Saturday, January 17, 2009

To Washington - John Mellencamp

Artist: John Mellencamp
Song: To Washington
Year: 2003
Album: Trouble No More

2004 may have been the year for the modern protest song, but those artists that were ahead of the curve, released their songs in the years prior. John Mellencamp took a traditional song and added lyrics that spoke directly to a current situation. As you can imagine, this song sparked a lot of debate and controversy upon its release.

It's tacked onto the end of his 2003 album, almost as an afterthought. Instead of being a throwaway track, John wanted this to be the last bit of information that the listener heard. If he started off the album with this, many listeners might be put off. This way, the entire album would usually be heard before this song. It's a sneaky strategy, but an effective one.

This is one of the highlights on this album. Hailing from Indiana, John Mellencamp was thought to be among the majority of Hoosiers in his life and his politics. Those who were listening knew differently. Just because you work with the farmers, doesn't mean that you are automatically in one category. Nor does that mean that every farmer is in the same mind frame either. People are individuals and have usually proven that when pressed.

I can respect John Mellencamp for taking a stand and releasing a song that he felt passionately about. Even if it meant alienating some of his fan base. Some things are more important to an artist than popularity and sales. This is one of those polarizing cases.

Eight years of peace and prosperity
Scandal in the White House
An election is what we need
From coast-to-coast to Washington

So America voted on a president
No one kept count
On how the election went
From Florida to Washington

Goddamn, said one side
And the other said the same
Both looked pretty guilty
But no one took the blame
From coast-to-coast to Washington

So a new man in the White House
With a familiar name
Said he had some fresh ideas
But it's worse now since he came
From Texas to Washington

And he wants to fight with many
And he says it's not for oil
He sent out the National Guard
To police the world
From Baghdad to Washington

What is the thought process
To take a humans life
What would be the reason
To think that this is right
From heaven to Washington
From Jesus Christ to Washington

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