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There's a black man with a black cat living in a black neighborhood
he's got an interstate running trough his frontyard
you know he thinks
he's got it so good
and there's a woman in the kitchen cleaning up the evening slop
and he looks at her and says,
"Hey darlin' I can remember when you could stop a clock"

oh but ain't that America for you and me
ain't that America we're something to see
ain't that America home of the free
little pink houses for you and me
oh yeah for you and me

Pink houses / uh-huh (1983)
(00:45 sec. - Real Audio soundclip)
John Mellencamp

..... Last update : Oct. 29th 2000 a personal fanpage


Nobody sings America like John Mellencamp does.
Not even my mother.

You can hear the Great Midwest in his songs.
You hear people's dreams and hopes. You hear guitars and tambourines and beating hearts. You hear happiness and mandolins and love and violins and worries and drums and life and harmonicas and sometimes you hear God hummin' along.

John doesn't sing about easy loves, hot places, damn good hotdogs, fast cars, sunsets at expensive beach resorts etc....
No, he sings about the true life, about ordinary people just trying to make life work. About good and bad times and about picking up after a fall and do the best you can do and trying to make your dreams come true.
It's the way he makes this boring truth of naked life rock so damn good, you believe your own life is a limited edition Versace creation.

All soundclips are in Real Audio format. Quality may differ and is generally acceptable - though never as good as CD or MP3 music.

When I became really involved into music in 1984, I started looking abroad because national broadcasting wasn't providing me with enough good songs to fill up a descent weekly personal Top-50. I started scouring foreign charts, in search of more great songs.
John 'Cougar' Mellencamp was at that time (and still is in fact) relatively unknown on this site of the Atlantic.
I discovered the man and his music on AFN (American Forces Network), a station broadcasting every Sunday afternoon the 40 best Billboard 100 songs.

Uh-huh (1983) .
At that time, John 'Cougar' Mellencamp had 'Pink houses' in the charts, the second single of his album 'Uh-huh'. The song ruled the Billboard charts for months. I wasn't carried away immediately though, mainly because of the title.
When you're a young dude you dislike things in pink. Even good songs.
You like cool things. Something more like the next single 'Authority song' (I fight authority, Authority always wins) with those rocking and smoking guitars. That was all I needed.
It impressed my young soul a lot more...

They like to get you
in a compromising position
they like to get you there
and smile in your face
they think you're so cute
when they got you in that condition
well I think it's a total total disgrace
and I sing

I fight authority
authority always wins

. play... . Authority song
Uh-huh (1983)
00:45 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. A typical song you like when you're a 15 year old boy.

I fight authority
authority always wins!

But I really dug that freakin' guitar riff.


As I got older I started to appreciate 'Pink houses' more and more.
I even bought the single (mind you, I already owned the album) which sleevewise portrays a cool John Cougar Mellencamp with a cigarette dangling from his lips. These kinda things were possible in the early 80s when health care was still... erm... away.
Though John can be assured I didn't pick up smoking. I was a fan with a healthy pair of braincells.

. play... . Pink houses
Uh-huh (1983)
00:45 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. The sleeve made it to a wall in my bedroom and it's still there after all these years.

7' sleeve for 'Pink houses' - 1983

Looks kinda great.


There's a black man with a black cat living in a black neighborhood
he's got an interstate running trough his frontyard
you know he thinks
he's got it so good
and there's a woman in the kitchen cleaning up the evening slop
and he looks at her and says,
"Hey darlin' I can remember when you could stop a clock"

oh but ain't that America
for you and me
ain't that America
we're something to see
ain't that America
home of the free
little pink houses
for you and me
oh yeah for you and me

Only some years later I could buy the full album.
Initially I liked it a lot but nowadays I find it to be a little disappointing, certainly when compared with Johns other albums.
Only the songs that made it to the charts and a rocking 'Lovin' mother fo ya' are really great, all other songs don't keep hanging around a lot.

Though my sister likes 'Jackie O.' and 'Golden gates'... which are adorable nice slow songs (of course - and to be honest not that bad, but don't tell my sister).

So you went to a party
at Jacqueline Onassis
if you're so smart
why don't you wear glasses
so you can see
what you're doing to me
so you can see
what you're doing to me
so you can see what tomorrow might bring

Underneath your breath
you know I heard you cussin'
you were talking
to my second cousin
where you talking about me?

