Dance Naked is the 13th album by American singer-songwriter and musician John Mellencamp released in 1994. The album was released in response to the record company's accusations that Mellencamp's previous album, Human Wheels, didn't "fit the format." Mellencamp was irritated with this remark, feeling that none of his albums ever fit the format. As a result, he wrote several purposely radio-friendly songs and recorded them within the span of 14 days at his Belmont Mall recording studio in Belmont, Indiana, intending to show the lack of effort required to produce the type of album they were asking for.
The Best That I Could Do is an appropriately self-deprecating title for John Mellencamp's greatest-hits collection, considering that the heartland rocker never seemed too convinced of his own worth. Of course, he had to struggle to get any respect after he was saddled with the stage name Johnny Cougar early in his career, but this 14-track collection proves that he was one of the best, unabashed straight-ahead rockers of the '80s. The 14 tracks here actually turn out to be a little too short to contain all of his great singles – songs like "Rain on the Scarecrow," "Rumbleseat," "Pop Singer," "Again Tonight," and "What If I Came Knocking" are left off the collection (there's nothing from 1988's Big Daddy at all) – but it's hard to argue with what's here.
This is effectively the entire studio catalogue, and includes all the American singer-songwriter’s albums recorded as John Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp and John Mellencamp for various record labels. The set contains a total of 223 tracks and spans 35 years. Twelve of the albums have bonus tracks, sourced from the 2005 re-mastered versions of Mellencamp’s Mercury releases.
Only John Mellencamp, whose career began with a series of wrong turns, raw determination, and the audaciousness to demand he be taken seriously could create a box set as strange, representative, and labyrinthine as On the Rural Route 7609. In the era of the “track,” Mellencamp has issued a massive, beautifully packaged, and exhaustively annotated four-disc career retrospective that doesn’t lean on his hits (many aren’t here), but rather on more obscure album cuts, outtakes, rarities (17 selections make their debuts here), and more recent material – numerous selections come from 2007’s Freedom’s Road and 2008’s Life Love Death and Freedom…