Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel: No Better Than This Review

Journal Sentinel By Bob Purvis

John Mellencamp's music has always flirted with the early music of the South, whether it's country, gospel, folk or blues.

His new record, "No Better Than This," in stores Tuesday, is perhaps his greatest and purest love letter to those musical forms.

Written over a period of two weeks using antiquated recording equipment at historical music sites including Sun Studios in Memphis and the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, where Robert Johnson cut an album in 1936, Mellencamp ditched any trappings of modern rock to record an album that resonates with honesty and simplicity.

From the lovely folk ditties "Thinking About You" and "Clumsy Ol' World" to the foot-stomping rockabilly of "Coming Down the Road," Mellencamp's songs avoid what could have easily been an exercise in novelty.

The recording process proves more than just a gimmick, as the ever-present tape hiss lends these songs a sense of instant familiarity and authenticity. And album opener "Save Some Time to Dream" may be the best song he's written in decades.