. play... . Jackie O.
Uh-huh (1983)
00:39 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. This song always reminds me of Jacqueline Bisset.

Okay, it's not a big problem.

But I only saw that Kennedy movie once... and I was only something like nine years old. She made a hell of an impression.


. American fool (1982)
The first Mellencamp album I could put my hands on was in fact 'American fool'.
It was in the album collection of a good friend. How he managed to get this record as a birthday gift is beyond me, because Mellencamp was and still is is very unknown in our small country.
Anyway, he was glad somebody paid some attention to the black sheep in his collection.
It was loaded with fine rock songs great songs like 'Hand to hold on to', 'Close enough' and 'Hurts so good'. I listened many times to it and learned how to play the air-guitar, what proved to be much easier than the air-drums (the drumchair was very tricky).

. play... . Hurts so good
American fool (1982)
00:41 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Album opener.

It rocks so easy...


When I was a young boy
said put away those young boy ways
now that I'm gettin' older, so much older
I love all those young boy days
with a girl like you
with a girl like you
Lord knows there are things we can do
baby, just me and you
come on and make it

Hurt so good
come on baby, make it hurt so good
sometimes love don't feel like it should
you make it hurts so good

Not only the music impressed me, but Johns image as well.

I really liked his haircut, it wasn't like those long haired hard rockers. It was wild and clean and stylish (on the album sleeves anyway, the only referential material I had) and I was glad my hair grew the same way and had the same style.
I was 16 yeas old and I thought, be hip, be someone else.
And every two months, a major battle took place in the house when my mother decided I needed a haircut. She always won.

Diane's sittin' on Jacky's lap
he's got his hand between her knees
Jacky say
'Hey Diane
lets run off behind a shady tree'
dribble off those Bobby Brooks
let me do what I please.

And Jacky say
oh yeah life goes on
long after the thrill of livin is gone
oh yeay say
life goes on
long after the thrill of livin is gone
they walk on

. play... . Jack & Diane
American fool (1982)
00:39 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. One of the few Mellencamp songs local DJs play from time to time - if you feed them properly.

Life still goes on, long after the thrill of living has gone. is a damn fine line.


My adoration went as far as putting 'John Cougar Mellencamp' in big letters on my satchel.
This was (and still is) tradition on schools. Other kids wrote 'Kiss', 'Iron Maiden' or 'AC/DC' on theirs, but I was the only one with 'John Cougar Mellencamp'. Nobody knew this guy, but it sounded very cool so I was pretty save.
And I felt good about it. Be original.

Office girls, they pass me by
they don't know my name
put me on the danger list
just too wild to tame

Take the drinks off of the table
throw my guitar out the door
set my sights on some new sunrise
help my feet to the floor

I ain't lookin' for affection
I guess I need myself a shove
give me someone I can look up to
show me someone I can love

. play... . Danger list
American fool (1982)
00:48 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. My favorite on the album. .

Scarecrow (1985) .

In '85 the new album 'Scarecrow' was released and horrors, horrors... it didn't get much airplay over here. I had to listen all day to AFN to hear some of the new songs.
Luckily a distant town had a library where you could also rent music albums and I paid it a visit every week until I could finally put my hands on this new album. It was great. It offered a lot more, compared to previous albums. It seemed to contain more music, more variation and the songs had grown and sounded stronger.
Many songs carry out the message you have to get a grip on your life and make the best of it. It sounds like my parents, only much much better and without the 'Told you so!' remarks.

'Rain on the scarecrow' is the first song.
It's about the troubles - mostly financial problems - many small farmers are having in the Midwest. Johns roots are here and he cares, you hear a deep anger and the powerlessness in this song.

Scarecrow on a wooden cross
blackbird in the barn
four hundred empty acres that used to be my farm
I grew up like my daddy did
my grandpa cleared this land
when I was five I walked the fence while grandpa held my hand

Rain on the scarecrow
blood on the plow
this land fed a nation
this land made me proud
and son I'm just sorry there's no legacy for you now
rain on the scarecrow
blood on the plow

. play... . Rain on the scarecrow
Scarecrow (1985)
00:37 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. I believe he put a lot of his heart and his soul into this song - it gives a song big big wings.

