Nothin' Matters and What If if Did (1980)

1. Hot Night in a Cold Town 2. Ain't Even Done With the Night 3. Don't Misunderstand Me 4. This Time 5. Make Me Feel 6. To M.G. (Wherever She May Be) 7. Tonight 8. Cry Baby 9. Wild Angel 10.Peppermint Twist 11.Cheap Shot 12.Latest Game


Jeez, what a name for an album. Those who know Mellencamp (and, remember, few did back then) know that this seems to be one of his many disgruntled mantras, so it's not much of a surprise. Of course, the themes and lyrics here seem to go hand and hand with that sentiment as well. He's still in his young, rebellious phase - being a poster boy for the dissatisfied, small town punk with not much of a future.

Sadly, this record takes a bit of a step back from the brilliant John Cougar album, but the songs are mostly solid, and he fortunately doesn't descend to the levels of his first few disastrous efforts. A lot of the songs are crafted well, they're just not quite as memorable.

There are a few pleasant exceptions. First, the top 40 song Ain't Even Done With the Night is his most memorable thing here. It's a bit sad that most fans aren't even aware that this song even exists since the album was early enough in his career to where no one was quite paying attention. This Time is also a very charming, almost 50's throwback tune, and the best song, which is also the most overlooked is the song sandwiched between the two above titled Don't Misunderstand Me. So, it's fair to say that this release is basically "front loaded".

He get's a little juvenile at times, and his rebel schtick gets old quick. Witness the snippet Cry Baby where he sings about his balls, his nuts and his tool. Well....really the less said the better. It doesn't get much better when he and his "buddies" chime in about "the record company's goin outta bizness, the price of records too damn high" on Cheap Shot. Let's just say the bark is a lot more threatening than it's bite.

It's solid in places, and he hits more often than he misses. And he was just about to breakout in a big big way.

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