People Magazine Life, Death, Love And Freedom Critic's Choice

3 1/2 out of 4 stars
By Chuck Arnold
Having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, John Mellencamp could certainly be forgiven for coasting a bit on the memory of Jack and Diane. Instead, the heartland rocker has released one of his best discs in years. On the stark, stirring meditation on Life, Death, Love, and Freedom, Mellencamp pairs up with Grammy winner producer T Bone Burnett (“OhBrother Where Art Thou”) who brings a rootsy realness to the music and digs out some of the grittiest vocals ever from the singer.Meanwhile, Karen Fairchild of the country group Little Big Town provides vocals on four songs including first single “My Sweet Love”, a little ditty about down home romance. DOWNLOAD THIS: "Longest Days," a spare, Springsteen-esque ballad.