Music Reviews

posted: February 25, 2009

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John Mellencamp – Life, Death, Love and Freedom Life, Death, Love and Freedom

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John Mellencamp – Life, Death, Love and Freedom

Another big star goes over to Starbucks.  While you might accuse him of selling out, Mellencamp stays true to his rebel roots and offers us his latest release on CD and an extended resolution DVD along with an LP  “to address the analog renaissance”. (Quote from Mellencamp’s website)

The sound quality is a solid A, even on the CD.  The DVD enclosed uses Burnett’s CODE format to put 24/96 audio on a DVD that can be read by standard DVD video players or you can download the hi-res files from MusicGiants in HD or Super HD surround, which is a MusicGiants exclusive.  Hard core digiphiles take note, this one is DRM free, so hats off to MG on this one!

But enough technobabble, how’s the record?

It’s damn good, to put it bluntly. I always felt the turning point in JM’s career was Whenever We Wanted. This record saw his songwriting mature and his talents as a musician and arranger took a quantum leap as well. With the help of T Bone Burnett, this record has a very stripped down feel, somewhat similar to Dance Naked.  You can tell that some of the creativity that started with his production of the recent Robert Plant and Allison Krauss collaboration is still in full force here.

True to the title, we hear Mellencamp in a much more reflective mood.  Having kids and getting older will do that to you.  He says it all in the opening track, “Sometimes you get sick and you don’t get better”.  Pretty heavy stuff from the guy that gave us “Jack and Diane”.

This one’s at the top of my list.

–Jeff Dorgay