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Title - 'Life Death Love and Freedom' (Hear Music)
Artist - John Mellencamp

I wish to tell you this straight ... I am not a biased John Mellencamp fan. I indeed have been listening since "American Fool". But where there is a uniqueness to my appreciation is that I never buy one of his records right out of the gate. I let the public get a hold of it. Indeed, we the press throw a few reviews around and in the long and short of it, I will get around to buy the album once I'm ready - or, if it's given to me for review for free, well, even better!

Now, I was immediately impressed with the collaboration of John Mellencamp with Producer, T-Bone Burnett. I have always liked and never been disappointed by T-Bone's work. I thought it could mount up to another pinnacle in John's career. I was not mistaken.

Over his past few albums and really since "Scarecrow in 1985. He has moved closer and closer to the directness that he reaches here on this album. He is operating almost fearlessly as a songwriter. Which is truly to be admired. Because folks, when the lights go out. Our thoughts always are a little more truthful than when we are out and about in our daily lives. John writes about these moments. The people, events and at times life altering moments we all have. Those channels we flick through. Those pages we turn away from. Those so-called reality T.V shows we watch or maybe even the liquor we drink to salve our shaken spirits that this modern world forces at us everyday.

What John Mellencamp does for me through his incredibly soulful voice, music and words is entertain, intrigue and inform me as much as the conversation you would have at a coffee shop. He talks to me. To me, you and "them".

He witnesses the same world we all live in. Not his wealth, politics or lifestyle can strip away the truth that lays itself down every day in front of each and every one of us. Sometimes it's hard to face these things and much easier to look back at a time that will never return again. A simpler time. Maybe? Or to only listen to "safe" music. Nothing that questions or dares.

As an artist, and John Mellencamp is an artist first. He has never really been better. Different? Sure. Haven't we all changed? But, truly better, wounded, and healed. The key is learning, healing. Progress. What is up to you? Is to indulge or not. Listen to the record without thinking too much about his past..or yours. In the process you might find an interesting feeling of hope come out of the songs and through yourself. I did.

I think that this is a masterwork that will hold up for many generations to come. An essential addition to any record catalog and library.





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