A lot of fans like this song as one of their most favorite Mellencamp songs

Fabulous lyrics - straight from the heart.


'Minutes to memories' is pure wisdom, wisdom from the elder folks.
I fully discovered this song when I was doing this page. I never got to listen attentive to the lyrics before (not having a native English tongue I only occasionally dig deeper into a songs lyrics) but they reveal a superb beautiful song that rocks enough to pass the message.

On a greyhound
thirty miles beyond Jamestown
he saw the sun set
on the Tennessee line
he looked at the young man
who was riding beside him
he said I'm old kind of worn out inside
I worked my whole life
in the steel mills near Gary
and my father before me
I helped build this land
now I'm seventy-seven
and with God as my witness
I earned every dollar
that passed through my hands

My family and friends are the best things I've known
through the eye of the needle I'll carry them home

Days turn to minutes
and minutes to memories
life sweeps away the dreams
that we have planned
you are young
and you are the future
so suck it up
and tough it out
and be the best you can

. play... . Minutes to memories
Scarecrow (1985)
00:43 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. John likes to tell stories in his songs.

This is about an old man on a Greyhound talking to a young fellow traveler being John.

It's all about good advice.
About life sweeping away your dreams and you gotta do the best you can.

Of course he's right...

But I guess like many others, I'll only realize this when I'm old and rinkled.


'Lonely 'ol night' is one of those 'no-easy-love' songs.
You don't exactly love the other, but you surely don't wanna be alone. Or how two people end up together and try to make the best out of it. I think it's an honest song, it rocks (but you probably knew this already) and it's so much different from all that easy love in the charts.

. play... . Lonely ol' night
Scarecrow (1985)
00:43 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Happens all the time.

You like her, she likes you, but you don't exactly love her and she probably doesn't exactly love you but you hate to be alone and so does she.
So you're stuck together.

Happens all the time, but it takes some tough moments to see it both.
Yep, another example why life shouldn't be sold without a decent manual.


Radio playing softly
some singer's sad sad song
he's singing
about standing in the shadows of love
I guess he feels awfully alone
she says I know exactly what he means
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
and it's a sad, sad, sad, sad feeling
when you're living on those in-betweens
but it's okay

It's a lonely ol' night
can I put my arms around you
it's a lonely ol' night
custom made for two lonely people
like we

I consider 'Scarecrow' to be one of Johns best albums.
Even now - 15 years later, I still like to play it.
Songs like 'Small town', 'Between a laugh and a tear' and 'Rumbleseat' are much appreciated in my life.
'You've got to stand for something' is once more a wisdom song I like to I think of. You gotta stand for something or you gonna fall for everything, it means you gotta do something with your life, give it some contents or you'll end up as nothing, falling for everything.
And it rocks, how about that.

With the single 'R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (a salute to 60's rock)' John Cougar Mellencamp had a big hit in the USA.

. play... . R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.
(a salute to 60s rock)
Scarecrow (1985)
00:37 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. The chartbuster.

Even Belgian stations know this song, though not that often.


They come from the cities
and they come from the smaller towns
beat up cars with guitars and drummers
goin' crack boom bang

R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.
R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.
R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.
yeah yeah
Rockin' in the U.S.A.

Well they said goodbye to their families
said goodbye to their friends

No surprise, it's a great song.
But I was surprised even local DJs - the better kind, I admit - played it every now and than on parties in my hometown.

It seemed like the people in Belgium were slowly getting ready...

. Nothin' matters and what if it did (1980)

About the same time, I discovered 'Nothin' matters and what if it did' on the library list. It's one of Johns earlier recordings dating back to 1980.
It didn't work for me.
I didn't even bother to listen a second time to it. I didn't even tape it. I judged the album contained too many X-mas songs. I was misguided by the piano and X-mas angels doing backing vocals on some of the songs.
In fact, the album didn't have these wild guitars as on 'Uh-huh' and on 'Scarecrow', so it put me off.
Hey, I was a young dude and I was hungry for that healthy noise like on 'Scarecrow'.

Some years later I gave it another try and strangely enough, it became one of my favorite Mellencamp albums.
This album has a more gentle touch, but it still rocks. Songs like 'Ain't even done with the night', 'Wild angel' or 'Hot night in a cold town' are more melodious compared to those yelling rocksongs.

