Picks and Pans Review: Whenever We Wanted

updated 11/04/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/04/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

John Mellencamp

Yon Mellencamp hath a lean and hungry sound. After experimenting successfully for a few years with a more placid acoustic style, the Hoosier gets heavy on this album. Right from the first song, "Love and Happiness," the electric guitars are crankcd up and pumping like pistons.

To jaded metalheads, the record may seem flimsy. But while the compositions aren't quite as catchy as Mellencamp's earlier work, this is still pop-rock rendered with refreshing simplicity, a throwback to the time when bands used to rehearse in low-ceilinged basements. Songs like "Now More Than Ever," "They're So Tough" and "Get a Leg Up" are delivered with piercing panache.

Those who have grown attached to the mellower Mellencamp have some adjusting to do. No more pussyfooting around; he's back to doing the heartland slam. (Mercury)

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