10 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though credited to John Cougar, 1982’s American Fool marks the moment when John Mellencamp began to assert his true identity as an artist. This is a scrappy version of classic rock ‘n’ roll, built around storytelling lyrics and guitar-centered tunes that harkened back to Dylan and the Stones. The playful “Hurts So Good” became the album’s first hit, but it was the small-town-romance theme of “Jack & Diane” that truly defined the album’s sensibility. Mellencamp’s raspy, Indiana-accented vocals breathe life into his tales of Middle American dreams, ambition and heartache. Tracks like “Hand to Hold Onto” and “Can You Take It” offer plenty of radio-friendly punch and attitude. Going deeper, “Weakest Moments” is indicative of the working-class balladry that would turn up on later albums. The album’s title cut — added to the remastered version of the album — is a good-natured declaration of independence. More than anything, it’s this sense of personal freedom that makes American Fool such a fun listen — for the first time, John is taking off his Cougar disguise and getting real.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though credited to John Cougar, 1982’s American Fool marks the moment when John Mellencamp began to assert his true identity as an artist. This is a scrappy version of classic rock ‘n’ roll, built around storytelling lyrics and guitar-centered tunes that harkened back to Dylan and the Stones. The playful “Hurts So Good” became the album’s first hit, but it was the small-town-romance theme of “Jack & Diane” that truly defined the album’s sensibility. Mellencamp’s raspy, Indiana-accented vocals breathe life into his tales of Middle American dreams, ambition and heartache. Tracks like “Hand to Hold Onto” and “Can You Take It” offer plenty of radio-friendly punch and attitude. Going deeper, “Weakest Moments” is indicative of the working-class balladry that would turn up on later albums. The album’s title cut — added to the remastered version of the album — is a good-natured declaration of independence. More than anything, it’s this sense of personal freedom that makes American Fool such a fun listen — for the first time, John is taking off his Cougar disguise and getting real.

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
74 Ratings
74 Ratings
MN Moose ,

Jack and Diane

Nice.... this guys got it goin!

RJdennis ,

Simply the best!

This break through record for John Mellencamp was what set MTV up with classics videos as Jack & Diane and Hurts So Good. An american legend now, would not have been so without American Fool then. Get this for your collection, it's the best from John!

chris68 ,

none better

for my money, one of the best albums of all time

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