No Better Than This
Partially recorded at the historic Sun Studio in Memphis, John Mellencamp’s latest album trades his signature heartland rockers for mellow, acoustic songs that tip the proverbial hat to rock/country pioneers Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. Standout tracks like “No Better Than This,” “Coming Down the Road” and “Each Day of Sorrow” feature a classic, rocking boom-chuck bass line and were recorded with a process similar to the one used by Sun Records founder Sam Phillips. Though the sparse production here is a pleasant throwback, John’s weathered voice loses some of its clarity in this production style, and the lyrics are a bit clunky at times. “Save Some Time to Dream” is a hodgepodge of sometimes-trite advice such as Take some time to think before you speak your mind, while “Love at First Sight,” which begins with a man’s romantic musings on love and marriage with a stranger, quickly turns into a morbid, second-rate story of adultery and murder. Still, procurers of classic country-rock and rockabilly should find some gems in this set.