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No Better Than This

No Better Than This by John Mellencamp
Released: Jan 2010
Label: New Rounder
Recorded in just a few days, in T-Bone Burnett-produced mono, on antique '50s equipment, in musically historical locales across the South, this album culminates Mellencamp's now decades-long quest for authenticity. As it starts, slurred and shuffled bare-bones dirges about failed lives and broken promises drag you depressively through the Dust Bowl dusk. But eventually, themes get sweeter, and even pick up a bit with an unbaptized gospel number, a light rockabilly with welcome geographical family details, and a Pogues-droning murder ballad.
CHUCK EDDY