John Mellencamp Community
March 25, 2017, 04:37:27 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
News: Visit Mellencamp.com's NEWS section for all of the latest updates!
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Rolling Stone Magazine - "No Better Than This" Review  (Read 2813 times)
mellenheadinohio
Global Moderator
One of the Crazy Ones...
*****
Posts: 425


~~ Paula


View Profile
« on: August 06, 2010, 06:59:21 pm »

August 19, 2010

By Will Hermes

John Mellencamp’s 25th album, No Better Than This, continues the thread of
American archaeology that he began on Trouble No More, a self-produced 2003
set of traditional songs and covers. But where Trouble was a first brush
with history Mellencamp trying to make it come to him here he meets that
history on its home ground. A set of old-school originals recorded in
resonant settings (Sun Studio in Memphis; the First African Baptist Church
in Savannah; a hotel room in San Antonio where Robert Johnson cut some
classic sides), No Better shows Mellencamp channeling spirits and stepping
into period styles. They fit him perfectly.

Producer T Bone Burnett rides shotgun, and the duo keep it simple: an old
Ampex reel-to-reel tape recorder, a single vintage ribbon mic, a small group
of empathetic players. They include ex-Tom Waits guitarist Mark Ribot; Jay
Bellerose, whose rhythms shaped Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising
Sand; and stand-up bassist David Roe, who played with Johnny Cash at the end
of his life.

Mellencamp’s songs show a writer still on a hot streak after 2008’s
Burnett-produced Life, Death, Love and Freedom, arguably the
singer- songwriter’s best LP since his Eighties heyday. He shoots for
timeless here: Aside from an allusion to an answering machine on the Woody
Guthrie-style “Thinking About You,” these songs could have all been written
50 years ago or more. “Save Some Time to Dream” is a gentle folk sermon with
a dash of existential doubt. The swinging “Right Behind Me” considers Jesus
and the devil “both inside of me/All the time” with Miriam Sturm’s jazzy
Hot Club fiddle.

Considering the title, Mellencamp has made a remarkably dark record. “No One
Cares About Me” is about a guy out of work, ditched by his wife, mourning a
father, a son and his only friend, over an old-timey hillbilly strut. The
lead character in “A Graceful Fall,” a stumpy waltz, is also penniless,
“sick of life” and pondering the afterlife, “if there is really one.” The
dude in “Each Day of Sorrow” insists he would kill himself “if I weren’t so
afraid.”

But as usual, Mellencamp is at his best when he turns hardscrabble struggle
into damn-the- torpedoes rock & roll. On the title track, a classic Sun
Records “boom-chick-boom” romp, Mellencamp runs through a list of
fantasies, some quite reasonable, before concluding that “it won’t get no
better than this” however relatively fucked-up “this” might be. Welcome to
life in 21st-century America, ladies and gentlemen: Let’s party like it’s
1929.

No Better Than This isn’t a perfectly honed set. But Mellencamp has never
sounded looser or easier on a record. The most indelible moments are
straight-up funny. “Love at First Sight” imagines a relationship from
back-seat grope through marriage, kids and subsequent disasters, before
deciding it might be better to go home alone. And on “Easter Eve,” a man and
his 14-year-old son get hassled in a cafe, slash a motherfucker up, get
thrown in jail, then walk off with the dude’s grateful wife. It’s musical
storytelling for hard times: far-fetched, violent, sexy, played for laughs.
It doesn’t get more timeless, or American, than that.
Logged
walktall2010
Global Moderator
Certified Mellenhead
*****
Posts: 844


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2010, 08:28:04 pm »

I'm pissed they only gave the album three-and-a-half stars, but I'm happy that they made it their featured review for once. There's is a cool caricature of John that accompanies the review that is worth checking out. This is a four-star album if ever there was one, and maybe even five stars. I love it the more I listen to it and I've had it for six weeks now. Not a song on there that I don't like. 
Logged
TonyBClubManager
Administrator
Certified Mellenhead
*****
Posts: 967


My Name: Tony


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2010, 09:46:11 pm »

I have been told that the reviewers don't actually get to give the stars but rather the editors. Can't say that for certain however. It's like how reporters don't get to write the headlines for their newspaper articles.

I'm pissed they only gave the album three-and-a-half stars, but I'm happy that they made it their featured review for once. There's is a cool caricature of John that accompanies the review that is worth checking out. This is a four-star album if ever there was one, and maybe even five stars. I love it the more I listen to it and I've had it for six weeks now. Not a song on there that I don't like. 
Logged

TonyB Webmaster, Mellencamp.com
Email help@mellencamp.com for assistance or questions!
walktall2010
Global Moderator
Certified Mellenhead
*****
Posts: 844


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2010, 10:22:45 pm »

That's probably true. As a writer/editor myself, I know how that goes. Still, if Springsteen had made this same album, it would have gotten five stars and he would be on the cover of the following issue. Rolling Stone has been good to Mellencamp over the past 15 years or so, but he still doesn't get the kudos he deserves.


I have been told that the reviewers don't actually get to give the stars but rather the editors. Can't say that for certain however. It's like how reporters don't get to write the headlines for their newspaper articles.

I'm pissed they only gave the album three-and-a-half stars, but I'm happy that they made it their featured review for once. There's is a cool caricature of John that accompanies the review that is worth checking out. This is a four-star album if ever there was one, and maybe even five stars. I love it the more I listen to it and I've had it for six weeks now. Not a song on there that I don't like. 
Logged
WildNight
I'm ROCK-in' In The USA
****
Posts: 116


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 12:59:15 am »

I'm pissed they only gave the album three-and-a-half stars, but I'm happy that they made it their featured review for once. There's is a cool caricature of John that accompanies the review that is worth checking out. This is a four-star album if ever there was one, and maybe even five stars. I love it the more I listen to it and I've had it for six weeks now. Not a song on there that I don't like. 

I totally agree with you walktall, this album is fantastic, all the way through.  I got it about a week ago and your right it gets better daily.  Ive never felt that way about an album before.  4 stars for sure.
Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.10 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

 

WEBSITE & CONTENTS © JOHN MELLENCAMP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.             PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS OF USE | CONTACT

 

Email Updates! Home Powered by BubbleUp,Ltd. John Mellencamp on YouTube.com John Mellencamp on Wikipedia John Mellencamp on MySpace.com John Mellencamp on Facebook.com John Mellencamp on Twitter.com John Mellencamp on iLike.com John Mellencamp on Pandora.com John Mellencamp on LastFM.com John Mellencamp on Imeem.com