No matter how many times I've listened to this album, I still love it. I remember reading a Musician magazine review praising it upon its release in 1987 and thinking that, "Well, I thought the songs on 'Scarecrow' were pretty good, even though they were played to death on the radio. Maybe this one will be good, too." Until then, I had never bought any of Mellencamp's music. After listening to "The Lonesome Jubilee," I had to own all of it. To this day I still think this is his strongest album. It might not have anything as radio friendly as "R.O.C.K. in the USA," "Small Town," "Jack and Diane," or "Tumblin' Down," but the songs, while maybe not as catchy, are definitely stronger both musically and lyrically. There's not a single weak track here, and songs like "Paper in Fire," "Real Life," "Hot Dogs and Hamburgers" and "Check it Out" are real masterpieces, some of the best songs to come out of the 80s -- even if they didn't enjoy so much popularity. I still think this was probably the best album of 1987, and one of the best albums of the 80s. Had Mellencamp released it in 1981 as an unknown, he would have immediately enjoyed Springsteen-like adoration. But coming off the heals of "Scarecrow" and "Uh-huh," people thought they knew Mellencamp, and his fan base was already established. That's a shame, because all of his best work lay ahead on his next two albums as well as later on the underrated "Human Wheels" and "Dance Naked." Unfortunately, by the time of those two later releases, rock-n-roll was on its last legs. Hip-hop, rap, techno and divas were taking over. The likes of Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey and M.C. Hammer were all the rage. (Where are they now?) Even consummate artists/pop music icons like Springsteen and Prince were having a hard time getting any attention. Mellencamp's talents were ignored. Well, don't ignore this album. It's his best. Oh, and see if you can pick up on all his references to Paul Newman movies buried in the lyrics.