John Mellencamp

Quick: What's the name of John Mellencamp's latest album? Uh-huh. That's what we thought you'd say. Actually, though, we're looking for the title of his latest disc, not the last Mellencamp record you heard. Still drawing a blank? Don't worry. We haven't listened to old Johnny boy since he shaved Cougar from his name in the mid-'80s, either. Ultimately, unless it's coming from the Boss, nobody's really interested in hearing about the travails of a working-class existence from someone who's rinsed all the blue from his collar. Fortunately, Mellencamp's made it easy for you to get back up to speed. On his latest release (the one the tour's named after, anyway), Words & Music, he's put together a two-disc anthology comprising cherry-picked songs from later albums -- minus the filler, thankfully -- alongside all of his greatest hits, everything from "Jack and Diane" and "Pink Houses" to "I Need a Lover" and "Hurts So Good." So even if Mellencamp now has the cultural significance of parachute pants, if you still want to R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. tonight, we won't tell anyone.


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