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Plain Spoken Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The 22nd studio album for the singer-songwriter was self-produced (T Bone Burnett was credited as executive producer) and is his first release on the Republic Records label.
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  • Record Label: Island
  • Genre(s): Country, Americana, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Roots Rock, Country-Folk, Heartland Rock
  • More Details and Credits »

Top Track

Troubled Man
It's the wake of all evil A universal mess I've always found trouble Even at my best No hopes to get better Until they put me down to rest I am a... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Mojo
    Nov 7, 2014
    He's rarely sounded better. [Nov 2014, p.98]
  2. Sep 29, 2014
    The hooks are restrained, yet Mellencamp never loses sight of melodies and his fine song sense. Unsettled and disconsolate, these songs fittingly reflect their time.
  3. Entertainment Weekly
    Sep 29, 2014
    His self-produced 22nd release is less fussily arranged, which lets Plain's simple tunes unfold breezily and organically. [3 Oct 2014, p.69]
  4. Sep 29, 2014
    He’s never inhabited traditional folk and blues-imbued settings as personally as on his 22nd album.
  5. Sep 30, 2014
    If his bitterness is unavoidable in the lyrics or in his voice, his music softens his bite, turning these tunes into melancholy laments instead of invective, so there winds up being a bit of a needed cushion to Mellencamp's straight talk on Plain Spoken.
  6. Mellencamp finds his own delicate melodies, including some of the prettiest of his career. Their finery offers a sweet contrast to the increasing grit in his voice and bile in his lyrics--the most incisive of which take dead aim at himself.
  7. Nov 4, 2014
    Without Burnett directly quarterbacking the affair, the sepia overlay that tinted Life Death Love and Freedom and No Better Than This is too transparent this time around.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 1 out of 1
  1. Mar 3, 2015
    I was very disappointed in this album. It is pretty boring compared to his other albums. This one will put you to sleep if you don't turn itI was very disappointed in this album. It is pretty boring compared to his other albums. This one will put you to sleep if you don't turn it off before that. I'm thinking that he is washed up. Hope I'm wrong though. No excitement on this one. There's not one song that you can tell your friends to check out. Expand