John Mellencamp – “No Better Than This” Music Review

8/20/2010 Posted by Admin

John Mellencamp – “No Better Than This”

Music Review

Release Date: 8/17/10

By our guest blogger, Megan O'Malley

John Mellencamp has been making music since before I was born. As a child the only songs I ever really knew were “Jack and Diane,” but now I have come to realize that that song should not be considered the pinnacle of this man’s career. Listening to his 26th release, “No Better than This,” I now know there is more to John Mellencamp than sucking on chili dogs.

This grittier sound he creates has great appeal. There is the same sense of style and vocalization as his earlier works but now it sounds as though he has actually lived life. There is a theme of remembrance and the past that floats around throughout the whole album. It’s as though Mellencamp is searching for immortalization and atonement through his lyrics. He has sort of a Johnny Cash/Bob Dylan appeal about him now.

A folksy twang has been heard on and off since the beginning of Mellencamp’s musical career, but its nice to hear him embracing it fully on “No Better than This.” It can really be heard on the song “Thinking about You.” The innocence about is something that isn’t heard very often in this Post-Lady Gaga world we live in. There are other standout songs on the album. “The West End” has an almost Nick Cave feel about it in terms of its darkness and despair. Whereas the peppier “Each Day of Sorrow” features a tinny old rock and roll guitar. This throwback to the early days of rock and roll fits in nicely with album.

“No Better than This” is filled with memories of the past and very little is said about the hope for the future. Mellencamp doesn’t give way to too much nostalgia, though--he tends to keep the past only slightly rosy colored.

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