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South Africa’s iafrica.com: Life, Death, Love and Freedom Review
12.06.2008 - “If you are a Mellencamp fan, don’t rely on dropping hints for Christmas presents go buy it for yourself. It will be the best musical investment you have made in years."

Life Death Love & Freedom - Article By: Henrie Geyser

Not all good things take time. John Mellencamp spent just 12 months recording what is probably his best ever album.

If you thought his 2007 effort 'Freedom Road' was great, wait until you hear him on 'Life Death Love and Freedom' — the man and his music are simply brilliant.

For most of the songs he has taken a few steps back in time to good old roots rock ‘n roll which is a perfect match for his raspy, drawling style.

But don’t expect pounding, blaring, jiving rock. This is bluesy country stuff — honest, sad, even dark and sombre at times and superbly set against the background of acoustic guitar, the likes of which I have not heard in years.

Mellencamp is an accomplished songwriter and musician who has been around since 1976 and has produced some seriously good quality music in his time, but one senses the strong presence of legendary producer T Bone Burnett in what has been created here.

There is not a hint of folksy, soppy, lone cowboy on the prairie trash in any of the songs. When Mellencamp cries out his loneliness and his fears about growing old, sick and down on life it comes from deep in his soul…. not the sort of music you want to dance to.

There is so much good stuff here it’s difficult to single out the instantly appealing. 'My Sweet Love' stands out for its twangy, almost Diddley-like beat; loved the message of 'If I Die Sudden' and 'Don't Need This Body' and his discussions with the Man Up There in 'A Ride Back Home'.

It's all stylish, soulful and as great as you would expect from a man who has a Grammy or two on his wall and whose name has been recorded for posterity in he Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame.

If you are a Mellencamp fan, don’t rely on dropping hints for Christmas presents — go buy it for yourself. It will be the best musical investment you have made in years.
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