After the fuzz-rock revivalism of Are You Gonna Go My Way, Lenny Kravitz seems to have settled into a comfortable groove, alternating between early-'70s album rock and early-'70s soul, with the occasional Prince flourish thrown in for good measure. Circus is the weakest of Kravitz's albums, simply because he didn't change his style in a distinctive manner, replicating the sound of Are You Gonna Go My Way instead. To compound his problems, Kravitz kicks off the record with "Rock and Roll Is Dead," a workmanlike rewrite of "Are You Gonna Go My Way" that lacks hooks. However, after one more half-hearted rocker, Circus begins to open up, as Kravitz turns in a series of ballads and lightly psychedelic mid-tempo pop numbers, which prove to be his real strength.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine