Picks and Pans Review: Dance Naked

updated 06/27/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/27/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

John Mellencamp

One would think that after releasing the critically lauded Human Wheels in 1993, Mellencamp would indulge in a little well-deserved time off. The 42-year-old grandpa has a new baby with his third wife, model Elaine Irwin, and enough interests (including his acclaimed painting) to keep him busy. Instead he chose to make this album, on which he sounds just about tapped out. Yes, there's the usual rootsy kick and guitar crunch we've come to expect from the former John Cougar. But songs such as the lyrically obvious "Brothers" (they don't gel along, even when they're older!) lack melodic punch. And a duet with hot hip-hopper Me'Shell Ndegeocello is squandered on a dull cover of Van Morrison's "Wild Night." So next time, John, may we suggest a hiatus with the easel and brushes? (Mercury)

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