Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

Small Town Messages

On the serious side was John Cougar Mellencamp. His album Scarecrow was the soundtrack of the American heartland. The song "Rain On The Scarecrow" dealt with the rapid disappearance of farms in America. Actually, other artists were commenting on that same topic in songs such as "My City Was Gone" by The Pretenders and "Farm On The Freeway" by Jethro Tull. Mellencamp's "Small Town" was the ironic rural tribute in a musical era with a strong allegiance to the big city sound. Most of eighties pop music began to embrace the elaborate multi-track studio sound, whereas Mellencamp was one of the few that stuck with a basic stripped-down sound. But it was not to be confused with garage rock, even though several of the songs used the same three basic power chords used in almost every garage rock song. "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A." paid tribute to a montage of American pop artists of the past quarter century. Then on a later album Big Daddy he ripped on the entire pop scene for being built on hype in "Pop Singer." A lot of people seemed to miss the point, not knowing what what so bad about being a pop singer. They didn't understand he was commenting more on the music industry and the way they package pop.

Continue to "Fall of the Rock Gods"