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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 5 June 2017
Gets better and better
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on 30 April 2001
I had a lot of expectation for this album. Being a huge fan of country music, I wasn't going to settle for second best. Due to Tim Mcgraw's previous albums, the standards were high. I wanted the emotion of 'My best friend', the distinctive country sound of 'Don't take the girl', and above all something to make me swing just like, 'Where the Green Grass Grows'. The expectaion was high and the expectations were not let down. I wanted to be a critic of this album but I'm not sure I can be. For the traditionalists there's, 'Angry All the Time' and 'Grown Men Don't Cry'. For those who want to get a little carried away in the country beat look no further than 'Telluride'. However, it is in 'Angel Boy' that Mcgraw really makes his mark. This experimental piece laughs behind the backs of all who knock country turned pop. Daring production, magical guitar work, and a distinctive vocal dispense real, hard, raw talent. There may be a cloud hanging over Nashville with all the artists who dare to turn country into a mass-selling pop phenomena, but that cloud isn't Tim Mcgraw. 'Things Change' sings Tim, they most certainly do, so move out because Mcgraw's back!
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on 5 March 2007
If someone had told me a year ago that in 2007 I'd be listening to a CD of 'country' music, I'd have said it was about as likely as developing a taste for the works of John Cage or the plays of Harold Pinter. Yet, here I am, about to write a rave review of a Tim McGraw album. I had no idea who he was until I stumbled upon his Greatest Hits II CD, purely by chance. Having listened to it obsessively, I decided to track down his other recordings. 'Set This Circus Down' is quite simply, a magnificent collection of songs, expertly delivered, by someone clearly at the peak of his vocal powers. Blessed with perfect diction, you can actually hear every word, of every song. This is extremely rare. Most pop, rock, country, stars could be singing selections from the Yellow Pages, for all the sense one can make of their incessant vocal acrobatics. Of course, in some cases, the lyrics are so bad, this may be intentional. Not on this CD. The lyrics clearly mean something, which is which is why Tim McGraw has actually taken the trouble to make sure we can hear them. Mr McGraw may not be a songwriter (or at least, not on this CD) but he clearly has an innate ability to recognise a good song when he hears one and has drawn on some of the best writers in the business for this album.

So what are the highlights? The whole thing kicks off with what sounds like an absolute classic to me - 'The Cowboy in Me' by Craig Wiseman, Jeffrey Steele and Al Anderson. Great tune, great lyrics - 'I got a life that most would love to have but sometimes I still wake up fightin' mad'. Marvellous stuff - you'll find yourself humming this when you least expect it. This is followed by 'Telluride' by Troy Verges and Brett James. This is perfect for playing very loudly as you bomb round the M25. You won't be able to resist joining in with the chorus, which is about as catchy as they come. I have to sing it an octave lower, but Mr McGraw is clearly the 'King of the High Cs' and can hit all the high notes, with apparent ease. 'You Get Used to Somebody' by Tom Shapiro and Steve Bogard is another great song - 'in the middle of the night without a warning I thought I heard you ...' (I worry for a moment that he's about to sing 'snoring', but mercifully, it turns out to be 'breathing'). This is followed by 'Unbroken' by Holly Lamar and Annie Roboff. Wow! If you don't want to belt this one out at high volume, there's something wrong with you. It's got a real caffeine kick to it, with some lyrics which are just the decent side of suggestive - 'I thank God for every day I wake up to the soft touch of your magic hands'. Enough said.

'Things Change' appears to have been written by a committee (Aimee Mayo, Bill Luther, Chris Lindsey and Mary Green). Usually, I'm put off by anything which seems to have been written by a collective, but here, the exception proves the rule. This is a great song about the way in which those who fly in the face of convention eventually come to be accepted as part of the mainstream: 'Well they like to call them hippies, outlaws with guitars ... but somewhere somebody's playing their songs tonight'. This is followed by 'Angel Boy', a breathtakingly brilliant number about transgression and redemption featuring some seriously nifty guitar playing. Is the writer, Danny Orton, a Catholic, I ask myself? Here, lyrics which actually mean something are coupled with yet another unbelievably catchy chorus. 'I've held the hand of the devil, felt his breath on my skin. Dip me into the water, wash me again'. Great stuff, best played loud.

Two more top-notch numbers follow: 'Forget About Us' by Mark Collie and 'Take Me Away From Here' by Steve Bogard and Jeff Stevens (parts of which will keep popping into your head when you least expect it) before we're back to the committee again, with 'Smilin'. I've got to hand it to the four of them, they've done it again with this one. If you're someone who likes to do their own thing, you'll identify with the sentiments of this song: ' Guru man on my TV set, selling the secrets to happiness ... Dreams I've got my own, I ain't looking for a yellow brick road'. Ridiculously hummable as well as being uplifting. Next up is the title track - 'Set This Circus Down', by Bill Luther and Josh Kear. Apologies to the writers, but this just didn't grab me as much as some of the other songs on the album. Neither did 'Angry all the Time' by Bruce Robison. This probably means it was a huge hit.

