Electric Circus

Release date
10 Dec 2002
Running length
13 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Ferris Wheel 2:48 15,019
2 Soul Power 4:13 22,416
3 Aquarius 4:55 18,616
4 Electric Wire Hustle Flower 5:29 2,541
5 The Hustle 4:17 14,794
6 Come Close 4:35 30,984
7 New Wave 5:09 10,745
8 Star * 69 (PS With Love) 5:31 2,183
9 I Got a Right Ta 4:55 9,284
10 Between Me, You & Liberation 6:24 4,671
11 I Am Music 5:13 17,137
12 Jimi Was a Rock Star 8:33 9,530
13 Heaven Somewhere 10:25 8,513

About this album

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.

Common worked with a large (and eclectic) number of musicians on Electric Circus. Among them were Mary J. Blige (who provided vocals for the album’s lead single, “Come Close”), The Neptunes, Laetitia Sadier (of Stereolab), Cee-Lo, Bilal and Jill Scott. The music on Electric Circus challenges the boundaries of the hip hop genre in a similar fashion to The Roots’ Phrenology (2002) and Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003).

The album’s style tended to divide critics; most praised its ambitious vision while some criticized it for the same reason. Most of the criticism tended to revolve around the album’s experimental nature. Some felt Common had strayed too far from his previous sound. Longtime Common fans also viewed his relationship with Erykah Badu as having an overly experimental influence on him, while some critics compared the album to Marvin Gaye’s I Want You and Richard Ashcroft’s Human Conditions, both of which were experimental works that initially received mixed criticism. In a 2003 review, Nick Southall of Stylus Magazine wrote of the album:

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  • oldirtyvillain

    Might be my favorite Common album.

    27 Nov 2013 Reply
  • SimonePerrota

    Electric Circus was designed as a sort of musical (and to a lesser extent, social) history "then and now"; a launching pad for hip-hop to veer off into any and every direction - from the Daisy Age to alt rap's "second wave" and beyond. Speakerboxxx / The Love Below received a lot of the plaudits that Electric Circus was cruelly denied... By emancipating himself from some of hip-hop's most tired platitudes and constraints and boldly diving into the centre of indie rock and neo-soul's rising crests, Common set himself up for a reaction of general indifference - as if he was betraying rap music rather than pushing it forward. It's weird to think that some people from the hip-hop community slated Electric Circus and branded Common a lofty, holier than thou-type of character as a result of EC. Look at the love Frank Ocean is getting nowadays. Time was unfair on Common...

    20 Aug 2013 Reply
  • supatanman420


    13 Mar 2013 Reply
  • mcarey84

    What a masterpiece. [3] My favorite Common Album!!!

    21 Nov 2012 Reply
  • Sloane_Ranger

    Although, "Like Water For Chocolate" was the album where I really became hip to Common, this was the album that really made me a fan. It blows my mind that some people hate this album.

    12 Oct 2012 Reply
  • KiDNaGi

    most creative album by common

    2 Sep 2012 Reply
  • JJMCSPooh

    What a masterpiece. [2] My favorite honestly

    17 May 2012 Reply
  • Yseson

    This album is Common's Pinkerton

    31 Jan 2012 Reply
  • theStarry

    My favourite, it was like a bolt from the blue hearing it for the first time back in the day.

    29 Nov 2010 Reply
  • riot7s

    my fav album by him. i didn't like universal mind control AT ALL, hope his next album gets back to be being himself. fuck those industry snakes.

    10 Nov 2010 Reply
  • introvertimages

    I was floored by this album along with Outkast's "Love Below"...two of the last innovative hip hop albums...

    26 Oct 2010 Reply
  • Kym-B

    Ahead of it's time, for real.

    27 Sep 2010 Reply
  • Vhien

    This is one of my favorite efforts from Common. The best? I'd probably say no. But Electric Circus was definitely one of the most adventurous albums I'd EVER heard and I really would like him to revisit these muses and go further with that sound and mind set.

    2 Aug 2010 Reply
  • inphanta

    Great album. So underrated & misunderstood though. [3]

    19 Jun 2010 Reply
  • street_dawg

    Common's best album

    7 Jun 2010 Reply
  • kankick

    This Album is a classic

    13 May 2010 Reply
  • thaman1

    Stunning album i really like it. www.loudbeats.com

    1 Apr 2010 Reply
  • sm4ears

    progressive hip hop :) it makes me happy.

    24 Feb 2010 Reply
  • BackNDaDay90

    great album. so underrated & misunderstood though. [2]

    30 Jan 2010 Reply
  • thisbreeze

    great album. so underrated & misunderstood though

    5 Jan 2010 Reply
  • All 43 shouts

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