Saturday, August 13, 2011

Listening Notes: John Mellancamp

John Mellancamp - On The Rural Route 7609

I know I said I liked box sets, but this one is so awful that it blots out Mellancamp's modest virtues. Since he's spent the last 24 years doing his best to outgrow those virtues, it's no surprise that his hand picked songs and photos serve him poorly. He's an okay if derivative singer and a decent bandleader. In the eighties, he and his producer worked out a way to make some great sounding records. At best, he's an inoffensive lyricist; when he tries to be meaningful, he's awful or incoherent or both. Except that he decided that he was too good to make good sounding records about lust, so you won't hear "Paper in Fire" or "Lonely Old Night" or "Tumblin' Down" these four CDs. If he thinks he's recorded better songs in the last twenty years, he's kidding himself.