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Words & Music: J. Mellencamp's Grt. Hits [2 CD]

4.7 out of 5 stars 177 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 19, 2007
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 19, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B00062ID4W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,417 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A major fixture in American music for over 25 years, Words & Music is John Mellencamp's first (near) career-encompassing collection. Its two discs contain 37 digitally remastered selections - including all 22 of his top 40 hits - covering 14 albums. Mellencamp's only musical phase neglected here is his initial recordings for MCA Records from the mid-70s when he was using the Johnny Cougar moniker (and frankly, they deserve to be ignored).

Even after Mellencamps's first couple of albums on Mercury in 1979 and 1980, it was hard to envision that a long, substantial career lie ahead. With his initial hits "I Need A Lover," "This Time," and "Ain't Even Done With The Night," Mellencamp came across as a rebel with a few good riffs and simplistic lyrics that rarely went beyond stud-boy prowling. "Hurt So Good" - the ultra infectious leadoff single from 1982's American Fool album was more of the same, but Mellencamp's next hit would forever alter his image: "Jack and Diane," a slice of life saga of a boy and girl growing up in the Midwest (like Mellencamp did). The lyrics for "Jack and Diane" and its follow-up "Hand To Hold Onto," remained uncomplicated, but they hold a nostalgic eloquence to which a broader, post adolescent audience could relate.

1983's Uh-Huh (with its enclosed singles "Crumblin' Down," "Pink Houses," and the raucous "Authority Song") showed even more of an emphasis on heartland reflections, while 1985's thematically varied Scarecrow album - with vignettes of rock and roll heroes ("R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A."), the simple life ("Small Town"), young love ("Lonely Ol' Night," "Rumbleseat"), and the plight of the modern farmer ("Rain On The Scarecrow)" - found Mellencamp really coming into his own as a storyteller.
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Format: Audio CD
Now this is a collection to be proud of. His previous disc didn't tell nearly enough of the story (although admittedly it was a "volume one") but this one seems just right.

Every song you know. Every song sounds better from a technical point of view.

Every song is improved by it's context. The album defines a career; it makes his impressive talent obvious.

The two "new ones" are fine...they're "gravy" as I like to say. The "meat and potatoes" part...the "hits" part...is awesome...song after song after song...

...the quality of the songwriting improves dramatically. The musicianship improves dramatically. The scope and breadth of his work is simply well displayed here.

That's EXACTLY what you ask for in a greatest hits type of compilation.

Best of all, you'll hardly ever hit the "skip track" button. It's a joy from stem to stern.

The people who will need this record are:

1) The Mellen-heads...because every Mellencamp fan will need these songs sounding this good.

2) The more casual fan who recognizes a few of the song titles here. This record will expand your appreciation for his career, and you'll find new songs to love.

3) The "student" of rock. This album makes a case for his inclusion amongst the great rock singer-songwriters of all time. While maybe not quite Springsteen, he's close. Certainly up there with (and in my opinion, above) people like Bob Seger, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne and the like.

4) The "newbie". If you're just discovering Mellencamp, or maybe only know one or two songs but want to know more, this will absolutely HOOK you. You'll most likely seek out some of his albums...I recommend starting with "Scarecrow" and "The Lonesome Jubilee."

And on a more superficial level, this is an incredible "car" record. This is one to play with the top down and the volume up.
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Format: Audio CD
OVERVIEW: 25 years and 16 albums later, we're treated to the Mellencamp collection we've been waiting for. It was only a matter of time before a new & improved digitally remastered 2-cd set came out - and here it is! Mellencamp's last compilation is now obsolete - with all the songs from "The Best That I Could Do" being here, minus one song "Without Expression" (of which I hardly miss). This is truly a beautiful collection of Mellencamp's best work.

WHAT YOU GET: 2 discs, 37 tracks - all digitally remastered. 2 new songs - "Walking Tall" and "Thank you" (featuring some great slide guitar). A 10 page booklet listing all the tracks, the players and the albums they came from. The notes say these tracks were chosen and arranged by the artist himself. All 22 "Top 40" songs of Mellencamp's are represented here... including the standards "Hurt So Good", "Jack & Diane", "Crumblin' Down", "Pink Houses", "Authority Song", "Paper In Fire", "I Need A Lover", "Small Town", "R.O.C.K In The USA", "Key West Intermezzo", and more.

EXTRAS & MISC: A bonus DVD is included containing a mere 5 tracks - 1 song 'live', and 4 videos. The albums of Mellencamp are all represented on "Words & Music", minus his first 2 (somewhat obscure) releases. You'll find no songs from "Chestnut Street Incident" (1976), or "Kid Inside" (1977) with probable good reason. Mellencamp's ("Cougar" at the time) self titled album featuring "I Need A Lover", followed by "Nothin Matter's And What If It Did" is where this collection starts. "American Fool" (1982) is where Mellencamp gained his fame featuring stronger song writing with hits, "Hurt So Good" and "Jack & Diane". The success of "Uh Huh" in 1983 (featuring "Pink Houses" and "Crumblin' Down") forever would make Mellencamp a household name.
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Words & Music: J. Mellencamp's Grt. Hits [2 CD]
This item: Words & Music: J. Mellencamp's Grt. Hits [2 CD]
Price: $17.72
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