The 1st album to be discovered in “The Amoeba Files” is Lenny Kravitz’s Circus. His 4th album released in 1995 was one of and still is, one of my favorite cds to this day. In my first years of college that thing got some major play and somehow after 15 years, it went missing! After another infamous trip to Amoeba Music here in San Francisco, I’m glad to say its back in my collection as I’m rediscovering the best Lenny Kravitz album ever. Let me tell you why.
The album starts with the released single “Rock and Roll is Dead” which was a statement on the music scene at the time. Its a decent rock song which really jams a couple minutes in. Because it was one of the first riffs I learned on guitar, I have some love for the song. Sadly next, the only misstep occurs on the album. The second song “Circus” kills the flow by being way too slow and a little mundane. A decent song, but my least favorite on the record.
Now this is the best part. You could start the cd here as these four songs go soooo well together. There’s something about albums that have great songs that just flow throughout. That magic. Starting with the cool rocker “Beyond the 7th Sky”, this is probably one of my favorite songs of Kravitz.. A sludgy head-shaker, this is a truly awesome song. “Tunnel Vision” keeps the pace up with a James Brown funk thing with some super sweet guitar playing in the leads and rhythms. “Can’t Get You Off My Mind” is simply his best ballad and a great song to chill and reflect. “Magdalene” keeps this cool vibe going playing as it twists and turns in this in-between rocker/acoustic piece. Something almost timeless about these songs for me as I reflect and write this. Good stuff.
The album slows down with “God is Love” which is a good song, but a little too slow and 2nd least favorite song here.
Circus gets back on track with the good vibes and wah wah guitar on “Thin Ice”. “Don’t Go and Put a Bullet In Your Head” slows its down again, but the beat is so chill and listenable. “In My Life Today” is another great chill song that has some great lyrics and instrumentation. From suicide to love, Lenny makes these transitions in content almost unnoticed. Some dramatic horns close the album with “The Resurrection” which like a few other songs, express Lenny’s faith in God and his message of love. Some great stuff indeed, in fact in my opinion…his best. Go back in your collection and spin Circus again, it wont disappoint.
“I’m old enough to see behind me, but young enough to feel my soul”