Sunday, 13 February 2011

Random Review #18 2011 John Cougar - American Fool

C5S3CD16 John Cougar (Mellencamp) looks actually like I tried to replicate when I was about 17 or 18 all denim jacket and old combat jacket looking mean and moody was a look I like to think I carried off, but I suspect I was nowhere near the level of coolest that John Cougar portrayed on the album cover of American Fool.

Called John Cougar as the Record Company thought it was better than Mellencamp it would be a number of years before John would change his name firstly to John Cougar Mellencamp and then to John Mellencamp.

 For some reason I feel John Mellencamp has always been seen as a poor relation to Bruce Springsteen especially in the UK. They both seemed to appear at the same time and both played what was called what was called 'blue collar rock'. but although The Boss when on to huge critical and public acclaim in the UK John Mellencamp disappeared off the radar in the UK and although  he has continued to release brilliant album after brilliant album I suspect most of the UK public's relationship starts and finishes with the big hit from this album Jack And Diane. Most people know the words to Jack and Diane and you can't help singing along to the song whenever it come on the radio.

John Mellencamp went on to release some amazing albums, Big Daddy, Scarecrow, Whatever We Wanted to name but three and continues to this day to release relevant music pushing the boundaries and still fighting for his political beliefs with all the anger he had when he was in his 20's and ready to fight with anybody that looked the wrong way at him!

So what about the album, truthfully it sounds a bit dated now, lead tracks Hurt So Good and Jack and Diane and Hand To Hold On To,are sing along tracks that demand your attention. The production is very of the time and this dates the album, there are some great tracks but I think if John Mellencamp could make this album again now it would sound very different. Other tracks aren't as strong and John Mellencamp went on the make some outstanding albums better than this one, but really this is where it all started for him.

If you are not aware of John Mellencamp's work you would do better to start with one of his greatest hits albums, Words And Music or The Best That I Could Do but if you want to know where it all really started then buy this album.

Mark 6/10

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