Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits

Spanning 25 years, this two-CD, digitally remastered 37-song set boasts a track listing that reads like the time line of the Americana/ roots-rock format that John Mellencamp virtually invented.

Spanning 25 years, this two-CD, digitally remastered 37-song set boasts a track listing that reads like the time line of the Americana/ roots-rock format that John Mellencamp virtually invented. All 22 of his top 40 hits are included, plus two new Mellencamp/Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds-produced songs, "Thank You" and the politically charged, spiritually uplifting single "Walk Tall." As the latter shows, Mellencamp—the 2001 Billboard Century Award honoree—has remarkably managed to remain current for a quarter-century, dating all the way back to his debut hit, "I Need a Lover," from 1979 album "John Cougar." Instead of chronological sequencing, though, the artist himself has programmed the package with an astute ear for cohesive album flow. In this way, each "best of " disc actually works as a stand-alone album.—JB
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