After this, the committee makes a triumphant return with the gloriously erotic 'Let Me Love You' (have a cold glass of water to hand when you listen to this one). Now, this does sound like a sure-fire hit to me and with lyrics like 'Let me show you what it's like to lose control, free the desire in your soul' I don't see how it could miss. I imagine it might actually be dangerous to sing this one live - things could get out of control.

'Grown Men Don't Cry' (Steve Seskin, Tom Douglas) was the only track I just couldn't bring myself to like. Sorry guys, but the lyrics were of the distinctly cheesy variety which I'd normally associate with country music. Too mawkish for me, but mercifully Tim McGraw resists the temptation to ham the whole thing up - in fact he's a model of restraint. The last track 'Why we Said Goodbye' (Billy Kirsch, Tom Douglas) fell into the same category as 'Set This Circus Down' for me; i.e., there was nothing wrong with it, it was very pleasant, but somehow it didn't seem to pack the same punch as some of the other tracks.

All in all, this is just a terrific album, with a superb selection of songs. Once played, you'll definitely be hooked.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 March 2007
When I first listened to 'Set This Circus Down' I'd never heard of Tim McGraw. After listening for the first time to this stunning album however I was soon scouring the net to find his other albums! As a big Joshua Kadison fan, I've always loved 'story songs' and there are plenty of such like here. Some have the power to make you feel reflective ('Cowboy In Me', 'Things Change' and the title track being especially good examples) some are difficult to listen to because they move you so much ('Forget About Us' and 'Grown Men Don't Cry') and others you can just relate to so easily ('I Guess You Get Used To Somebody' and 'Angry All The Time'). This whole album takes you on an emotional journey and, very soon you will find, becomes part of the soundtrack to your life. Now even I feel a little like a 'good old country boy'! BUY THIS.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 February 2016
I first came across the singer Tim McGraw when I was in America back in 1996 when I was there on holiday. I head the local country and western radio channel play a couple of his songs off his latest album. I really enjoyed listening to him so I decided I’d like to get one of his albums.

I now had seven of Tim’s albums:- “Tim McGraw”, (debut album), “Not and Moment too Soon”, “All I want”, “Everywhere”, “Tim McGraw and the dancehall doctors” , “Live like you were dying” and “Let it go”.

My parents were in America in 2007, they’d already got me Tim’s latest album whilst there but found one I didn’t have which was “Set the Cirrus down” so they got me that one as well.

I love both traditional country and western as well as the up-tempo modern country and western.

I love his voice ad he sings some great country and western songs.

If you were to ask me do I have a favourite I’d have to say yes. It’s the entire CD I really love listening to all the songs.

Tim has gone from strength to strength with each album he’s released.

I love listening to Tim singing as I find his albums great to relax to as they take the stress of the day away and always makes me feel better. :-)

This is another great album of Tim’s to have and I’m pleased it’s in my collection. :-)
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on 13 March 2002
I was wondering if Tim could really come up with another great album following Everywhere and A Place in the Sun - but I love this CD. OK, so it's not traditional Country, but who cares, it hits all the emotions and it's great music. The only track I could take or leave is Let Me Love You - I like Tim McGraw doing New Country music not imitation Ricky Martin music.
This CD is a good buy.
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on 17 April 2012
Every so often you hear an album that you know you'll want to play over and over again; this is one of them. Tim McGraw sits alongside Garth Brooks for me as those C&W singer/songwriters who create albums of very different sounding tracks that when played through properly (none of this Ipod skipping around) really hang together well. This has a couple of really thought-provoking tracks intertwined with some great C&W ballads. It's quite old now (c.2001 I think) but a great addition to any collection - keep it in the car as you'll enjoy it on a long journey...
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VINE VOICEon 29 July 2009
This is the first cd by Tim that I have purchased,reading previous reviews nade me give it a go and what a great album it is.I wouldn't say it is pure country but all the better for it.I love every track and that is a rariety.If you like your nusic with a country tinge then this is for you.I cannot recomend it enough.
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on 20 April 2013
Fairly new to modern country and tim McGraw had really caught me with his superb live befor you die album so I thought I'd try a few others. This album is solid and consistent throughout without quite hitting the heights of his other albums I've heard. His brand new album being a definite recommendation by the way.
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on 27 March 2002
I was so hooked by 'A Place In The Sun', one of my favourite albums of all time and closely followed by 'Everywhere'. Unfortunately I can't agree with some other reveiwers and forgive Tim McGraw for moving away from the real essence of his Country style, in 'Set This Circus Down'. I think the tracks are very similar to each other and are really over worked and over-produced. There are too many extraneous instruments and backing vocals etc.to make this a pure McGraw experience. There is also a limit to how many 'power- ballads' that can be crammed into one album. Please do not let this album set the standard for McGraw, as his previous albums are sublime and one of the best listening experiences you can imagine. I cannot reccommend highly enough that you listen to 'a place in the sun' you will not be disappointed
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