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Author Topic: Chicago Tribune NBTT Review  (Read 7926 times)
WildNight
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« on: August 12, 2010, 04:56:30 pm »

http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/turn_it_up/2010/08/album-review-john-mellencamp-no-better-than-this-.html

Album review: John Mellencamp, 'No Better Than This'

 3.5 stars (out of 4)

John Mellencamp has revitalized his career in recent years by teaming up with T Bone Burnett, a producer who prefers to document performances with grime intact rather than doctor them up into shiny new toys for radio programmers. After collaborating on the 2008 release “Life Death Love and Freedom,” Mellencamp and Burnett take that no-frills approach to an extreme on “No Better Than This” (Rounder), the latest album in a career that spans 35 years and 40 million domestic record sales. Whatever you think of Mellencamp, this is the kind of record that will compel a re-evaluation, an out-of-leftfield shot that mostly works because of its modesty, shagginess and humor – qualities not normally associated with the singer in the past.

The album was recorded in three historically resonant locations: the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga., a sanctuary for runaway slaves before emancipation; Sun Studios in Memphis, one of the birthplaces of rock ‘n’ roll; and the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, where blues legend Robert Johnson recorded.

Burnett set up a single microphone and a vintage reel-to-reel recorder in each of these rooms to capture Mellencamp and his band as they performed 13 original songs drawing on blues, folk, gospel and rockabilly. The mono recordings may initially sound like dusty transmissions from another planet to ears attuned to highly compressed modern productions, which create an unnatural relationship between voice and instruments. On “No Better Than This,” Mellencamp’s nicotine rasp sits inside a cocoon of stringed instruments and percussion; the sound field is a democracy of instruments, the mix a warm blend of complementary sounds that is a step away from a spontaneous field recording.

Mellencamp’s songs generally avoid the type of ponderous big statements that can undercut his music in favor of blues- and folk-based stories populated with devils, death, mayhem, but also a touch of mirth. Mortality underlines everything, but the music brims with life: loose, a bit ramshackle, as if refusing to take itself too seriously. The lack of conventional production gimmicks telescopes the songs and the performances: Miriam Sturm’s violin flirts with mischief and anxiety on “Right Behind Me”; “No Better Than This” channels the chugging clickety-clack of a vintage Johnny Cash single; “Thinking About You” is one of those little charmers about everyday life that could’ve sprung from John Prine’s imagination; and the epic narrative “Easter Eve” manages to sound both rambunctious and easygoing. No wonder the album winds down with barely audible chuckle
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WildNight
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 05:01:50 pm »

Its amazing I am literally putting up every review I find and its about impossible to find any negative views on the album.  The last two reviews are an A- and a 3.5 out of 4 stars from the Montreal Metro and the Chicago Tribune.  Some people like to say mellencamps best work was from the 80s and early 90s, but I have to say if you go from Mr Happy Go Lucky till now, thats a fantastic career right there.  Maybe those albums resonate with me more because I am only 24, but to be quite honest they contain most of my favorite work from Mr. Mellencamp.
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littlesusie39
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2010, 06:57:25 pm »

thanks for posting all of them!
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geislesa
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 08:38:05 am »

Its amazing I am literally putting up every review I find


FYI --- another fan site I visit was recently sued for posting a certain article "without permission" and was able to settle out of court, it seems it may just be a new money making scheme for this small paper............google  "las vegas review journal lawsuit"


Might want to be careful. It's silly IMO, but they're succeeding. Free use is being challenged. Just something to look into and consider if or how it might affect this site should the wrong article get posted.
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WildNight
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 05:22:34 pm »

hmmm maybe I will just stick to posting the link
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TonyBClubManager
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2010, 05:37:58 pm »

hmmm maybe I will just stick to posting the link

Always post the link with the article but don't worry about it too much. If you aren't profiting from posting the article in some way the likelyhood of trouble goes WAY down. Because of the random nature of the web and Mellencamp articles there are few sites that have an article about him more than once every few years.

Here is a paragraph I think that is of note:
Mark Hinueber, corporate attorney for Las Vegas Review Journal,  observed the lawsuit is primarily directed towards those involved in copyright infringement, of the cut-and-paste variety or taking substantial portions of article material and posting it without reference or citation.

http://www.greenheritagenews.com/entries/ethics-values-and-faith/las-vegas-review-journal-launches-lawsuit-against-30-websites-blogs-for-stealing-content
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 05:43:41 pm by TonyBClubManager » Logged

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