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

Shelby Lynne: Just a Little Lovin' (Lost Highway)

Shelby Lynne: Just a Little Lovin' (Lost Highway)

Quite why anyone would get excited over the over-emoting 19-year old Adele's debut album when Shelby Lynne conveys more depth of ache in one line is beyond me. This exceptional album sees... > Read more

F in Math: Couch (Flying Nun)

F in Math: Couch (Flying Nun)

The witty nom de disque here belongs to Michael Logie, former bassist with New Zealand's Mint Chicks who makes some steps as a solo artist working with computers, electrobeat and processed vocals.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Guangzhou, China: The sour sound of respect

Guangzhou, China: The sour sound of respect

When you travel to foreign parts it is good to be respectful of local customs, and usually they are common courtesies or pretty obvious: you don't wear shorts or a halter-top to St Peters -- or in... > Read more

ROBERT PLANT; A LIFE by PAUL REES

ROBERT PLANT; A LIFE by PAUL REES

There are many excellent and insightful biographies of musicians around these days -- among them Mark Lewisohn's recent Tune In about the Beatles which at 900 pages only gets you to the start of... > Read more