Heart of Darkness

PERFORMER: JOHN MELLENCAMP

ALBUM: HUMAN WHEELS

LABEL: MERCURY

THE BOTTOM LINE: By lacing his small town twang with urban soul, Mellencamp brews an all-American sound.

LIKE A TROUBADOUR ADRIFT ON the blue highways of America, John Mellencamp has hitched his muse to the hopes and broken dreams of the heartland. Even before the mid-'80s, when he renounced the pop artifice of his John Cougar past and took back his given name, he had found his calling as a spinner of hook-laden odes to the ordinary man. Early hits that hinted at the darker dimensions of suburbia, like Jack and Diane and...

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