John Mellencamp

Other People's Stuff

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John Mellencamp gives away the intent of Other People's Stuff with its titles: it's a collection of covers, ten songs recorded between 1993 and 2018. Some of these songs come from tribute albums or soundtracks -- "Gambling Bar Room Blues" is taken from a 1997 tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, "I Don't Know Why I Love You" was pulled from 2003's An Interpretation of Stevie Wonder's Songs -- but most come from Mellencamp's studio albums. The notable exception is "Eyes on the Prize," a song he originally performed for President Barack Obama at the White House in 2010, here given a robust new version that sits along the rest of the oldies quite easily, playing as a slice of Americana that can also be read as protest song. Not everything on Other People's Stuff is politically charged -- Robert Johnson's "Stones in My Passway" is merely haunted, for instance -- but taken as a whole, the album can be read as a summation of what Mellencamp loves about America, which amounts to a political statement in 2018.

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