.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/a3041956925accd2e5be8debf9a56b533e9bef25.jpg Uh-Huh

John Mellencamp

Uh-Huh

Riva
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
December 8, 1983

Written, arranged and recorded during a sixteen-day blowout at the Shack (as stated on the inner sleeve), Uh-huh proves that spontaneity often wins out over endless production tinkering. Stepping away from the shadow of those great soul searchers Seger and Springsteen, Mellencamp has opted for a lean, slightly distorted rec-room sound, and while the lyrics may be shot through with big questions and ponderings, the prime directive is momentum. Sensibility, not sense, matters on such songs as "Crumblin' Down," with its mean guitar strut, and "Authority Song," in which a rollicking melody seems to mock Mellencamp's dialogue with a preacher.

What sustains Uh-huh is Mellencamp's cat-burglar adroitness for pinching fretboard riffs and song stylings from a wealth of primal rock & roll sources. "Serious Business" is a first-class Rolling Stones tribute, while "Lovin' Mother Fo Ya," with its tribal drum-and-vocal chanting and grinding bluesguitar chords, recalls such gin-soaked rockers as George Thorogood. But the humor and untamed spirit of Un-huh is best captured in "Play Guitar," in which Mellencamp matter of factly declares, "If you really want to taste some cool success/You better learn to play guitar," whereupon axe wielders Larry Crane and Mike Wanchic play fast and loose with the climactic chords from "Gloria."

"Uh-Huh" does grow a mite tedious with all the Bible-story imagery that's littered about: Mellencamp goes up the mountain, gets nailed to the cross, sleeps with the devil and somehow survives it all. Still, this collection of brash, full-throttle rockers can only leave one impressed by what can be accomplished in sixteen days.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Don't Dream It's Over”

    Crowded House | 1986

    Early in the sessions for Crowded House's debut album, the band and producer Mitchell Froom were still feeling each other out, and at one point Froom substituted session musicians for the band's Paul Hester and Nick Seymour. "At the time it was a quite threatening thing," Neil Finn told Rolling Stone. "The next day we recorded 'Don't Dream It's Over,' and it had a particularly sad groove to it — I think because Paul and Nick had faced their own mortality." As for the song itself, "It was just about on the one hand feeling kind of lost, and on the other hand sort of urging myself on — don't dream it's over," Finn explained.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com