. play... . Ain't even done with the night
Nothin' matters and what if it did
00:50 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. This song has one of my all time favorite openings lines.
Sounds just great.

Well our hearts
beat like thunder
I don't know why
they don't explode
you got your hands
in my back pockets
and Sam Cooke's singin' on the radio
you say that I'm the boy
who can make it all come true
well I'm tellin' ya
that I don't know
if I know what to do

You say that's all right,
hold tight
well I don't even know
if I'm doin' this right
well, all right

I especially like 'To M.G. (wherever she may be)', a song about first kisses and stuff and those inevitable memories.
The lyrics are straight from the heart and damn good.

. play... . To M.G. (wherever she may be)
Nothin' matters and what if it did
00:41 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. John knows as no other how to use a piano in a song without sounding like a sissy. .

I was watching a movie
the other night on TV
the actress reminded me of you
her attitude
the way that she smiled
she was doin' a part girl
like you used to do
I do believe you played it better
if it wasn't better
it was just as strong
I would've called you up
on the telephone that night
but somehow girl
it'd been all wrong

It is Johns second (official) album and you can hear some songs lack a natural touch most future songs will have.
'Nothin' matters and what if it did' sounds great but only because the boys put a lot of time and work into it, that's the only way to perfection

The lonesome jubilee (1987) .

Then, it happened.
In 1987 'The Lonesome Jubilee' appeared and it was smashing good, even local mainstream radio-stations started to broadcast (well, not very often - but it was a start) songs like 'Paper in fire', 'Cherry Bomb' or 'Check it out'.
It looked like Johns music had finally made it to Belgium.
I wasn't a crusader anymore. The country was converted to some true rock'n roll - at last.

Fact is that John Mellencamp had changed for the better. He dropped the 'Cougar' thing (the 'Cougar' thing was a record company idea he never liked) and paid more attention to music on the outskirts of rock'n roll. On this album fiddles, tambourines, accordions, harmonicas etc... appeared, and all of this gave the album a real healthy rock roots sound.
It swings.

. play... . Cherry bomb
Paper in fire (1987)
00:48 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. And swinging away into Johns memories to the club 'Cherry bomb'.

Yeah, you always remember the good stuff about being young.
Where are the times when I couldn't drink as much beer as I wanted?

But a great song, makes you wanna dance...


there was always something doin'
had me a couple of real nice girlfriends
stopped by to see me every once in a while
when I think back about those days
all I can do is sit and smile

That's when a sport was a sport
and groovin' was groovin'
and dancin' meant everything
we were young and we were improvin'
laughin' laughin'
with our friends
holdin' hands meant somethin' baby
outside the club "Cherry Bomb"

The most impressive song for me is 'Hotdogs and hamburgers'.
It's a small story disguised as a marvelous song. And I like it, even if the song title sounds a bit weird.

Drivin' down on a dry summer's day
old route 66 and I was just a kid
met a pretty little indian girl
along the way
got her into my car
and tried to give her a kiss
I'll give you beads and wampum
whatever it takes girl
to make you trade
she jumped into the back seat
and she kinda flipped her lid
she said you're trying to get something for nothing
like the pilgrims in the olden days

We rode for a while till the sun went down
and I realized it was sort of an honor
bein' around this girl
I felt embarrassed
of what I tried to do earlier that day
she was the saddest girl I ever knew
she told me stories about the indian nations
and how the white man stole their lives away
and although she kinda liked me
she could never trust me
and when the sun comes up
we'd go our different ways

. play... . Hotdogs and hamburgers
Paper in fire (1987)
00:50 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. There are some songs that are better than many books or movies and this is such a song.

I can see it all happen as I listen to the song, it's so vividly and realistic, though nothing much seems to happen.

And all the way the music fits in perfectly with the story, swinging so good and modestly along with the lines, it's so great... it puts a smile on your face.


Though there are some songs I find to be too square.
'Empty hands', 'Hard times' and 'Down and out in paradise' don't seduce me that much. Singing social engagement songs is tricky and only the use of these newly introduced traditional music instruments prevents them from collapsing.
But all in all, the album has a good swinging spirit.
John tried something new and we appreciated it.

. John Cougar (1979)

Meanwhile, having bought a car of my own - big enough to demand my own space on busy Belgian roads, I could visit far away (as up to a massive 20 miles away) record shops and that's how an older recording was discovered.
I bought it.
I believe 'John Cougar' is Johns first official recording for a major record company.

