Music: Rocking into Middle Age

John Mellencamp has a new album and a new outlook. But he's kept his old outspoken ways

There are exceptions, but in general, when a veteran rock 'n' roller gives a new album his own name, he's looking to make a career statement. John Mellencamp's latest album, John Mellencamp (Columbia), is no exception. These are difficult days to be John Mellencamp. Rock is on the run, youth is on the rise, and his brand of rural rock skews a little old even for the VH1 set. But Mellencamp, 47, is soldiering on, trying to re-establish his name, his image and his music. He has left Mercury Records, his label for some 20 years, and signed with Columbia. He...

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