Review: John Mellencamp: John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp isn’t running anymore, but he’s on his way. Or, at least that’s what he claims on his latest release, John Mellencamp.

John Mellencamp came to fame with such classics as “Jack and Dianne” and “Small Town,” singing songs about America’s Heartland.

Taking part in the creation of Farm Aid, Mellencamp believes in helping out the people from his home region.

In 1994, Mellencamp found himself in a hospital bed just having suffered a heart attack.

Following his release from the hospital, he had a new outlook on life and music. This is most apparent on his previous release Mr. Happy Go Lucky.

For the first time, Mellencamp began to experiment with drum loops and samples. With this album, Mellencamp also began to alienate his long-time fans.

Debuting on Mr. Happy Go Lucky was keyboard player and part-time rapper Moe Z. MD. Moc Z. added interesting rhymes to Mellencamp songs that Mellencamp had not been traditionally known for.

After hearing Mr. Happy Go Lucky, perhaps Mellencamp still shouldn’t be known for them. With just one listen to “Break Me Off Some,” a song on the new album, co-written by Mellencamp, Moe and long-time collaborator George Green, one must question what John Mellencamp’s musical goals are.

Mellencamp’s new album is his first release in over sixteen years where long-time drummer Kenny Aronoff was not a member of the band.

It is disappointing that Mellencamp would favor a drum machine over such a skilled musician.

Aronoff’s drumming was missed on the new album. However, replacement Dane Clark did a nice job of filling in on songs where a live drummer was used.

On the whole, Mellencamp’s new album seems to capture more of the “traditional” Mellencamp. While the new album is not as strong as his mid-80s classics, it proves that Mellencamp is still able to produce a full-length album.

For someone who is looking to buy a Mellencamp album for the first time, this is not the album with which to begin a collection.

However, for the fan that is already familiar with his music, it wouldn’t be a bad selection. But only if you have $14 to spare.

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About Todd DeFeo 1659 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.