I was surprised to find 'I need a lover' on it.
Radiostations over here very occasionally play the Pat Benetar version but they never mentioned the rightful credits and I never bothered to find it out. I always believed it was her song. How was I supposed to now?
So it was a sweet surprise to find out John had made this song.

. play... . I need a lover
John Cougar (1979)
00:41 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Wow, I never know John had already a classic song on his first album. .

I need a lover
that won't drive me crazy
I need a lover
that won't drive me crazy
I need a lover
that won't drive me crazy
some girl that knows the meaning
of... hey hit the highway

Well I've been walking the streets
up and down
through the urban jungle tonight

But I never played this record that much because it was - well... 'old'.
I was wrong - other Mellencamp fans (yes, they exist here in Belgium - we meet at dark in very remote places and we go nuts on this mans music...) pointed this out to me.

'A little night dancin'', 'Small paradise', 'Miami', 'Great Mid-West'... wait, I'm just typing over the complete tracklist...
Well, it's a good album anyway and now, I play it more often.
Just for fun, when I'm tired of studying today's crappy music releases.

. play... . Miami
John Cougar (1979)
00:41 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. John doesn't sing about hot places etc...?

And what's this song about girls in sunny Miami.
Hey, the guy was a young man too once...


Well I hear in Miami
they have a lot of girls
who toast their flesh in the sun
living on allowances
they receive from the old man at home
to keep up appearances
to have fun

Yeah baby
living in Miami
I know you're hip to those hotel alibis
I know you're nowhere near twenty
but I ain't the kind to kiss and tell or tell lies

Big daddy (1989) .
'Big daddy' was released in '89 without me even knowing it. I was in college so I had better things to do and I wasn't that obsessive with music anymore like listening to foreign radiostations.
National (and I bet even European) media didn't cover Mellencamp, unless you dug into the more specialized press. You really had to look hard for information on Mellencamp in those days.

One day I heard 'Jackie Brown' on national broadcasting.

. play... . Jackie Brown
Big daddy (1989)
00:41 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Jackie Brown ?

Well, someone who didn't get the best chances in life.


is this your wife Jackie Brown
with sad blue eyes
walking on eggshells
so you don't see her frown
is this your family Jackie Brown

Dream of vacationing
on a mountain stream
and giving the world
more than it gave you
what ugly truths freedom brings
and it hasn't been very kind to you
is this your life Jackie Brown

Years later I bought the album somewhere second hand.
Initially I didn't play it that much, only recently when my hunger for Mellencamp stuff got too big I locked 'Big daddy' up in my stereo for several weeks and I was rewarded with finding several nice songs.
No lyrics with this album and no screaming rock songs with catchy hooks.
This means you gotta invest some quality time into it to get some fun out of it.

drove around all night long
playing music very, very loud
big noise, all the time
little legends in a little town

Moments of time they shared together
moments of time between two friends
standing on street corners
with shirts unbuttoned
there was a moment in time
they swore they were friends
until the end

. play... . Theo and weird Henry
Big daddy (1989)
00:45 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. It works, like this song which is one of my recent favorites.

It's like with girlfriends.
Listen to them and most of the time you find yourself being rewarded.
(My granddad lets me know this is a stinky comparison.)


This is what we call a 'grow' album, it means you have to dig deep and deeper into it.
Listen many times to it and you get to know some fine songs ('Void in my heart', 'Sometimes a great notion', 'Big daddy of them all' and many more...) and, songs that make you happy because they're so adorable.

. Whenever we wanted (1991)

When the next new album 'Whenever we wanted' was released two years later I was still in college (final year).
The single 'Last chance' took me by surprise on the airwaves. Another masterpiece that got my hearts attention and that's why I bought this new album some weeks later.
The man had made another rockin' good album.
Back then, I liked it better than 'Big daddy'. Noisy rock and drivin' guitars were in the foreground again and I found major parts of it to be kickin' good.
There was life in this album and it was screaming for attention.

It opens with 'Love and happiness', a hell of a song.
After the previous more gentle albums this one kicks off like a bolt out of the blue.

