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

Dolly Parton: The Grass is Blue (Sugar Hill/Elite)

Dolly Parton: The Grass is Blue (Sugar Hill/Elite)

Time was when double-barrelled Dolly was on a major label and hammering home the hits with Kenny Rogers. These days, and for some little while, she's been on minor labels and not many people... > Read more

John Fogerty: Revival (Fantasy)

John Fogerty: Revival (Fantasy)

Now back on his original label after decades of litigation, animosity and a refusal to play the Creedence Clearwater Revival hits that made his repuation, Fogerty sounds like a man at peace with... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ABBEY ROAD REVISITED: Crossing the crossing (2006)

ABBEY ROAD REVISITED: Crossing the crossing (2006)

Long before you reach the most famous recording studio in the world you can hear the sound. But it is not music coming from inside the walls. It is the squeal of tyres as another car or truck slams... > Read more

EPs by Shani.O

EPs by Shani.O

With so many CDs and downloads commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Shani.O. She will scoop up some of those many EP... > Read more