Tag: John Mellencamp

  • 1987 Pazz & Jop: Significance and Its Discontents in the Year of the Blip

    I grew up in a time when elections still had their popcult charm, like baseball standings. Since age 10 I’ve been rooting for a presidential convention to go into extra ballots, and despite the lives at stake, the first Tuesday of November is my idea of a good night for a TV party. That’s how […]

  • 1985 Pazz & Jop: Virtue Rewarded

    Nineteen eighty-five sure was busy-busy-busy for Chuck and Elvis’s love child. You’d think it’d have its hands full just perverting the nation and feeding the world, but those were epiphenomena. Now more than ever, “rock music” is first and foremost an engine of the culture industry, whence all the rest of its inescapable visibility flows. […]


    On a day full of cookouts, count on the good folks at Do or Dine to offer the only one that you’ll regret missing: Rub-a-Grub. Instead of flipping your own burgers and roasting your own dogs, chefs George McNeese and Justin Warner (the latter soon to premiere his own Food Network series) will be cooking […]

  • John Mellencamp: It’s About You

    John Mellencamp comes across as the kind of anti-establishment millionaire who believes in artistic freedom but knows things are better done his own way, who likes it ragged but also just so. Which, considering his track record, is eminently fair, but it’s enough to give a genuine free spirit fits. Interested in self-documentation but drawn […]

  • Stuff You Need to Know About to Avoid Ostracism

    ERRANT BODY LANGUAGE John Cougar Mellencamp’s habit of lifting his acoustic guitar over his head mid-strum to indicate enthusiasm and virility. Not working. THIS SONG WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE Incidentally, if we hear that terrible “Our Country” song/commercial once more we’re moving to North Korea. It’s enough to scare you off televised sports forever. ALBUM […]

  • Up in Smoke: What John Cougar Mellencamp Wanted to Say

    In Killed, Christopher Hitchens’s intro to a spiked 1942 book review by George Orwell tells us that the 1984 author often “suffered from the cowardice of editors [and] the rejection of manuscripts on overtly political grounds.” Orwell’s piece critiqued the “sloth and greed” of the British empire’s business elite and the “frivolous incompetent civilian” authority […]

  • Kissing a Mule

    Robert Zimmerman wanted to emulate Woody Guthrie, while John Mellencamp aspired to be the next-to-last David Bowie, and here they are at fateful birthdays 60 and 50 respectively, labelmate twins with new albums out that must be their best in years. Names were changed along the way to project the innocent: the compulsive auteur dubbed […]

  • Little Punk Houses For You and Me

    Thee former Mr. Cougrat’s latest offering, Rough Harvest, is a compatible collection of big hits and personal chestnuts, re-recorded with his fave-ravin’ fiddle-and-drum band, during rehearsals, gigs, and other moments gracefully gleaned from the glimmering old gravytrain. No more huge hits a-coming, probably, but anyone who once tapped a toe to, then started to yawn […]