Well, we're droppin' our bombs
in the southern hemisphere
and people are starving
that live right here
and they're tearing down walls
in the name of peace
and they're killing each other
in the Middle East

Yeah but love and happiness
have forgotten our names
and there's no value left
in love and happiness

Oh yeah

. play... . Love and happiness
Whenever we wanted (1991)
00:43 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. A hell of a way to open an album.

Sounds like a dinosaur is playing the guitar.
And he's having fun.


'Last chance' was and still is my number one favorite on this album.
Another message you can't sit on your sore ass all your life. Get up and get the most out of it.
Once more packed in an adorable floating light pop song.

. play... . Last chance
Whenever we wanted (1991)
00:43 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Before I had a close look at the lyrics one fine day, I believed them to be 'Last chance to get her...'.

I liked it.
It was about all the times I hesitated too long to ask a girl for a date.


If there was someone
I'd hold her
if there was love
I'd let it take me away
but I just stay here alone

Last chance to get up
last chance to go
last chance to get up and go

Last chance to get up
last chance to go
last chance to get up and go

I never realized this album was that great.
I guess I was too stucked with Mellencamps older work. If you like it rockin', then this is your best choice. 'I ain't ever satisfied', 'Crazy ones', 'Again tonight', 'Get a leg up'... all songs that rock in a fine modest way.

. play... . Again tonight
Whenever we wanted (1991)
00:45 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Another fine song with a fine catch hook.
It all sounds so easy, so natural.

Without doubt the man can write songs in his sleep.


Run in circles
again tonight
hump the moon
again tonight
gonna wear my dancin' shoes
out tonight
gonna have myself a big time
again tonight

Again tonight
again tonight
again tonight

Around the same time I could buy a bootleg containing 'the Rehearsals for the 1992 "Whenever we wanted" world tour'. This was even more kickin' ass. It contains (as it says) the rehearsals for the world tour and has some of his greatest hits in real upgraded stage versions - without a crowded audience - but studio recorded. A lot of drums and heavy guitars, and everything sounds magnificent.
The world tour came as close as Rotterdam in the Netherlands (about 150 miles away from my doorstep). Me, still in college had other things on my mind and I was unable to go. Later it appeared to be a real great show, in fact as always with John Mellencamp.
The man has a gigantic stage-rep.

Human wheels (1993) .
Two years later when I had lost all interest in music, I heard new Mellencamp stuff on the radio. 'Beige to beige' was even airwaved several times a day for a while. It's a song that fits in well into easy listening radio programs - the kind you always pick up by accident somewhere.
I liked this song right away and bought the new album 'Human wheels' as soon as possible.
I still don't regret it, that's the least you can say. It is my all time favorite Mellencamp album. It has 'good vibes' all over, you hear again underneath modest fun as on 'The lonesome jubilee'.

It opens with 'When Jesus left Birmingham', a marvelous easy poprock song with feeling.
'Junior', 'Human wheels' and 'Beige to beige' keep up the high standards without any sweat.
It starts off great.

. play... . Junior
Human wheels (1993)
00:39 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. 'They call me Junior...' is again another story song.

I think John likes to play his songs in a bigger dimension. He does a great job crawling under the skin of the characters walking around in his songs.


I know I'm missing something
but I don't know what it is
that I don't got

I sit here watchin'
the people down below
I try to imagine
the places they may go
I don't know
I stay home a lot
I know I'm missing something
but I don't know what it is
that I don't got

I see the world through a TV-guide
what a safe place for me to run
what a small little man I am
I'm afraid of everything
from golden rules to airoplanes
what a small little man I am

But in the first place it's the music that attracts me.
All these instruments, you really have to be a Master of song to control this variety of rocking instruments.

I fell in love with this album.
The strange thing is it's not fabulous all the way. Not for me at least.
'French shoes' and 'To the river' are just fine popsongs, but they don't work for me. Though I don't mind listening to them, as I already said, they're fine pop songs.

that's all it is these days
little windows for you to crawl through
you just do what's expected of you
it's just beige to beige
to beige
these days

Uniforms for this and that
to be in our club you must wear this hat

. play... . Beige to beige
Human wheels (1993)
00:43 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. A catchy poprock song.

Nice enough to get attention of some local radiostations.


Initially 'Beige to beige was my favorite, but after a few days playing this album I cought an adoration for 'What if I came knocking'.
Most of the times this is my all time favorite Mellencamp song.

