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Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Best of John Mellencamp: 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection


 A review from a Mellencamp fan from way back

Released by Island in 2007

I was kind of torn about giving this collection a 5 star rating - not because it is not a quality sampling of his work, because they are all good choices. But, there's so much that has been left out. But, reality has to set in and the CD publisher just has to leave stuff out - there is only room for ten songs in this collection series.

I always check out the "20th Century Masters" series when I am browsing in the CD section because they usually get a strong cross-section of an artist's work. This is fairly easy if the artist is a flash-in-the-pan type, but Mellencamp has been cranking out hits for more than 25 years. Sure, his best days as a top seller are long gone, but he continues to put out quality work and scores an occasional top 40 song. The wealth of hits to choose from must have made the choices a bit tricky.

This album is arranged in reverse chronological order, covers most of his albums and definitely samples his changes in style. The only album that is represented with two songs is 1985's "Scarecrow". This is arguably his best album and although I personally like "Lonely Ol' Night" much better than "R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A.", "R.O.C.K." is one of his best-known hits and has earned its place on this compilation.

This is most likely not an album for the serious Mellencamp fan (or Mellenhead as some prefer or Mellencamper as John's concert T-shirts say) because a serious fan would have all of these songs on the original albums or on the greatest hits album ("Words and Music") that he recently released. But, it is a good starting point for the casual fan or as a gift for someone who is just starting to convert over to a digital collection (like I said, I'm a fan from way back - I still have Mellencamp on cassette tapes and even on a few on vinyl.)

I rate this collection 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on November 18, 2007.

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