
I’m building a dream
Don’t try to drag me down

I just wanna scream out loud
Can I be happy now?
Been down on my knees
I learned how to bleed
I’m turning my world around

Can I be happy now? – (oohoohooh)
I’m turning my world around

Can I be happy now?

12. Learn To Love

I have run from the truth
Since the days of my misspent youth
I was hungry for kindness
I was lost in life’s blindness

When you’re born without wings
All you dream of, all you want
Is that feeling of flying
Of rising and climbing

Halle, halle,
We’re one breath away
Halle, halle,
From our judgement day
You Leave it all on the table
If you lose or you win
You’ve got to learn to love the world you’re living in

Always thought I’d die young
In these hands I held the gun
But it’s too late for dying
Now there’s nothing worth hiding

I’ve lost love, lived with shame
I was humbled by my fall from grace
On the steps of decision
It’s revenge or forgiveness

Halle, halle,
We’re one breath away
Halle, halle,
From our judgement day
Leave it all on the table
If you lose or you win
You got to learn to love the world you’re living in

Halle, halle [2x]

Halle, halle,
We’re one breath away
Halle, halle,
From our judgement day
Leave it all on the table
If you lose all you win
You’ve got to learn to love the world you’re living in

Halle, halle, and that’s how it is
You’ve got to learn to love the world you’re living in

Halle, halle

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