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Review: Mellencamp album reflects on life and wasted time

The Independent
The Independent
 2022-01-19

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“Strictly a One-Eyed Jack," John Mellencamp (Republic Records)

John Mellencamp‘s latest studio album, “Strictly a One-Eyed Jack,” is a work of deep reflection.

Over the course of 12 new tunes, Mellencamp sings in a raspy sing-song voice mixing blues, folk, and rock in an audio thread of reflections on the past, the future, sadness, and in many cases, some regret.

The highlight of the album is the duet with fellow rock legend Bruce Springsteen on “Wasted Days,” a song that offers the life lessons of Mellencamp classics like his 1982 smash hit "Jack and Diane.”

But instead of the warnings to the young to hold on to their youth as long as they can, “Wasted” is the reflections of a man who realizes that “The end is coming, it’s almost here” and looks back with a sense of the loss of time wasted.

Springsteen also appears on “A Life Full of Rain” and “Did You Say Such a Thing,” a song that will remind Mellencamp fans of his earlier works with its guitar riff and up-tempo rock groove.

Nothing else on the album comes close to “Wasted Time” and “Did You Say Such a Thing,” though the bluesy “Sweet Honey Brown” and “Chasing Rainbows” are close thirds.

Longtime fans of Mellencamp will find much to like on this new offering from the artist. Time spent listening will certainly not be wasted time.

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