John Mellencamp: Life, Death, Love Freedom (Universal)

 |   |  <1 min read

John Mellencamp: Longest Days
John Mellencamp:  Life, Death, Love Freedom (Universal)

John Mellencamp's last album Freedom's Road was so good -- a grounded, raw and uncompromising look at America in the hinterland and heartland -- that this similarly conceived new one should attract immediate attention.
Mellencamp -- who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year -- somehow falls below the sight lines in New Zealand, despite a long and creditable body of folk-rock and country-blues songs which challenges, and often surpass, Springsteen for their blue-collar perspectives and literate lyrics.
Disaffected or celebratory about the America and the lives he sees around him, Mellencamp has been called "the poet laureate of the Interstate", a description which adequately encapsulates his impressive songwriting.
Typically this one deals some dark cards (naked racism in Jena) and titles like Troubled Land, Don't Need This Body and Country Fair tell their own stories. There are certainly upbeat songs -- notably with Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town on the rollicking Sweet Love -- and with T Bone Burnett's exceptional production this has an emotional and sonic immediacy.
Mellencamp's songs can sear with passion, pain, resentment, melancholy and reflectiveness -- all coming at you in a voice that has been smoke-cured by at least a pack a day for the past few decades..

Share It

Your Comments

Ian - Dec 19, 2008

Sorry John - way too miserable and depressing. Take me back to Mr. Happy Go Lucky any day.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Dub Asylum: Ba Ba Boom! EP (www.dubasylum.co.nz)

Dub Asylum: Ba Ba Boom! EP (www.dubasylum.co.nz)

If I've been tardy getting to this terrific EP of beats, hip-hop meets reggae culture, and much more it's that I have been so busy backloading the archives. But let it be said that in downtime... > Read more

Delgirl: two, maybe three, days ride (Yellow Eye)

Delgirl: two, maybe three, days ride (Yellow Eye)

This Dunedin-based, folk-country three-piece of Deidre Newall, Erin Morton and Lynn Vare impressed with an earlier EP Live at the Wunderbar which hinted at something special, but wasn't quite... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

MEREDITH MONK PROFILED (2013): Art for art's sake

MEREDITH MONK PROFILED (2013): Art for art's sake

New Yorker Meredith Monk (born 1942) has created a world of her own between the vocal art-music of Laurie Anderson, contemporary dance and cutting edge film, avant-theatre and that place Bjork... > Read more

TRILOK GURTU INTERVIEWED (2000): Tabla time

TRILOK GURTU INTERVIEWED (2000): Tabla time

As the century closes it's interesting to look back on how the West has briefly adopted music from other cultures - Indian musics, for example. Where once these long traditions were confined... > Read more