Uh-Huh (1983)


 
1. Crumblin' Down 2. Pink Houses 3. The Authority Song 4. Warmer Place 5. Jackie O 6. Play Guitar 7. Serious Business 8. Lovin' Mother For Ya 9. Golden Gates

 

Mellencamp's follow up to the massively successful American Fool is in every way, exactly what it should be. The arrangements and song writing are a bit more complex, he's venturing into slightly more varied styles, but the music remains just as authentic, just as honest and open, as one would hope. If anything, Mellencamp seems to be subconsciously fighting what many would expect a "new" superstar to be embracing. He decided to start using his real, geeky last name instead of the industry's insistence of being called "Cougar". Also, the album title itself is as simple and unassuming as it can be, and his first single (and best song) off the album Crumblin' Down featured a video with no effects - basically Mellencamp prancing around an empty room with nothing but a wooden chair as a prop. Nope, he wasn't going to go for the over indulgence that would become synonymous with the eighties.

Maybe this is why the album slipped a notch in sales and popularity. Not that any of that really matters. This is mostly a very fine collection, and probably "rocks" harder than anything in his catalog. He is starting to slowly show his somewhat political side, but the method is unoffensive. He's sings of the underprivileged and uneducated on songs such as the infectious Pink Houses and the pretty closer Golden Gates and his rebellious youth is still intact on Play Guitar and the should-have-been-a-hit The Authority Song.

He only really embarrasses himself once on the tune Jackie O. I'm not really sure exactly what he was trying to do on this song. The entire track sounds like a cheap demo - the only instrument seems to be one of those 1970 style home electric organs that "play themselves". He probably has some artistic reason for this, but what it is, is beyond me. There's not much on volume here - the whole album clocks in at 33 minutes, so one bad song stands out. Fortunately everything else is either "very good", or downright awesome. It also proved American Fool was no fluke.

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