.I've decided to focus on recently released music this week and I decided to start with my arch enemy - John Mellencamp. But the sad thing is, it's really nothing that Mellencamp has done that's caused me to despise him. He writes good songs, performs them with a direct approach and lived-in feel, he takes on charitable causes for farmers and speaks his mind on what he considers American rights and values. So what's the hubbub Bub?
I had a friend that for years idolized John Cougar Mellencamp to the point that anyone who had extended contact with him ended up hating Johnny Cougar. Every successful (and even somewhat unsuccessful) artist attracts fans like this (my friend and I obsessed on Survivor for a while to the point my wife can stand them) and like they say the word fan is short for fanatic. He would talk about John Mellencamp as if he knew the guy personally (he would say things like "John is planning a world tour and is thinking of having another child") and force you to listen to either Mellencamp or the Beastie Boys at every turn. If my friend couldn't play one of those artists, he would shout the lyrics to their songs loudly over whatever you were playing or try to make a catchphrase out of it (like the Beastie Boys had this line that said something about "let all the flies skimmer" that he repeated constantly at random for months). This friend I knew for about 10 years (I'm just mentioning this friend's negative points because it relates to the post, he isn't a bad person) so I had conditioned myself to really hate John Cougar whatever he wanted his name to be Mellencamp. Even if I did like "R.O.C.K. in the USA", "Hurts so Good" "Key West Intermezzo" or "Paper in Fire".
I haven't seen this friend in a long time so now I'm starting to get to the point that I can listen to a few Mellencamp songs in a row without wanting to ridicule it (but if you do want to ridicule him, always rip on the song he had his Grandma sing. I had another friend whose favorite Mellencamp joke was to imitate this song in the Grandma voice with they lyrics "It was a dark stormy night / John sat on my face". Not the most mature joke, but we were teenagers). And again, these jokes and insults weren't really John Mellencamp's fault. He didn't ask for obsessive fans that would annoy the hell out of other people by putting up a Mellencamp standee (an in-store standee from the Whenever We Wanted album) in the middle of the room or punch you and anyone else in the arm that wasn't looking whenever "Authority Song" was on.
So Johnny John Cougar The Kid Inside Mellencamp, if that is your real name, I'm going to let bygones be bygones. I heard the new song "My Sweet Love" with its garage band beat and Bob Dylanish video treatment and really enjoyed it. And after two plus decades of quality rock and roll, I guess the guy deserves a second chance. Like the vaudevillian performers from Family Guy would say, Play me out Johnny! You've got a New Song that Rules!
John Mellencamp "My Sweet Love"