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Song of the Day: “Peaceful World” by John Mellencamp

There must be something special about the Midwest.   It has produced many of our great American songwriters.  Artists from this region seem to have a unique ability to reflect the greater mood of the country while also maintaining a rugged sense of individualism.  Instead of succumbing to fashion or trends, they tend to follow their own muse and stay true to their artistic sensibilities.  John Mellencamp is one of the best examples.  Over the course of his almost 40 year career he has created a vast library of memorable songs while staying topical and relevant.

It is clear to even the casual fan that John respects his audience and wants to communicate and connect on many levels with them.  He never plays to the lowest common denominator.  It feels like there has been this ongoing personal dialogue about life with his fans.  He is also unafraid of being honest and vulnerable about his own experience (both good and bad).  I also admire his songwriting populism and willingness to comment and on many socio-political issues.  He also backs up his words with actions as the Farm Aid  movement to help small farmers clearly demonstrates.

I remember playing the song Peaceful World for my kids when they were little.  They found it fun to listen to; innocently unaware of the content of the lyrics.  As a parent it was interesting juxtaposition to watch: my kids happily dancing while John provides a somewhat a scathing social commentary deploring racism.  He has quite a few songs that follow a similar pattern. I have to admit I enjoyed it when they would mimic lines like, ‘It’s what you do and not what you say, if you’re not part of the future then get out of the way”  and “So be careful with your heart and what you love.  Make sure that it was sent from above.” I hope the message stuck.


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