Search - John Mellencamp :: Scarecrow (Rpkg)

Scarecrow (Rpkg)
John Mellencamp
Scarecrow (Rpkg)
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
 
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

John Mellencamp, Scarecrow

     
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CD Details

All Artists: John Mellencamp
Title: Scarecrow (Rpkg)
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Island / Mercury
Release Date: 5/24/2005
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
Styles: Singer-Songwriters, Singer-Songwriters, Roots Rock, Album-Oriented Rock (AOR)
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 602498812396

Synopsis

Album Description
John Mellencamp, Scarecrow

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Member CD Reviews

Darlene V. from CLOVIS, CA
Reviewed on 9/6/2010...
5 stars. Classic John Mellencamp at his rockin' best. I never heard this CD on it's entirety and it was worth the wait.

CD Reviews

A rock and roll voyage into the American soul.
M J Heilbron Jr. | Long Beach, CA United States | 06/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"John Mellencamp's "Scarecrow" is a singular masterpiece. It reveals an artist expanding his ambitions, and creating a work that will live for ages. He is searching for American soul. Not as in "soul music"; as in "the soul."

As other great rock musicians have done, he demonstrates the universality of very specific instances. When he sings about his small town, it's about everybody's small town...even NYC.
He showed us the ability to craft little stories in the confines of a pop song with "Jack & Diane". Here he develops it into a science...his own branch even. Every song is filled with character, images...some even have a plot, surrounded by irresistible melodies and a terrific rock band.

The album opens with the harrowing drums and brittle guitars of "Rain On The Scarecrow", and right away, you get the feeling Mellencamp is out to make a statement. Not only in a socio-political manner, but in an independent, artistic one. He's saying, "Look at me now."

His declaratory tone during that song, hushed comments followed by snarled anger, is the sound of a farmer sitting on his porch, telling you why life ain't that great right now.

And it still feels "right now", as there's an immediacy to this work that you can still feel 20 years later. This album has not aged a bit; I don't think it ever will.

After a guest appearance by his "grandmom", we hear the familiar chords of "Small Town" with John once again visiting territory he explored with "Pink Houses". People in L.A. identify with "Small Town"...which makes no earthly sense at all, but at the same time "feels" completely right.

"Minutes to Memories" is another example of a maturing Mellencamp, more confident in his songwriting skills, and also in his production.The relatively quiet verses versus the proclamatory choruses, both rising as the song progresses, mixing in a varied palette of instruments he'd never used before...it all contributes to an amazing listening experience.

And it is amazing. The remastering job will bring tears to your eyes. I heard things I've never heard before, and I've heard this album about a million times. I had the vinyl, I had the CD, I had the Mobile Fidelity CD...this one blows them all away. Drum patterns that sounded the same before, I now realize were played on different drums, altering the sound dramatically. Guitars have "edges" on them. The bass is bottomless. Overall, it's nearly three-dimensional...the guitars, bass and other instruments each have their "place."

"Lonely Ol' Night" is a classic rock single...with those revved-up intros...the rat-ta-tat-tat drumming...the boozy back-up vocals...

"Face of A Nation" flirts with being ham-fisted and heavy-handed, but it holds interest as you hear Mellencamp experimenting with one of his different "voices". On subsequent albums, it will become more obvious, but here he alters his tone and inflection, becoming the voice that the song demands.

"Justice & Independence '85" is a thrilling tour-de-force of all that is good is rock. Get over the little parable about the kids named "Justice" and "Independence", and what you have is shout-out, butt-shaking rock...complete with "sha-la-la's", erupting bursts of horns, manic drums (this is an album for drum lovers...) and furious, dive-bombing guitars.

"Between A Laugh and A Tear" will allow you to catch your breath, as it's a soothing duet with Rickie Lee Jones...almost pretty, which is an adjective rarely used when describing Mellencamp material.

"Rumbleseat" shows John to be a master at this type of fun-loving, story-song, mid-tempo rocker...he'd soon perfect this with "Cherry Bomb" although I like this one a bit more. It reminds me of John Fogerty...this year's summer tour should prove my instincts right about that.

If there's one clunker on the album, it's "You've Got To Stand For Somethin'. While I "get" the sentiment, I didn't enjoy it's presentation. The music is uninspired, especially when you've been exposed to the previous eight or nine songs. The melody is not memorable. The lyrics are kinda cool though, so make sure you at least read 'em.

I read that Mellencamp and his band learned several dozen classic rock songs from the 50's and 60's to prepare for the recording of this album. Listening to "R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A.", that has to be the case. This slice of American rock sounded like an instant classic the first time I heard it. It HAD to be a remake. The fact that is sounds "derivative" (in the evolutionary sense, not the derogatory one...) is completely intentional. Why fix what ain't broke? The song hums like a finely-tuned V8 accelerating down a long, flat road. There's a chorus that screams "sing along with me", there's an old-fashioned, raucous instrumental break with guitars and harmonicas bouncing and wailing all over the place punctuated by a short tasty organ solo that covers all of three notes. It's a delirious and intoxicating song.

"Kind of Fella I Am" is a small song, one of John's pseudo-autobiographical tunes tagged on at the end...the album FEELS over after "R.O.C.K." but this one still rocks nevertheless.

The extra acoustic "Small Town" is an interesting counterpoint to the full-band version, and will be most enjoyed by those who are overly familiar with the original version and want to hear something new.

Listening to this remastered version, I found myself, more than once, blurting out an obscenity or uttering a simple quiet "wow", completely taken aback by how great this album still is...if you loved this album before, you will love it even more.

And before you say that's not possible, let me tell you it IS. This is THAT good."
A "Must Have" Album
Michael Zadra | Chico, CA | 02/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this on vinyl in 1985 when it first came out and absolutely loved it. When I got my Cd player in 1986 I made a rule that I would buy no more than 2 CD's per week trying to switch my vinyl over to CD. the first CD I bought was Scarecrow. To this day it remains one of my favorites and a definite "Desert Island disc". Every song is either good or great. No filler here except maybe the bonus cut "Kind of Feller I am" which was not on the vinyl disc. From "Rain on the Scarecrow" to "Small Town" to "Minutes to Memories" to "Rumbleseat" this is a "must have" disc for any pop rock fan."