Rock 'n' Roll Circus is the eleventh studio album by Japanese singer-songwriter Ayumi Hamasaki, released by Avex Trax on April 14, 2010. A pop record containing primarily ballads and pop-rock songs, along with some darker gothic rock material, the album was released in three different formats, a CD only version, a CD and DVD version, and a box set edition that contains the normal CD and DVD, a 3-DVD set of Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2009 A: Next Level (also released independently on the same day), a mug, red tea packets, and a photobook.
Rock 'n' Roll Circus was promoted with two singles, both double A-sides. The lead single, "Sunrise/Sunset (Love Is All)", reached number-one in Japan and became her twenty-first consecutive and thirty-third total number one single there; it also became her record-breaking forty-fourth top ten single in Japan, a feat that has yet to be duplicated. The single had mediocre performance, however, selling under 120,000 copies. Similarly, second single "You Were.../Ballad" topped the charts in Japan and sold around 115,000 copies.
Commercially, Rock 'n' Roll Circus was reasonably successful: it reached number one in Japan and was certified Platinum by RIAJ for shipment of 250,000 copies. The album's sales stand at around 320,000 copies in Japan. Rock 'n' Roll Circus was the 21st best selling album of 2010 in Japan.
The song "Sunset: Love is All" was used in advertisements for the Panasonic Lumix FX-60 digital camera in 2009. Meanwhile, "Don't Look Back" was used for the Panasonic Lumix FX-66 digital camera in 2010. "Microphone" was also used in ads for Honda Zest Spark.
Likewise in her tradition, Hamasaki also created four other music videos for other songs aside from her singles Sunrise/Sunset: Love is All and You were.../Ballad. These songs are Lady Dynamite, Don't Look Back, Sexy Little Things and Microphone.
The PV of Lady Dynamite was directed by Kazuyoshi Shimomura and was shot in a gay club at Ni-chōme, a district in Shinjuku. The music video begins where Ayumi and a crowd is waiting to go in the Gay Club, In the chorus, Ayumi is dancing in the club, Then, in the second verse she is in a pink room with a lolilpop, Throughout the video, she is seen dancing, In the end she goes in the room full of lockers and she leaves looking sweaty. Also her male back-up dancers also played a gay man.
The video for Don't Look Back features Ayumi clad in white. She is facing left so the viewer only sees the left side of her face. As the video progresses, a frontal view of her is shown. The right side of her face is messed up. Her lipstick and eyeliner are smeared and her hair, disheveled (in contrast to the well-kept left side of her face). The video is also inter-cut with scenes of Ayumi singing behind a large poster of herself (which is actually the CD+DVD cover of A Best 2: Black).
The videos for Sexy Little Things and Microphone are actually produced in continuity. The two videos are set in London, England. In the Sexy Little Things video, Ayumi plugs in a device (which looks like a large blue eye). Blood oozes from the socket and Ayumi (dressed in red) begins to sing. As she sings, scenes of models wearing haute couture clothing are inter-cut. Towards the chorus, Ayumi is seen wearing a black-and-white outfit and sporting platinum blond hair. As the video goes on more bizarre things occur (dancing huntsmen, models trapped in glass boxes, and a gigantic woman breaking through a hole in the wall). Near the end of the video, Ayumi is dressed in a large, frilly, black gown and sings alongside a rock band. The video ends as Ayumi grabs hold of the front man's guitar and breaks it.
The video for Microphone continues to where Sexy Little Things left off. It starts in reverse and the guitar becomes whole again. The bulk of the video features Ayumi singing with the band and is inter-cut of random scenes of random people (i.e. two sisters, four people playing poker (one of them is Ayumi herself), a man holding a knife, a woman holding a megaphone, a dancing janitor, a navy officer, etc.). The transition effects of the video depict Ayumi switching the scenes like a touchscreen or crumpling the scene itself like a piece of paper. In the end of the video, the whole entirety is rewound by Ayumi (dressed in red, previously seen from the Sexy Little Things video). Part of the video was filmed at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.