Paste Magazine: 8.8 out of 10 On The Rural Route 7609 Review
09.22.2010 - Paste Magazine By Robert B. Ker
On the Rural Route 7609, John Mellencamp’s new four-disc
retrospective, is no greatest-hits collection; only a few of his many Top 40
songs are featured, and it is instead intended to show his evolution as a
songwriter—not a pop star—with alternate takes of popular vintage tracks
blending naturally with (and providing context for) lesser-known, more recent
material. The songs are arranged thematically rather than chronologically (much
like recent Johnny Cash compilations), an approach that showcases Mellencamp’s
strengths—his knack for lyrical detail and an empathy for the working class.
Those talents shine through whether he’s wielding a roadhouse guitar and
satirist’s pen in the attack on George W. Bush (“Rodeo Clown”) or painting the
bittersweet character portraits of “Pink Houses.” His big hits may be missing,
but they’re not missed.