I will have to catch up on my Mellancamp collection
J. L LaRegina | New Jersey | 06/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I jumped on the John Mellencamp bandwagon when he had his breakthrough album, AMERICAN FOOL. In the following years, I bought Mellancamp's UH-HUH; SCARECROW; the album in question here, LONESOME JUBILEE; and HUMAN WHEELS. I liked all of them a lot except for the last one, HUMAN WHEELS, so after that I abandoned the Mellencamp bandwagon.
Recently I inserted LONESOME JUBILEE in the stereo for the first time in probably ten or more years. While I had liked it back in the late 1980s, the outstanding musicianship and especially the Reagan era-inspired lyrics, now relevant again in the dark days of George W. Bush, have me listening to the C.D. as frequently as possible. Back then, I considered SCARECROW to be the best John Mellencamp release I had heard, but THE LONESOME JUBILEE may be even better. Check other reviews here, and you'll see other music fans naming those two as Mellencamp's jewels.
I even gave HUMAN WHEELS another spin and liked it better.
John Mellencamp, I am going to catch up on your music.
Rock and roll fans, I recommend LONESOME JUBILEE."
John Cougar Mellencamp takes on Moral Conscience, Getting Ol
! Metamorpho ;) | Castle in Scotland | 01/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The world of a Seer is constantly on the move. Always changing. Everything becomes fast-paced and then, I have my times to relax and reflect - and then it's onwards to some super-charged thing or another. Well.... that was my cheap bid for sympathy. I can see it didn't work. No matter. I still have many tricks at my disposal. Hey! If I can deal with a castle dragon and a sea serpent, why should you presuppose that I will ultimately fail at my goals? Never! I am Metamorpho - hear me roar!
I have always, always liked this album from the day it was released. It is rock for sure, but with a distinctive twist which differentiates it from so many other sounds. First off, he embellishs his work with fiddle, accordian, pedal steel guitar, mandolin and a host of many other instruments. He makes it distinctive and puts his own identity stamp on this music. It is hard-nosed, hard edged, and knowing Mellencamp, his own brand at mid-western rock. Go ahead, move with it, have that drink, feel the music. These songs will catch you and hook you most definitely. But, with that incredible movement, there is way much more that lies beneath the surface.
In some ways, I feel that John Cougar Mellencamp is an under-rated artist. I really don't feel he gets the credit he deserves. If anything, this album will prove the pundits wrong. In this offering, he is the working, blue collar man, looking at life with honesty, clarity, urgency and sometimes, distress and regret. He covers alot - and makes you think in the process. Alot of time, his jumpy, good rockin' tunes belie their true nature. He is making statements here with great concern. He is the conveyor of our fears, dreams and aspirations. So well done.
"Paper In Fire", with that express train beat, relates disappointment with out goals when we get so close and they escape our grasp. We can envision our own, sometimes broken aspirations, within this song. In "Down and Out In Paradise", with its erratic meter, exposes the struggle of people just trying to survive and get by. It is, and still is, a condition affecting many in America today.
"The Real Life", one of my favorites, conveys the need, within us all, to move on with life after the let-downs. Time is important, and the admonition to live your life to the fullest. "Cherry Bomb" is a look back towards one's own youth. The next three songs, "We are the People", "Empty Hands" and "Hard Times For an Honest Man" harkens towards life's trials, despair, survival,regrets and recriminations. It is the struggle and the over-coming which is so important here.
He wines down with "Hotdogs and Hamburgers", which offers the enigma of choice between honesty and deceit in a tale of the American Indian. Do we chose integrity instead of getting what we can with no conscience? These are the types of questions he asks. Very atypical for a rock album. He ends with "Rooty Toot Toot" which, appropriately. takes a step back. After all these great concerns, he resolves the album by, in essence, advising you not to try so hard. Again, he advises that despite all the bad things that have an effect on us, to take it slow and enjoy life the best you can. A fitting ending to a wonderful album.
If you like rock music with meaningful motifs, then this is the one for you. Grave concerns, but the music uplifts. Interesting combination.
In closing, I am brushing up on some magic tricks for next time. In the meanwhile, I am taking John's advice and taking it easy with my life. Who cares if the dragon burns down half my castle? It's a sunny day outside folks! 4 1/2 Stars.
Breezing down that Americana Freeway------your, Metamorpho ;)