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CD Review: John Mellencamp

Life Death Love and Freedom

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The Deal: Having released roughly 20 albums, Mellencamp shows he still has what it takes, with the help of producer T Bone Burnett.

The Good: It's as if Mellencamp has stripped away any of the cheese or glam and gotten back to his down-and-dirty roots. Hints of rockabilly ("My Sweet Love") and country mix in with rock ("If I Die Sudden") and folk for a solid all-around album. The fourteen tracks help make a case for Mellencamp's recent entry into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "Troubled Land" may take a hint of rhythm borrowed from "Crumbling Down," but the verses are nothing alike. The album is also available in CODE format, which creates high-definition audio that's playable on most DVD players. Burnett also plays guitar on a good number of the tracks and the use of a standup bass helps to give the album more of an Americana feel.

The Bad: One or two tracks may not immediately grab me, but I have to say this album was far beyond better than I expected.

The Verdict: Not as pop as you might expect – one of his best efforts.

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