Format: CD
Label: MCA
Catalog: 113114
Rel. Date: 12/10/2002
UPC: 008811311421

Electric Circus
Artist: Common
Format: CD
New: In Stock Used: In Stock

Formats and Editions


''Electric Circus'' is the fifth studio album by rapper Common, released December 10, 2002 on the now-defunct MCA Records. The album was highly anticipated and praised by many critics for its ambitious vision. However, it was not as commercially successful as his previous album, ''Like Water for Chocolate'', selling under 300,000 copies. An eclectic album, ''Electric Circus'' featured fusions of several genres such as hip hop, pop, rock, electronic, and neo soul. This was Common's second and last album for MCA, released prior to the label's absorption under Geffen Records. - Wikipedia

In the years since he left Chicago for Brooklyn, Common's lost faith inconventional hip-hop as a path to righteousness, and who can really blame him?There's been precious little room in the rap mainstream for an artist whoseprimary appeal is his earnestness. On "Come Close," the first singlefrom Common's fifth album, he plainly addresses a paramour in languageso direct it's almost embarrassing. But Common's not simple, justnostalgic. With the Neptunes doing their best Ummah production, Common can actout his fantasy of being Q-Tip in ATCQ's heyday.

But that's the only moment on Electric Circus that even concerns itselfwith hip-hop as it once was. Mostly Common's preoccupied with hip-hop thathasn't been made yet. The best sonic trip on Electric Circus is"I Am Music," a jive dance collaboration with Jill Scott and trumpeterNicholas Payton. Common is just as comfortable on "I Got a Right Ta,"another Neptunes production. Here, his stretched out delivery matches the textureand wonder of the Neptunes' harmonica-accented crunky-tonk beat.

With Common changing outfits so often, though, he never gets truly comfortablein any one role. "New Wave," a collaboration with Laetitia Sadierof Stereolab, is meant to be some sort of goth-tronic art-funk excursion, butCommon's aimless rant seems entirely out of place. Alongside Sonny of P.O.D.on "Electric Wire Hustle Flower," his intrinsic congeniality preventshim from convincingly tapping into the kind of aggro attitude the track demands.Worse still are the extended concept jams that never find a center: "JimiWas a Rock Star" groans on for over eight minutes, shifting tones often,but never amounting to much more than hollow dub. This song, like so many otherson the album, is merely an idea, skeleton without flesh.
back to top