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Member CD Reviews
Melanie W. (novelwriter) from SURFSIDE BCH, SC
Reviewed on 11/3/2007...
This is not my favorite Mellencamp cd. However it does have some tracks on here that I like.
Craig L. from NEW YORK, NY
Reviewed on 5/17/2007...
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Paula C. from SNELLVILLE, GA
Reviewed on 12/25/2006...
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Mike K. from FT LAUDERDALE, FL
Reviewed on 12/5/2006...
One of America's finest songwriters
Robert Dumas | Pawling, NY USA | 10/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For me, one of the pure joys of being a John Mellancamp fan has been watching this incredible singer/songwriter grow and mature as his career moved inexorably forward.This album is a fresh start for Mr. Mellancamp. It's his first release on Columbia and is simply titled "John Mellancamp." Ironically, it's one of the finest albums he's ever released.The key to any artist, I think, is growth. Many fans are content to be mired in the cloying repetition of the popular music world, but the best players change and evolve. Mr. Mellancamp has changed from the petulant pop star who told everyone he "needs a lover that won't drive him crazy" and that love "Hurts So Good" to a more introspective, gentle poet who, on this CD, begs the question, "Will you teach your children to tell the truth?"The sound on this album maintains the rough folk/rock feel he first uncovered in the late `80s on albums like "Lonesome Jubilee" and "Big Daddy," but also incorporates some of the experimental tacts Mr. Mellancamp began taking on "Mr. Happy Go Lucky." All of it works rather nicely. The songs are catchy, foot-tappable and sing-alongable, yet, at the same time challenge the listener with a homogenous blend of styles, rhythms and themes.The song "Your Life Is Now," could not have been written when Mr. Mellancamp was in his 20s. Its theme is more altruistic and portrays a man doing some serious soul searching; not poontang searching! Musically, it could have easily appeared on "Lonesome Jubilee" or just about any Mellancamp album since then. Nonetheless, the haunting melody and probing lyrics help send a lump directly to the throat."Eden Is Burning" is another highlight. Described by Mr. Mellancamp himself on VH-1's "Storytellers" as a "sequel to `Jack & Diane,' the song is a great rave-up about the loss of innocence.The calypso/reggae beat of "I'm Not Running Anymore," is a perfect example of some of the new sounds Mr. Mellancamp has been embracing of late. The result is an infectious hip-shaker that also serves as the singer's personal declaration of independence from his inner demons.The song "Break Me Off Some," much maligned here because of its attempts at fusing hip-hop elements to Mr. Mellancamp's heartland folk rockers, is actually one of the highlights of the album. I loathe rap music simply because I find most of its rhythms to be plodding, derivative and frankly, ripped-off. Not to mention, the lyrics are either a) incomprehensible or b) unrelatable. Here, Mr. Mellancamp tightens the groove and adds so much of his own feel to it that the genre seems more natural in this setting than on an Eminem tune.Not every song on this album works. "Miss Missy" and "Positively Crazy," are unremarkable. However, "It All Comes True," is one of the most haunting songs that Mr. Mellancamp has ever composed; a warning to the today's youth to make the best of their time.For me, it's difficult to judge Mr. Mellancamp's work by saying one album is better than another. To me, one couldn't exist without the other. (i.e. There would be no "Lonesome Jubilee" without "Scarecrow;" there would be no "John Mellancamp" without "Mr. Happy Go Lucky" and so on.) My favorite JM record changes each time I put one in the player.For me, every album he releases just adds more texture and depth to what has already become an incredible body of work.The "professional" reviewer above said that Mr. Mellancamp has had to live in the shadow of Bruce Springsteen most of his career and that Mr. Mellancamp would never produce his own "Ghost of Tom Joad."To that I say, "Thank God." With all due respect to the Boss, John would never get that self-indulgent. That hoary cliché of a comparison is unfair to both artists and obtusely inaccurate as well. "John Mellancamp" has slowly become one of my favorite JM recordings. Every time I put it on, the people in the room stop and smile and begin to weave and bop a bit without realizing their doing it. Now, that's a good record.Of course, Mr. Mellancamp has a new release, "Cutting Heads," due any day now and it's likely that CD will soon become my favorite John Mellancamp album.But you won't go wrong if you add this one to your collection as well."
His best album since "Lonesome Jubilee," and a true classic.
Robert Dumas | 10/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To equal "Lonesome Jubilee" was no mean feat, and he did, from "Your Life Is Now" and "Miss Missy" to "Days of Farewell." No one mixes white rock with black roll as Mellencamp and band always have, and the drawl in John's voice is as real as his pioneer roots, and not just some Woody Guthrie/Tom Joad parody."