Melanie W. (novelwriter) from SURFSIDE BCH, SC Reviewed on 9/14/2007...
When I was younger I had the tape of this. I am sure that I still do. A friend of mine gave me a copy of this CD because he had the newer version with the bonus track.
Kathleen L. (katlupe) from OXFORD, NY Reviewed on 5/3/2007...
Lori Z. (Loreli) from WOODHAVEN, MI Reviewed on 9/15/2006...
Love this guys vocals. Great cd.
John's greatest acheivment...
Mallcore Kid | The Mall | 04/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't explain in words how wonderful this record is.John has always been one of my favorite musicians and songwriters,he just knows how to tell a great story through his music.For me, Scarecrow is John Mellencamp at his artistic best, i can listen to any of his works and enjoy them but nothing can beat Scarecrow as far as i'm concerned.
I'v technically been a fan since 1988, when i was living in Exeter New Hampshire."Jack and Diane" was the first song i ever heard in my life, i was 4 years old at the time and that was what started it all for me.I'v always had JM albums laying around since then in some form or another and listened to them quiet often.American Fool, Uh-HUH and Scarecrow were the ones i listened to the most.Scarecrow is one of the finest rock records ever commited to wax,and i think this utterly destroys Springsteen's much more popular Born in the U.S.A. album released a year earlier.JM is just a superior songwriter and preformer when compared to The Boss,mainly because you can hear where John's music is coming from, as demonstrated beautifuly by Scarecrow. This Album was predominatly inspired by John's life growing up in the farm land of his native Indiana,which is the first time i'v really seen a theme be put through a collection of songs(album).I won't go over every song here as to not sound redundant but i will mention the highlights. "Rain on the Scarecrow" is one of the best JM songs ever written, real anger is put through the songs lyrics which are about the plight of hard-working farmers losing their farmland to the govenment(can any one say Megadeth's "Forcolsure of a Dream"?). "Small Town" is a classic rock radio staple and the most famous song off of this album. "Face of a Nation" has a real edgy,moody beat and is one of my favorites from here. "Justice and Independence 85" is an attack on the American justice system. "R.O.C.K in the U.S.A" is a classic rock n roll song and the most upbeat tune found here. I could go on like this for every song, but i won't. The truth is that this whole album will get you, it is one of the most emotional albums i have ever listened too.While i enjoy everthing John has done, Scarecrow is his finest hour and i can't imagine my music collection with out it.It is really a timeless record, unlike alot of garbage that is(was) released in an effort to acheive the commercial cash cow.With this being his fifth studio effort, it is intersting to take a look progresivly at how John developed and evolved from his self titled debut all the way up to this one.He has definatly matured and progressed on each of his albums since the inception but you can see it most here.Some of the lyrics tackeled issues that were happening in 85 and in someways are still relevent today. Overall, this album is nothing short of amazing in every aspect;the musicianship,songwriting,lyrics,heart,emotion, this album has it in spades.
Have some great memories from listening to this album.When you compare it to the corprate junk that was coming out at the time in music, you will realize it was one of the most sincere and heartfelt rock records to come out of the 80's.You just can't go wrong with this one, in my top 10 of desert island CDs.
It made me a John Mellencamp fan for life, and it might make you one as well."
Why didn't this Album Garner "Album of the Year" Considerati
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 10/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By the time 1985 would roll around, John Mellencamp (or known at that time as John Cougar Mellencamp) had established himself as a star in Rock music. He gained a following back in 1979 with his hit "I Need a Lover". With his 1982 album, "American Fool" he became a household name with the songs "Jack and Diane" and "Hurts so Good". His next album, 1983's Uh Huh" was not considered the blockbuster follow-up to "American Fool" that many expected - although it did produce two hits in "Crumblin Down" and "Pink Houses". So, in 1985 when Mellencamp released "Scarecrow", many would have the question whether John Mellencamp had peaked? The answer clearly would be no. For Mellencamp, he would deliver the defining album of his career - a mix of social and political commentary with some of the classic Mellencamp "Middle America" music that made him so popular. What shocks me is how this album didn't garner attention for Album of the Year.
Perhaps "Uh Huh" got released during the peak of the synth pop revolution of the early 1980s. But as 1985 came around, the music landscape was starting to undergo some changes. Only a about a year before, Bruce Springsteen had released "Born in the USA". I look at "Born in the USA" as a landmark album for many reasons, but perhaps one of the most important reasons is that it began to shift the sound of the 80s music scene away from synth-pop to a more natural guitar-laden sound. By 1985, other artists were now beginning to find commercial success with that sound - such as John Fogerty ("Centerfield"). Artists such as Springsteen and Fogerty were mixing their own musical roots with social commentary. Mellencamp's "Scarecrow" fits into this mold perfectly - and came along at the right time where the music fans were willing to embrace this style. However, Mellencamp's "Scarecrow" goes beyond this embracing - it delivers a most solid sound.