. play... . What if I came knocking
Human wheels (1993)
00:45 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. About love...

And doubt...

This song burns!


what if I came knocking
what if I came knocking
what if I came knocking
what if I came knocking
on your frontdoor
that same night

So let's say it worked out
like a storybook dream
and we lived happily ever after
fa la la la

But the album has these five huge super songs, which are absolutely fabulous and bomb this album to a first place.
Many many times I have listened to this album in my car.
It's an excellent companion on long trips - and you can sing along time after time after time, while you're amazed that music can be that good.

Dance naked (1994) .
With his next album 'Dance naked' the man hit a number one song again in the States.
'Wild night' was a rocking duet with a pretty unknown Me'Shell Ndegéocello.
I liked the song but wasn't really impressed with it. I even didn't buy the forthcoming album immediately, I did it years later, again on the second-hand market.
I must confess, initially this was the album I like the least. It's short (not even 30 min. for 8 songs) and half of the songs didn't spin long enough in my head, heart or wherever.

But you gotta give it some time to find some the beauty...
'Wild night' is indeed a fine pop song, it is one of the few covers Mellencamp has done so far.

when you're walking down
out on the street
and the wind catches your feet
and sends you flyin'
oo-ooh wee
the wild night is calling

All the girls walk by
dressed up for each other
and the boys do the boogie woogie
on the corner of the street
and the people passing by
just stare with the wild wonder
and inside the juke box roars
just like thunder

. play... . Wild night
with : Me'Shell Ndegéocello
Dance naked (1994)
00:48 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Every time I hear this song, I like it more and more and I get to understand why it got all the way to the top of the Billboard 100.

One more song to kick ass on the kitchenfloor trying to impress the furniture...


'Brothers' and 'When Margaret comes to town' have their moments, if you take the time to listen to them.
Just like 'Another sunny day 12/25' and 'Too much to think about' (nice hook) and 'The big jack' which I call adorable enough to be a favorite.
And 'Dance naked' is a song that catches on quickly.

spin it round and round
and round

I want you to dance naked
I promise I won't touch you
I promise to tell no one
I want you to dance naked

Spin it round and round
spin it round and round and round
spin it round and round
and round
I want you to dance naked

. play... . Dance naked
Dance naked (1994)
00:41 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Now I know why girlfriends were put on earth. .

This leaves 2 songs that stand too much in the shadow.
So I can conclude this album wasn't that bad at all. It's good enough to spend some time with it when the cat doesn't want to play with you.
I should play it more often, really.

. Mr. Happy, go lucky (1996)
Luckily a friend bought the next album 'Mr. Happy go lucky' so I could listen to it but I didn't found it that much appealing.
Until now it's the only Mellencamp album I don't have so I really cannot comment much on it. However I plan to buy it as soon as I see it for a good price.

The only songs I still remember are 'Key West intermezzo (I saw you first)' and 'Another day'.
All other songs will demand some more listening to get to know them I guess.

. play... . Just another day
Mr. Happy, go lucky (1996)
00:35 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Catchy.
I mean simply brilliant.

Bobie Doll tells me
"live in the moment"
don't get too far ahead
don't live in the past
I blink my eyes and the moment is over
I guess another day has passed

But it's just another day
it's just another day
watching girls on the street
well, that's alright with me
and it's just another day

I read a review on the net somewhere stating this was one of Mellencamps best albums.
So I should buy it soon.
I don't want to copy my friends example, I'm one of those weirdo's who need the genuine thing. However, I have it on tape somewhere where I can't find it.

John Mellencamp (1998) .
I discovered this album on the internet. It was released in the States in October '98, what appeared to be three months sooner as in Europe.
So I ordered it directly in the States, it proved to be very easy and if you spend some time searching and comparing prices (all-in!), you even pay a little less than going out and buying it in a local store.
After two weeks I received the new album entitled 'John Mellencamp', John probably realized he didn't have an album carrying his true name.

I was probably the first in Belgium to have this album - but did it make a happy man?
It's difficult.
For a long time I didn't like it at all. I could hardly find a song that could grab my attention and even the single 'Your life is now' despite containing so much truth didn't work for me.

Horrible I find the samba-sound on 'I'm not running anymore'... once I heard it on the radio and I thought it was a Willy DeVille song (with all respect).

