Music review

Trouble No More, by John Cougar Mellencamp, Sony, $18.98

“And he wants to fight with Many; And he say it’s not for oil.” Those are the words in “To Washington,” a song written by John Mellencamp in his new CD titled Trouble No More.

Mellencamp followers have been waiting for him to weigh in on the effect of the Bush administration on the American people; and he has, big time. Mellencamp, still living in his home state of Indiana, is well known for his leadership in the Farm Aid that fights for farmer’s economic and political rights.

In a recent feature on the “CBS Sunday Morning” television show, Mellencamp made it clear that he is totally opposed to the Bush administration. He doesn’t keep his views to himself. The television feature played a recent on-stage performance where he said that the billions of dollars being asked by the Bush administration for Iraq would best be used in the United States to help people with lost mortgages, health services, college education and other social goods. He was careful not to sound like an isolationist, but someone deeply concerned about the welfare of people in desperate need of help in the U.S.

Unlike some rock fans, Mellencamp fans listen carefully to his lyrics and sometimes voice their disagreement. In the television segment shown on the CBS show, he clearly knew that would happen, but he said these things need to be said and he hoped that those who disagree with him would reconsider their viewpoints. Far and away the majority of his followers at this concert agreed with him.

“He sent out the National Guard, to police the world, from Baghdad to Washington,” the song continues. Clearly a politically-alert artist, Mellencamp in this same song decries the year 2000 elections by pointing back to the “eight years of peace and prosperity.” “But it’s worse now since he came,” pointing to the Bush years. The album has some other great songs. He does a Lucinda Williams song, “ Lafayette” and his own version to “Teardrops will fall.”

Not one to hide his viewpoints, the Mellencamp website features a short video of the song, “To Washington,” and the full lyrics are printed there.

He now joins other mega stars such as Neil Young, Dixie Chicks, and Steve Earle in opposing the Bush administration’s policies. Can a 2004 Original CD and Madison Square Garden “Music for Peace and Justice” concert be far behind? Let’s hope not!

– Eric Green (