The Most Important Songs From John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp at Farm Aide, 1987 - Farm Aid / Youtube
The artist formerly known as Johnny Cougar, who now goes by his birth name John Mellencamp, is as roots rock an American artist can get. Taking on the heartland rock style and introducing it to the crowd, Mellencamp’s songwriting ability takes you to the actual experiences of life, no sugarcoating and grandiose exaggerations. Furthermore, his bizarre choice of instruments, like fiddles, accordions, and even hammers, are well-implemented throughout his work, making a brand new statement in the rock industry. Mellencamp’s opinions and storytelling of the hardships of daily life, as well as his musings of human emotion, resonate to the core with his listeners. Here are some of John Mellencamp’s greatest tracks in celebration of his contribution to the arts.
“Jack And Diane” – American Fool (1982)
One of Mellencamp’s best songs to date, “Jack And Diane” is a great celebration of youth and a timely message that stays true even as the years go by. The track itself is a a mish-mash arrangement that features frequent pauses and a powerful guitar melody that is tied by the bass line and a clap track.
“Hurts So Good” – American Fool (1982)
Mellencamp goes on a propaganda spree convincing people that ageing isn’t so bad after all. The coming of age track features a light jam with just the right amount of overdrive to accent his vocals. A perfect song around the bonfire, to be honest.
“Pink Houses” – Uh-Huh (1983)
Inspired by a quite literal event (refer to the opening lyric), Pink Houses is a noteworthy celebration of the American identity. Mellencamp beautifully captures the social scenery with his lyrics, and when paired with a laid-back arrangement, makes for an effective song of acceptance and recognition.
“Crumblin’ Down” – Uh-Huh (1983)
The track was inspired by a person’s aspirations being brought down by societal and political reasons. Mellencamp’s touch for the masses never dulled down, as evidenced with this record. He purposefully concludes the story with the unbreakable resolve even in the face of adversity, with the upbeat arrangement that exuded a grit only known to a man wronged.
“Authority Song” – Uh-Huh (1983)
Mellencamp sticks to the “never back down” rhetoric quite well in this track, with a lively progression and a fitting video to boot, stating that authority always wins. It doesn’t faze the narrative of the character, though, coming out grinning from the rubble, proof that winning isn’t always everything.