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iTunes Review

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.

Customer Reviews

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.

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.

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.


Born: October 7, 1951 in Seymour, IN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Throughout his career, John Mellencamp has had to fight, whether it was for the right to record under his own name or for respect as an artist. Of course, he never made it easy on himself. Mellencamp began his career in the late '70s as a Bruce Springsteen clone called Johnny Cougar. As his career progressed, his music became more distinctive, developing into a Stonesy blend of hard rock and folk-rock. His musical development coincided with his growth in popularity -- by the time "Hurts So Good"...
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