ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 14, 1991
By Steve Newton
First it was Johnny Cougar, then John Cougar, then John Cougar Mellencamp, and now John Mellencamp. On his next album he’ll probably just be John. But that’s okay, ’cause names aren’t important when your music’s as brilliant as it is on Whenever We Wanted.
While Mellencamp’s new album clocks in at only a skimpy 39 minutes, the awesome quality of every damn tune makes for 39 minutes to be savoured many times over. There’s only one soft tune in the bunch, the other nine being gut-bucket, deliciously raucous guitar-based boogie in the same mould as the Stones’ “Brown Sugar”.
There are more classics here than at a Mustang rally. To quote one of Mellencamp’s own tunes, “Check It Out”.