UK's The Word Magazine: Life, Death, Love And Freedom Review

John Mellencamp - Life, Death, Love And Freedom - Hear Music
By Nige Tassell from the November 2008 issue.

T-Bone takes the Springsteen wannabe into the black

T-Bone Burnett is in danger of eclipsing Rick Rubin as the producer an artist is most likely to call when wishing to re-route their career, whether it’s persuading BB King to dispense with those backslapping celebrity collaborations and revisit the music of his youth, or here nudging everyman blue-collar rock Mellencamp away from an FM-radio-friendly rock sound. Instead, Burnett leads the former “Cougar” into some darker corners, shifting into a lower gear to the accompaniment of delicate acoustic arrangements. Such restraint hasn’t halted Mellencamp’s career-long desire to be Bruce Springsteen II, though-tracks like Longest Days, complete with the requisites and paper vocals, could be off-cuts from Nebraska. What’s more, as refreshingly tasteful and considered as Life, Death, Love And Freedom may be, Mellencamp is sticking his flag into territory already claimed by Steve Earle, a man who writes more memorable songs that go deeper into the human condition.

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No. 10
John Mellencamp
A Ride Back Home
Lack of ambition has never been a problem for John Mellencamp His new album is called Life, Death, Love And Freedom, which gives you some hint of its scope. It’s produced by T-Bond Burnett, whose recent success with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss indicates that he knows how to bridge the gap between roots music and the mainstream. Mellencamp reckons it’s the best record he’s ever made.