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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 31 August 2003
Being a big fan of his previous work i was expecting a CD in a very similar vain. Reading the comments from other users it did seem as if this album would be slightly different - but i figured it would inevitably just be slightly funkier.
Upon looking at the CC it becomes immediately apparent that he has collaborated with pretty much anyone of note on the album - Erykah Badu, Mary J Blige, Omar and Bilal just to name a few. And its pretty much every track.
First listen of the album and the reaction was 'what the hell?' I pretty much hated it. One or 2 tracks did stand out (most notable track 10) but apart from that it just sounded over produced with far too much going on in each song and definitely a huge step away from his previous efforts of chilled out beats and stunning lyrics. I was very disappointed and put it to one side.
But i felt it deserved another airing last week and threw it in the car .. once again i didnt like it much .. but rather then skipping forward to the next track i persevered with each track in turn. It was then i discovered how amazing the album is.
To put such an album together with such a variety of sounds, collaborators and tunes really takes a special person - COmmon is that person. The album is still a mix of style - but thats good. We have become conditioned to listening to one type of album .. to throw it all out fo the window and try several different styles on one album is really brave - but it works ... and works well.
So in short buy the album and listen to it a few times .. and as always with Common - its all about the lyrics.
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on 16 December 2002
Okay, this is a fantastic hip-hop album. But that's what it is - a hip-hop album. While Amazon, as well as others, have characterized Electric Circus as some sort of genre-bending novelty, it is not. It is what hip-hop should be.
It's original, yes. It's got some guitar chords thrown in there and it gets a little spacey at times (not in a boring way), but at its core it is a hip-hop album. Thumping beats, Common's impeccable rhymes and, like I said, the fact that it doesn't sound like everything else out there earn it an easy five stars.
Along with The Roots' Phrenology, Hi-Tek's Hiteknology, Talib Kweli's High Quality and Slum Village's Trinity albums (guess there's an odd theme of albums ending in "y"), this ranks in the top five hip-hop albums of 2002. I just bought it a couple of days ago, so right now I'd put it number one, but I get euphoric about these things.
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on 3 February 2005
For the followup to 'Like Water For Chocolate' Common has teamed up with The Soulquarians again and they prove to be a winning team again.
'Electric Circus' sounds nothing like LWFC. It still has the same soul in it but Common & Co. added a lot of psycedelic influences in it. The result is an eclectic album that is inspired by a lot of old music but still sounds modern and inovative at the same time.
The biggest surprise of the album is 'Electric Wire Hustler Flower' wich features members from the NuMetal-unit P.O.D.: somehow this unusual and, lets just face it, discouraging combination proves to be one of the best tracks on the album.
This may not be everyone's cup of tea but 'Electric Circus' is one of those albums that shows how much unexplored teritory there still is in Hip Hop.
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on 25 April 2003
"Hip Hop is changing" notes Chicago-based jazz hop maestro Common on his fifth album.
Which is ironic, really.
Because anyone with two ears and a functioning brain will tell that besides the likes of the Roots, RJD2 and the man himself, hip hop ain't going nowhere. However, is a different kettle of makerel altogether.
Some people have called this album 'ground breaking'; claiming that it will pave the way for a new, more experimental phase in rap.
It won't.
Why?
Because where Common is going, can't nobody follow.
Need proof? Check out 'Electric Wire' (featuring Sonny from God-bothering beefcake rockers POD) for instance. It's abrasive, dangerous and utterly, utterly unique. In fact, my first instinct when I heard it was to turn it off (I was on a crowded train and it made me suddenly became worried that we had crashed - we hadn't). Limp Bizkit and their nu metal underlings can push the rap-rock envelope as much as they want, but 'Electric Wire' is the closest hip hop has ever got to capturing the malevolent spirit of heavy rock.
Likewise, the more commercial tracks such as the stunning/silly 'New Wave' (featuring Laetitia from indie band Stereolab) and 'I Got a Right Ta' just don't sound like anything else anybody has made before, or anything anybody will ever be able to succesfully imitate. The latter track is produced by the Neptunes.
Likewise, in anyone else's hands 'I Love Music' (featuring Jill Scott) would be the absurd track ever recorded. With its jaunty trumpet patterns and lindy hopping rhythm it defies comparison. It sounds kind of like a hip hop version of King Louie's 'I Wanna Be Like You' from Jungle Book. This is a good thing.
They say there's a fine line between madness and genius. But in Common's case it just isn't true - he's far too methodical and purposefully iconoclastic in his approach to music to be considered even slightly 'crazy'.
Basically, the long and short of it is this: if you like hip hop, buy it, because if you don't, you simply don't like hip hop. And if you don't like hip hop, then buy it, because its like nothing you've heard before...
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on 15 January 2003
This album is ground breaking in the same way that "3 feet high and rising" and "It takes a nation of millions..." were. As other reviewers have pointed out it IS hip hop...just not contemporary hip hop as we know it ( ie. spiritually arrid, vacuous, mass produced tosh like Nelly!). This experimentation is the very basis of hip hop:-think flash and bam claiming Kraftwerk and the stones and re-contextualising it in the South Bronx!
This lp mixes sex and spirituality in a way seldom seen since Prince dropped "Sign Of The Times". I would be unsurprised if people slept on this lp as it is contrary to the blandness of nearly everything else out there.
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on 23 April 2005
Common is always been one of the most respected MC's in the Hip-Hop world not only are his beats r fresh and daring he's music also touches on real subjects such as racism and love. Electric Circus is Common's 5th studio album which is hes most experimental and also features a all star cast which includes Erykah Badu, Omar, Bilal, Jill Scott, Cee-Lo, Pharrell & Zap Mama.This is probably my favourite Common album (second being Like Water For Chocolate..obviously).