Here is a track by track breakdown of this album:
"Rain on the Scarecrow": This is the title track and not only the best song on the album, but I feel the best of Mellencamp's career. The song's opening immediately creates a haunting song. This is a song that Mellencamp sings about the plight of the American Farmers facing foreclosures. Mellencamp sings this song with pure passion. He does a great job at playing the role of the banker who is handling the foreclosure - "John, it's just my job and I hope you understand". This song featured a very good video - and the added sounds of a farm auction that are in that video give the song a new dimension. Listening to this song, you can see why Mellencamp felt so passionately about "Farm Aid".
"Grandma's Song": This public domain song is sung by Mellencamp's Grandmother, Laura Mellencamp. Not a great song, but it is a great lead-in to "Small Town".
"Small Town": The title says it all. This song is about a - small town. Back in 1986, radio overplayed this song - however looking back at it now - very good song.
"Minutes to Memories": I'd put this underrated song in the upper echelon of Mellencamp's work. This song is a great mix of Mellencamp's Social Commentary with his Middle America music. This is a narrative sung by Mellencamp about an elderly man who has seen things change around him. On top of the great lyrics, there is some great music as well.
"Lonely Ol' Night": This was the first song released from this album. This song almost is in the theme of "Jack and Diane" as it has the feel of a young man growing up in Middle America. This is a great song and probably lured a lot of people to buy this album.
"The Face of a Nation": This is a clear social/political commentary. When Mellencamp sings "You see people starvin' under the tree", it is clear that Mellencamp is looking at society and questioning how these things can happen.
"Justice and Independence": This song has a great melody, but it is also a bit of an symbolic allegory. "Independence" is a man who marries "Justice" who is a woman - they have a son named "Nation". Listen to the words carefully as Mellencamp uses the family as a way to compare to the concepts of Justice, Independence, and Nation we are all familiar with. Masterful songwriting - also some terrific percussion and trumpet work.
"Between a Laugh and a Tear": This is another underrated song that I put in the upper echelon of Mellencamp's career. This title might not indicate social commentary - but it's loaded with references - such as "When paradise is no longer fit for you to live in, and your adolescent dreams are gone". This song is a duet with Ricki Lee Jones and it blew me away.
"Rumbleseat": Kind of a song that takes you back to the 1950s - it has a retro feel to it. It seems to be more of a personal song of Mellencamp's own experiences - great stuff.
"You Gotta Stand For Somethin": I thought this was the toughest to get into, but lyrically it's a solid track. It almost takes you on a historical journey of pop culture from 1950 onward.
"R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A": Great song, but was overplayed on the radio. This is a tribute to the early pioneers of Rock and Roll.
"The Kind of Fella I am": Another great song. This song is basically about a jealous man. It's a fun song and nice way to wrap things up.
The liner notes contain all of the lyrics, songwriting, and musician credits. I love how you get the recording dates and times of the songs. This song is clearly the defining album of Mellencamp's career. It also has the best music that he did. Truly one of the underrated albums of the 1980s - I highly recommend it."
Transcends "80's" Rock
Michael K. Middleton | Muzak City USA | 09/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It always bothers me to hear people call this an "80's Rock" album. To me, that does it a terrible injustice. This record is way beyond Swatches, spandex and English wus-rock. The only thing remotely dating the record is John's working-class political commentary in Reagan's America; however, those messages are just as relevant in W's America, if not more.
Raised in a rural farming community in New Mexico, there isn't one song on this record that I can't relate to. "Small Town" is one of the greatest rock songs ever written, period. "Justice And Independence '85" still rings true today; just watch CNN for half an hour. "Rain On The Scarecrow" brings a tear to my eye to this day, and "Lonely 'Ol Night" is a great song for the perpetually broken-hearted.
If you're from New York or L.A., you may like the music here, but a lot of the lyrics will probably escape you. You may think you get it, but trust me, you don't. This is music for the rest of us; music for the guy who works the farm 14 hours a day, the guy working double shifts at the factory, the single mom holding down two jobs just to feed her kids. It says simply that we are tired, and it's time for a change.
One of the top three or four rock albums of all time."
One of the all time great albums
Paul HItch | Kununurra, Australia | 12/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thanks for reading. Enough has been written about this album, suffice to say this is one of the most important albums to come out of the 80s, if not the last century. A real masterpeice of lyrics, style, melodies and great singing. A MUST for your music collection!
IF YOU NEED SOME NEW MUSIC, JUST BUY IT IF YOU DON'T OWN IT YET!"
One Of The Best Ever
Harry Hollingsworth | Indianapolis, Indiana United States | 05/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Mellencamp is one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever. This is his best album. But All of them are good. I've followed John from he early days playing around central Indiana in the 70's to his making big in the early 80's on through his second greatest hits cd. . His music always says something. Just listen to this disc and its 's there. Songs like Rain On The Scarecrow or Small Town or ROCK In The USA. I highly recommend this and all of John's albums. This is one of my all time favorite albums ever. Great midwestern rock and roll at it's best."