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Metro Canada News: No Better Than This 4 out of 5 Stars Review
08.13.2010 - Metro Canada 4 out of 5 Stars - By Graham Rockingham

John Mellencamp has been telling us for years that he doesn’t want to be a rock star anymore.

Just in case you didn’t get the message with his raw 2008 release Life, Death, Love and Freedom, he’s now served up No Better Than This — an album that proudly proclaims “recorded in mono” on its jacket.

It sounds like it fell off the back of a chuck wagon steered by geezer twins Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan — which in many ways it was.

Mellencamp recorded it off a single microphone while touring minor league baseball parks with the two legendary songwriters. He even taped one track —  Right Behind Me — in the same San Antonio hotel room that Robert Johnson recorded Cross Road Blues.

The end result, pieced together by producer T-Bone Burnett, is a lo-fi triumph of Americana folk rock a la Johnny Cash, John Prine or Steve Earle. The voice is ragged but the title track’s message is starkly clear — eat up life now cuz there ain’t no seconds.

It may be a bit jaded, even a tad cynical, but, at 59, Mellencamp can do as he pleases. Rock stars come and go. Great songs never die.

Outstanding track: Save Some Time to Dream 


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