1.Ferris Wheel (Featuring Marie Daulne & Vinia Mojica Of Zap Mama) - A really strange intro it's very Zap Mama with its cool African/Mother Earth feel 10/10
2.Soul Power - Goes right into this song its more of a freestyle than a real track its not my favourite but he delievers a really great rhyme though it just doesnt grab me like the rest 7/10
3.Aquarius (Featuring Bilal & Erykah Badu) - This a really beautiful song you can definatly hear the Hendrix influences on this one with help on the chorus from the magnificent Bilal & the ever-beautiful Erykah Badu this could have been a single 10/10
4.Electric Wire Hustler Flower (Featuring Sunny Of P.O.D) - This is the worst song on the album its too experimental i really can't stand it 2/10
5.The Hustle (Featuring Dartz Chillz & Omar) - The beat is a bit like J:Lo's "Play" this song is really cool i like the chorus and Dartz Chillz is a really good rapper this song is surprisingly funky 9/10
6.Come Close (Featuring Mary J Blige) - This is one of the most beautiful love songs ive ever heard obviously dedicated to Ms Badu. With the help from the queen of hip-hop soul Mary J Blige this song never ever gets boring i can't stress how much i love it!.If angels made music this would be their influence this was a Neptunes produced track as well which i was surprised 'coz its so mellow and beautiful 10/10
7.New Wave (Featuring Laetitia Sadier Of StereoLab) - This has got a spooky vibe to it with the organ in the background Ms Sadier does a nice job delievering a nice chorus in French 8/10
8.Star 69 (P.S With Love)(Featuring Bilal) - Another song dedicated to Erykah but this time its with Bilal (dont u just love hes voice) 7/10
9.I Got A Right Ta (Featuring Pharrell Williams) - This song really annoys me i only like Pharrell's parts Common doesnt deliever on this track 4/10
10.Between Me, You & Liberation (Featuring Cee-Lo)- This song is a deep one you gotta listen to the lyrics carefully its one of the albums highlights 10/10
11.I Am Music (Featuring Jill Scott)- I have no idea why this wasn't a single this would have done well with the vocal stylings of everyones favourite soul vocalist Jill Scott its funky and soulful Common really delievers on this track its one of the best tracks on the albums 10/10
12.Jimi Was A Rock Star (Featuring Erykah Badu) - At first the song took me a while to like it but i got Common's vibe and where he was comin from on this track.It pays homage to the guitar legend Jimi Hendrix its one of the coolest tracks on the album 10/10
13.Heaven Somewhere (Featuring Omar, Cee-Lo, Bilal, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott & Mary J Blige ) - It starts off with Common tellin us about a friend he knew that got mixed up in some business then from the impression i get from the song the rest of the artists give their interpretation of what Heaven is. This song IS heaven if you love all the artists on the song a really beautiful way to end the album. Jill Scott's part is off the chain!!!! 10/10
Top 5
1.Come Close
2.Heaven Somewhere
3.I am Music
4.Aquarius
5.Between Me, You & Liberation/Jimi Was A Rock Star
This album is a definatly must have i suggust if you like all the artists featured and like bold and experimental music that you go anf buy this
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on 29 April 2003
Have I been listening to the same album as the other reviewers? Common, the greatest MC, has clearly lost sight of what Hip-Hop is all about. He just tries to be TOO creative on this album, I just wish he'd go back to rippin' up mics over dope beats. This is easily his weakest album since his debut, it sort of made me angry listening to it.
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on 9 November 2003
I can see this album has mixed reviews but when I saw the tracklisting and saw who was on it I knew it was worth buying. If you are a fan of real neo soul then this album is for you. It contains everything from electric rock to slow gospel like tunes. Track 13 is bar far the best track for me on this album. It is 10 minutes of sheer pleasure starting with the calming poetry of common and then one by one some of the best neo soul singers at the moment step to the mic and do their thing. Featuring Omar, Bilal, Eryka Badu, Jill Scott and Mary J Blidge each adding thier own unique style but still keeping the vibe of the tune going. What more can I say Try it.
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VINE VOICEon 22 December 2002
Oh my days! This album is what Hip Hop has been missin for the longest! Im talkin about true music! Common has always been a man wid skills on the Mic. Always progressin to that next level. Now let me tell u that Electric Circus is that next level. If u have Heard OutKasts 'Aquemini' album u will love this CD! Like her days wid Andre of OutKast, Erykah Badu has influence on this album.
The album works as a whole all tracks very eclectic and experimental.Produced by the main man ?love of the Roots u know the sound will be soulful. We have Jimi Hendric influenced Guitar riffs, we're talking music wid Common straight rippin it! Im a man that love soul, Bilal, Erykah, Omar, Jill Scott. This is gonna take 2003 by storm as Common has produced Hip Hop that is amazing! Ilove this album its truly a work of art. U need to listen to this CD now!!!
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on 16 December 2002
Okay, this is a fantastic hip-hop album. But that's what it is - a hip-hop album. While Amazon, as well as others, have characterized Electric Circus as some sort of genre-bending novelty, it is not. It is what hip-hop should be.
It's original, yes. It's got some guitar chords thrown in there and it gets a little spacey at times (not in a boring way), but at its core it is a hip-hop album. Thumping beats, Common's impeccable rhymes and, like I said, the fact that it doesn't sound like everything else out there earn it an easy five stars.
Along with The Roots' Phrenology, Hi-Tek's Hiteknology, Talib Kweli's High Quality and Slum Village's Trinity albums (guess there's an odd theme of albums ending in "y"), this ranks in the top five hip-hop albums of 2002. I just bought it a couple of days ago, so right now I'd put it number one, but I get euphoric about these things.
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