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Strong points can't hide inconsistency

By John Cougar Mellencamp

Mercury Records: 1983

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This review first appeared in the November 30, 1983 issue of The Daily Aztec.

John Cougar's new album, "Uh-Huh," is in the same vein as his first three except for his name – defying the record company suits and siding with Mom, Cougar has decided to use his real, non-Hollywood last name of Mellencamp. After three albums of "Mellencamp" appearing only on his song credits (at least proving to his mother that he really was working), he has finally had enough success to do things his way.

The first side of the album is very good. It opens with the album's first single, "Crumblin' Down." While the lyrics aren't earthshaking (Saw my picture in the paper, Read the news around my face, And some people don't want to treat me the same), the melody is strong, with some very nice passages.

The best song here is the second, "Pink Houses." Drawing on the same sort of heartland vibe as Bruce Springsteen's best work, it is Mellencamp's vocals that carry the song. It is only here that something other than the overbearing drums is dominant, and it's a nice change.

The rest of the album is pretty weak, comprised of medium tempo rockers without a whole lot to let them stand out. On the sleeve was the message, "This album was written, arranged and recorded during a 16-day blow-out at THE SHACK." A little more time invested might have yielded a more consistent result.