JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP : SCARECROW
Label : Riva
Release Date : August 5, 1985
Length : 40:52
Review (AllMusic) : Uh-Huh found John Mellencamp coming into his own, but he perfected his heartland rock with Scarecrow. A loose concept album about lost innocence and the crumbling of small-town America, Scarecrow says as much with its tough rock and gentle folk-rock as it does with its lyrics, which remain a weak point for Mellencamp. Nevertheless, his writing has never been more powerful: "Rain on the Scarecrow" and "Small Town" capture the hopes and fears of Middle America, while "Lonely Ol' Night" and "Rumbleseat" effortlessly convey the desperate loneliness of being stuck in a dead-end life. Those four songs form the core of the album, and while the rest of the album isn't quite as strong, that's only a relative term, since it's filled with lean hooks and powerful, economical playing that make Scarecrow one of the definitive blue-collar rock albums of the mid-'80s.
Review (Wikipedia) : Scarecrow is the eighth studio album by John Mellencamp. Released in August 1985, it peaked at #2 on the U.S. chart behind the Miami Vice Soundtrack. The remastered version was released May 24, 2005 on Mercury/Island/UMe and includes one bonus track. This album contained three Top 10 hits, a record for a Mellencamp album: "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," which peaked at #2 in the U.S.; "Lonely Ol' Night," which peaked at #6; and "Small Town," which also peaked at #6. "Lonely Ol' Night" also peaked at #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, his second chart-topping single on this chart. In 1989, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Scarecrow #95 on its list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s, saying: "Scarecrow consolidated the band's rugged, roots-rock thrash and the ongoing maturation of Mellencamp's lyrics." Rolling Stone also reported that the band spent a month in rehearsals, playing a hundred rock and roll songs from the Sixties before going into the studio. According to the record's producer, Don Gehman, the idea was to "learn all these devices from the past and use them in a new way with John's arrangements." The overall theme of the album is the fading of the American dream in the face of corporate greed. Rolling Stone wrote that songs such as "Face of the Nation," "Minutes to Memories" and "Small Town" have a "bittersweet, reflective tone." In his 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit, Mellencamp said: "With Scarecrow, I was finally starting to find my feet as a songwriter. Finally, for the first time, I realized what I thought I wanted to say in song. ...I wanted it to be more akin to Tennessee Williams, John Steinbeck, Faulkner, as opposed to The Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan."