No Better Than This

Studio Album by released in 2010
No Better Than This's tracklist:
Save Some Time to Dream
The West End
Right Behind Me
A Graceful Fall
No Better Than This
Thinking About You
Coming Down the Road
No One Cares About Me
Love at First Sight
Don't Forget About Me
Each Day of Sorrow
Easter Eve
Clumsy Ol' World

No Better Than This review

John Mellencamp's twenty first full-length work

John Mellencamp’s first studio album was delivered more than thirty years ago. And today the artist has got twenty albums of his own production and a nameless number of sold-out concerts. What else new can he bring to the table, having surpassed the prime of his career? In fact, the man has stored quite a few things to offer. His twenty first full-length work, No Better Than This, is the best assurance. John made a decision to make it a many-faceted reference to the historic places and dates left in the dust of remote times. The cover of the old rocker’s new album is executed in the manner of either cover of an ancient book or an old movie newsstand advertisement and features a black-and-white picture to boost the retro-flavor of the whole idea. All thirteen tracks off No Better Than This were recorded to a tape recorded with the use of only one microphone. Besides, separate stages of the session took place in different remarkable places. One of them is a studio where Elvis Presley himself worked. Then, what about music? And the music is not what you expected. Fortunately.

A peculiar atmosphere of No Better Than This

It is very likely that John Mellencamp has finally began surrendering to the pressure of the accumulating years. After all, he is fifty five. On the other hand, he could have simply tuned himself to a lyrical or philosophical mood. Then, again, he could have absorbed a weaker spirit of the American nation which is not so much adapted to such economic calamities like the recent recession still tangible even in the States. Whatever the case, there was a reason why Mellencamp put aside loud, truly rocking, compositions he liked to shake thousands of viewers with at his gigs. No Better Than This is quite a serious, personal and considerate album bringing up problems many of us are familiar with. Of course, rolling electric guitar and hailing rhythm section is not a good background for speculations on uneasy things. John, whether you expected this or not, turned abruptly to folk-rock. There is a certain idea behind selecting the far-from-perfect recording equipment. The acoustic instruments taped with this kind of devices sound very natural and pleasant. And in such acoustic surroundings, the stories by Mellencamp unfold.

Mellencamp is still intriguing and unpredictable

The majority of the songs from No Better Than This are short-time, yet eventful, journeys into the inner worlds of people whose names we don’t know, but in whose shoes any of listeners may appear. No One Cares About Me is a composition about loneliness, and Coming Down The Road is a confession from a person who has not lived like desired. John had to sing about love and did it o the top quality in Thinking About You. Don’t Forget About Me, another lyrical piece, has nice a text, but the best thing about this song is John’s supreme singing. He, obviously, is in shape. These simple verses disclose high concentration of human passions, uneasy tales of sadness, longing and solitude. Mellencamp applies quite an available language to translate any thought and reach out for any listener. No Better Than This features him as a crafted story-teller. In most cases, John used to write completely different lyrics. And now it seems he should have written like this all the time. The man's followers must be really happy that even today he can be so unexpected and interesting to them.

Alex Bartholomew (02.09.2010)
Rate review4.62
Total votes - 32

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