Review: Love And Theft, “Dancing in Circles”

I was less than generous to this group’s Bon Jovi-lite (and that’s some serious lite) debut, “Runaway,” but damn if its infectious melody didn’t weasel into my brain anyway. Not unlike Lady Antebellum and Gloriana, Love And Theft show a real aptitude for sugary AC-pop melodies wrapped up in slick harmonies, with their only major recorded weakness being their bland, somewhat vacuous lyrics.

Such is the basic story of “Dancing in Circles,” a Contemporary Christian-styled waltz with a few nice thoughts for humankind. It’s hard to object to a song of social conscience squeaking its way into the typically-mundane country radio format, even if it must do so by Bible-thumping, and it’s hard not to fall for the song’s swelling, very singable chorus. You just wish it would dig deeper into our species’ faults than surface-level references to lying, stealing, fighting and killing, or deeper into its own faith foundation than surface-level reminders of God’s existence and judgment. There’s no doubt the song’s heart is in the right place, but without a little more brainpower behind it, one worries that most of the “circles” it reaches will remain fundamentally unbroken.

Written by Robert Ellis Orrall, Roger Springer & Stephen Barker Liles

Grade: B-

Listen: Dancing in Circles



  1. I kind of like the fiddle, but I just can’t get into the sing-along choir-like background vocal style.

    Guess I’d rather go “dancin’ circles ’round the sun” with Rodney Crowell.

  2. I haven’t been able to get into this band. Their songs thus far are forgettable, and they seem to be trying to copy the “chior” sound of Gloriana.

  3. I think I remember liking Oral & Wright, the short lived duo with Robert Ellis Oral and Curtis Wright. I don’t know if I still would now, but I remember liking them back in the nineties, though I can hardly remember them. I liked that REO song too. It was fun. I think K is right about them sounding a lot like Gloriana with that choir-y sound.

  4. I agree with the consensus here, but I will say that I’m happy to see Robert Ellis Orrall is still out there. I remain a big fan of his one hit, “Boom! It Was Over.”

    His follow-up single, “A Little Bit of Her Love,” cracked the top 40, as well, but “Boom! It was Over!” is one of my favorite songs that time forgot (which would make for a fun feature for the site, come to think of it, and the early 90s had a ton of acts who could come into play). I always thought it was hilarious that Orrall wore the same ugly vest in the videos for “Boom! It Was Over!” and “A Little Bit of Her Love” and on the cover of his album.

    I said it in my comments for the Nashville Scene poll, but I’ll say it here, too: Love and Theft’s singles suggest that their primary influences are BB Mak and Evan & Jaron. (Jaron, incidentally, is yet another pop star attempting to re-brand himself as a country act).

  5. Gee Dan, to be such a critic of exactly what a country song should be, you must have walls of number #1 records of which you have written.
    I think this is a simple classic song with a wonderful message and it will touch the hearts of those not so cynical.

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