I stand here a black man
I have no history
I was brought up in East Chicago
and I grew up on the streets
the chains around the playground
were the chains around my heart
the brand upon my shoulder
well it reminds you who you are

And it all comes true
yes it all comes true
like a wheel inside a wheel
it turns on you
and you think
what have I done
what can I do
what you believe about yourself
it all comes true

. play... . It all comes true
John Mellencamp (1998)
00:35 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. One of the better tracks on the album.

You have to believe in your own self and the things you like and the things you like to do and then... it all comes true.

Well, the song does explain it in a much better way.


I played it several times and... it still doesn't work, though some songs started to reveal their bright sides but it didn't prevent the album to end up at the bottom of the Mellencamp pile near my stereo. And it looks like it's going to stay there for a long time.
Songs like 'Fruit trader', 'Miss Missy' (wow, this one is nice) and 'It all comes true' are becoming more familiar, but I can't help it to find some boredom on this album.

. play... . Miss Missy
John Mellencamp (1998)
00:39 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. After some time, a favorite popped up. .

a church supper
with grandma and granddad
let's go out
and have ourselves
the best time we've ever had

Goodnight my miss Missy
goodnight, it's time to go home
hey, I might call you later
o missy, girl, it's late
it's time to go home

Rough harvest (1999) .
Johns latest album showed up suddenly.
I cought the news on internet and wondered if 'Rough Harvest' was released in Europe as well since it was a collection of stripped down hits, B-sides, covers, and other various songs. There was no new material on it.
A quick visit to my favorite CD-shop answered the question and I had one more Mellencamp album.
It has an easy and calm rocking sound.
On the innersleeve it pretends to contain the music John and his band make and re-explore informally, for the private comfort and enjoyment of himself and his longtime musical confreres.

I had followed several discussions on the net and one thing was clear. Not everybody liked it.
Only a few defenders showed up, one of them (a girl) told she had bought the album and had listened several times in the midst of night to the new version of 'Between a laugh and a tear'.
It was magnificent.
Having taught from my mother girls are always right, I wasn't afraid of buying the album without even listening to it first.

. play... . Between a laugh and a tear
Rough harvest (1999)
00:41 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. One of the many great songs on 'Scarecrow' gets stripped down.

And I like it better this way.


sometimes life is too ridiculous to live
you count your friends
all on one finger
I know it sounds funny
but that's the way that we live

Between a laugh and a tear
smile in the mirror as you walk by
between a laugh and a tear
and that's as good
as it can get for us
and there ain't no reason
to stop tryin'

It wasn't that bad at all.
Okay, when I heard 'Love and happiness' for the first time in this new version I blinked the eyes. Every wild hook was gone.
That hurt.

Well, we're droppin' our bombs
in the southern hemisphere
and people are starving
that live right here
and they're tearing down walls
in the name of peace
and they're killing each other
in the Middle East

Yeah but love and happiness
have forgotten our names
and there's no value left
in love and happiness

Oh yeah

. play... . Love and happiness
Rough harvest (1999)
00:50 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Sounds like the guitar playing dinosaur on the original version is replaced by a tiger.

Nevertheless, that big cat still knows what a guitar stands for.

And he's having fun too.


But I must confess after some time I started to like it and now I'm happy with it.
It's a Mellencamp I can listen to in the deep of night when I'm tired and I want one more smile on my face before going to bed.

'Between a laugh and a tear' is indeed nice and even sounds better than the original. 'Under the boardwalk' (the single) even carries away my fathers approval and he's very picky.

and your shoes get so hot
you wish your tired feet
were fireproof

Under the boardwalk
down by the sea yeah
on a blanket with my baby
that's where I'll be

Under the boardwalk
yeah we'll be out of the sun
under the boardwalk
we'll be having some fun
under the boardwalk

. play... . Under the boardwalk
Rough Harvest (1999)
00:37 sec. - Real Audio soundclip

. Several covers on the album.
I think this one is well known.

'Farewell Angeline' from Dylan is another cover gracing this album.


I like this album. It offers several of Johns greatest songs ('Key West Intermezzo (I saw you first)', 'Jackie Brown', 'Wild night',...) in more sedated versions and it's good.

The best of the best to rock the house
All in real audio soundclip format.

Tour ticket - the only Mellencamp show I saw - and a great one


The music...

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