Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Searching for a ray of lyrical light in John Mellencamp's latest treatise on the state of the world proves consuming—but largely fruitless. That, however, makes the album all the more compelling.
  2. Mellencamp teamed up with producer T Bone Burnett to create a whole new sound--a set of textured, atmospheric folk and country blues that adds up to one of the most compelling albums of Mellencamp's career.
  3. It’s a brave album in the way it sets aside all his old consolations.
  4. Eschewing any concept of "radio ready" and singing with a gruff immediacy, Mellencamp tackles all of the titular concepts on this folk- and blues-based material with a sense of liberation that is keenly palpable.
  5. A moody, stark and hypnotically discomfiting assortment of ruminations.
  6. Make no mistake, Life Death Love and Freedom is a serious work of art.
  7. Those who’ve come to associate him with theme songs to bad car commercials should check his reawakening on this late-career turnaround.
  8. Blunt and stubbornly engaging, it may be Mellencamp’s most candid effort in years.
  9. 80
    Mellencamp croaks a sequence of raw, all but nihilistic yet far from self-pitying first-person tales about, well, death mainly, leavened by the odd rather forlorn reference to the life, love and freedom elements of the title. [Nov 2008, p.111]
  10. 80
    Bleak but brilliant. [Nov 2008, p.109]
  11. Though he may be contemplating mortality, Mellencamp, with his weathered snarl, still sounds remarkably alive.
  12. For the most part Life Death Love and Freedom makes good on--and somehow makes entertainment of--its sober sense of purpose.
  13. Musically, Mellencamp seems to have been listening closely to the first five Bob Dylan albums, paying more attention to the first of them, the largely traditional, folk-blues-styled Bob Dylan, than the last, the folk-rock "Bringing It All Back Home."
  14. His world-weariness feels legitimately earned rather than affected keeps Life from being just an exercise in pessimism.
  15. Despite high points --the powerful 'Longest Days'; the romping 'My Sweet Love'; the brooding 'John Cockers'--most of these 14 songs struggle to leave a lasting impression.
  16. As the title implies, it tackles the big issues, sometimes at the expense of melody, but there's a handful of very fine songs here. [Nov 2008, p.118]
  17. With producer T-Bone Burnett stripping his rootsy jangle down to a monochromatic, almost lo-fi rumble, Life Death Love And Freedom practically demands to be called "Mellencamp's darkest yet," but it's really just relentlessly downbeat and one-note.
  18. 50
    By now he's decided he'd rather be Bob Dylan--recent Dylan, that is, devoted to phlegm-clogged blues-codger grumbles about how he's ready for his pine box. Producer T Bone Burnett proves a willing accomplice. [Aug 2008, p.88]
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. williamb.
    Aug 16, 2008
    9
    Mellencamp has never created a classic, all time great album, but has made a lot of excellent ones with a few flaws. Near misses if you will. Mellencamp has never created a classic, all time great album, but has made a lot of excellent ones with a few flaws. Near misses if you will. LDL&F is up there with Scarcrow, The Lonesome Jubilee, Human Wheels and may even be better than than those as a whole. Full Review »
  2. RogerS.
    Jul 23, 2008
    10
    Okay pull to the LEFT! Right on John! Life Death Love and Freedom from the Guy inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His last record Okay pull to the LEFT! Right on John! Life Death Love and Freedom from the Guy inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His last record was called "Freedom Road" from 2007 when gas was cheap eh. We Canadian's love John Cougar's American Anthems but this is not rock and roll hit parade stuff. It actually sounds hoarse from one of the most important artist for this Generation X. John Mellencamp sang he forgot about Johnny Rotten was when I bought in to His song writing. John's music is dark and not what you think he should be. It's not a nice view when you get stabbed to death, violence with the knife. Darkness the front cover shows a few bullet holes and John Mellencamp placing himself against the wall. The use of his photo for the CD in a minimalist blues sound. I'd play this in a coffee shop in Vancouver, BC. I saw John Mellencamp on Jay Leno doing "I Saw you First". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a strong Blues for the smart Left wing folk rock is back. Grow a Beard. I'd Give Mellencamp more if called Himself "the Cougar". THen it's a 10! We went to Killarney where our mascot was a Cougar.....Killarney Cougars and the John Cougar party times SMILE this CD aint like those other songs... Freedom Road (2007) should be listened to then this one to get the whole picture. It's an anthem for now and don't tell anyone. Don't Tell anyone when John dies...giggle. Ok. Full Review »
  3. PatrickM.
    Jul 22, 2008
    9
    Seems even Mellencamp's harshest critics have admitted this is a damn fine album.