13 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released in 1985, at the peak of the decade’s neon garishness, John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow comes off like a tight Saturday night set played at the local VFW hall. “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” nails a balance of ’60s energy and ’80s grit. Meanwhile, the haunting-but-wholesome “Rain on the Scarecrow” is both celebration and elegy for an endangered American farm culture. At the album’s core is “Small Town,” a three-chord anthem that marries the gleaming melodicism of The Byrds to Woody Guthrie’s rustic simplicity.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released in 1985, at the peak of the decade’s neon garishness, John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow comes off like a tight Saturday night set played at the local VFW hall. “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” nails a balance of ’60s energy and ’80s grit. Meanwhile, the haunting-but-wholesome “Rain on the Scarecrow” is both celebration and elegy for an endangered American farm culture. At the album’s core is “Small Town,” a three-chord anthem that marries the gleaming melodicism of The Byrds to Woody Guthrie’s rustic simplicity.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
87 Ratings
87 Ratings
Chip81 ,

Minutes to Memories - Best track on a superb album

Possibly the strongest cut on the album, Minutes to Memories, has gotten the least press. Small Town, Rain on the Scarecrow and Rumble Seat are all great songs, but none have the power and elegance of Minutes to Memories. The story of one generations legacy to another make this the standout track on possibly the best album of the 80's.

tbone's blues ,

The Great American Album of the 80s

John Mellencamp probably never meant to be "An Artist", but by writing about the world he knew (Midwest America) and bending rock to his roots, he achieved a timeless classic. Alternately pessimistic and joyous, introspective and outgoing, angry and laughing, Scarecrow made even the critics on the coast take notice that something worthwhile was going on in the Hoosier heartland. Delivering on the promise of "Pink Houses", Scarecrow shows Mellencamp maturing as a songwriter and the band as a unit.

Chachi Arcola ,

Perfect for its time and holding up well

In the mid 80's, it didn't seem that you could make an album better than Scarecrow. Twenty years later, most of the music holds up quite well. Justice and Indepence 85 is still as relevant today as it was decades earlier, and Rain on the Scarecrow and Minutes to Memories get better as the listener gets older because the messages resonate a little more.

A couple of the melodies seem sophomoric in hindsight (Lonely Ol' Night, Kind of Fella..., etc.), but as a whole, Scarecrow is a keeper for the generations to follow.

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