John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen
Writer(s): John Mellencamp (see lyrics here)
Released: September 29, 2021
First Charted: --
Sales (in millions): --
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.44 video, -- streaming
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About the Song:
“Wasted Days” is the lead single from John Mellencamp’s 25th studio album, Strictly a One-Eyed Jack. More significantly, it marks the first collaboration between him and Bruce Springsteen. The two both launched their careers in the 1970s with their brands of heartland rock. Each experienced major commercial success in the 1980s with multi-platinum selling albums and multiple top-10 hits.
On “Wasted Days,” the “veteran purveyors of blue-collar rock” SF “offer up a jangly, acoustic tune dripping with nostalgia. The country rock-tinged track sees Mellencamp and Springsteen taking turns with lead vocal duties.” UCR “The song’s lush musical arrangement, including mandolin, accordion, drums, bass, acoustic and electric guitars…add warmth and vulnerability.” UCR
Lyrically, the “hearty acoustic stroll” SF is all about vulnerability. It is “bleak and mournful” NPR in its reflection on “making the most of the years, months and minutes we've got left.” NPR “as the singers grapple with lives lived well past middle age.” NPR Mellencamp asks “existential questions such as ‘How many summers still remain/ How many days are lost in vain/ Who’s counting out these last dramatic years/ How many minutes do we have here?’” UD
The song is one of three on which the pair collaborated for the new Mellencamp album. Bruce went to Bloomington, Indiana, to record with him. He said, “I love John a lot. he’s a great songwriter and I have become very close [with him] and had a lot of fun with him.” UD Thom Zimny, who has frequently worked with Springsteen, shot the video for the song in New Jersey in early September 2021. SF
First posted 2/1/2022.