The genesis of John Mellencamp’s career is one of the more unique stories in rock n roll history. Forced to change his name to John Cougar in the 70’s before eventually moving back to his given name (with a middle phase as John Cougar Mellencamp), he’s long since overcome the accusations of being a Midwest Bruce Springsteen. His hit making days of the 80’s and 90’s gave way to restless experimentation (Chuck D of Public Enemy on a Mellencamp album? See 2001’s Cuttin’ Heads) which gave way to stripping it all back to the roots of rock. The last 15 years or so have seen Mellencamp develop a cigarette influenced vocal approach that reminds me of Tom Waits. It’s also proved to be a rewarding time to be a John Mellencamp. His 1st album of the 20’s – Strictly A One-Eyed Jack was released just a few weeks ago and it might be his strongest album since 2008’s Life, Death, Love and Freedom. Those Bruce Springsteen comparisons? Not applicable – but Springsteen guests on 3 songs and adds a warmth to these songs that is welcome.
Part 19 of a series that will run every Friday throughout 2012 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays
In the spring of 2012 Seattle, WA was named the top hipster city in the United States. Kind of amusing to me – what is a hipster? To me, a hipster is someone who thinks they are on the cutting edge of fashion, music, and pop culture. You may be able to point out your local hipster crew by looking for the guy with over sized Elvis Costello glasses (oh, snap. that’s what I wear) and the woman with the trendy tattoos all factored into the impossibly fashionable outfit. Sure, these are all generalities but these are the things that come to mind when I think of the term hipster. A strange thing about hipsters – almost no one will admit to being a hipster. I am not a hipster.