‘Circles’ album review

Image courtesy of Mascot Records

album: Circles
artist: P.O.D.
genre: nu metal
release date: November 16, 2018
star rating: three out of five

review by Levi Yager

P.O.D.’s new album hit the streets last month with their signature loud rock and solid rap that fans have come to know and love. Titled Circles, it does a good job at making the most of the band’s strengths, such as their melodic capabilities and overall versatility.

“Rockin’ With The Best” kicks off Circles with bars and a bass line followed by a bombastic chorus about rocking the party. It’s a fun opening track, but it’s pretty forgettable in the big picture. Then we have “Always Southern California,” which is a step in the right direction from the first song. The up-tempo verses flow perfectly into the chorus of, “It’s always Southern California in my head, where summer never ends.” It’ll make you want to visit the west coast for sure.

The title track comes in at number three, and it’s another highlight on the record. “Circles” is propped up with a swaying groove that’s complemented by chilled-out rapping and singing. The song builds to a heavier moment in the bridge, but “Circles” is pretty mellow in general.

The album has an almost-equal amount of hits and misses. While it leans more to the hits side as a whole, there’s a hodgepodge aspect to Circles in light of the misses mixed in. Yet, an exceptionally noteworthy section of the album is the middle, specifically tracks five, six and seven. “On The Radio,” the fifth song, is an up-front track about thriving in a music scene that has mostly fallen out of radio play nowadays. The drums and guitars in this song grab the listener’s attention from the get-go and lead into rap verses before a memorable chorus section. “Fly Away” follows as a feel-good song with infectious reggae vibes that’s about just wanting to fly off to heaven. It features meandering electric guitar work backed by simple, yet brilliant drumming. “Fly Away” easily stacks up as one of the best songs on the record. “Listening For The Silence” is the seventh track, and it showcases P.O.D.’s focused use of melody. It also has great dynamics and rhythm that lend to the build-up and pay-off moments in the song.

Although the remainder of Circles still has some shining qualities, “Domino” stands out as the last real highlight. A slower song, “Domino” is ninth on the album. P.O.D. spreads cool, fast guitar plucking throughout the track, which helps create an immersive atmosphere, and the lyrics touch on the world’s impermanence with the idea that it’s “falling like a domino.” This song contains hooks that’ll definitely stick in your head.

Later on, “Home” is the pent-up, yet explosive, 11th track that wraps up the record. The lyrics are about being fed-up and wanting to retreat home. It’s a good closer, but it still isn’t truly a gem on the album.

All in all, Circles is a worthwhile experience. However, listeners will likely end up skipping ahead to their favorites on this one since some songs are lacking in a few areas, making them fall somewhat flat. I recommend giving it a listen at least once to find what you like.

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