It’s been a really long time since I’ve actually listened to a John Mellencamp song, which is why it was out of character for me to click on this story. I think it was because I saw “John Mellencamp” and “Black Lives Matter” in the same story and I was like “???” Mellencamp is a big-time (some would say “bigly”) progressive Democrat and a long-time supporter of the working class. Mellencamp wasn’t asked to perform at any of Emperor Baby Fists’ inaugural events, and Mellencamp says he would have refused even if he had been asked. Still, he wanted to release new music around the inauguration, which is why he dropped his new single, “Easy Target.” He name-checks Black Lives Matter and I don’t know how to feel about it. Here’s the single:
The lyrics are: “So Black Lives Matter, who we tryin’ to kid / Here’s an easy target / Don’t matter, never did / Crosses burnin’, such a long time ago / 400 years, and we still don’t let it go / Well, let the poor be damned and the easy targets, too / All are created equally, beneath you and me.” I think his point is that who are we trying to kid, of course black lives matter? Or am I misreading that? Is he saying that BLM is an “easy target” or that BLM “don’t matter”? I’m so confused, but I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Mellencamp also spoke to Yahoo News about his new music and the state of politics today, saying:
“Slowly but surely this country changes by the men we admire and I’m very aware of that. The country is changing by what has happened and, you know, welcome to Suckertown.”
When asked for his thoughts on Trump taking office, Mellencamp said: “You don’t really know what he’s really going to do or what because he says one thing and does another. You know, ‘We’re not going to have Wall Street involved,’ and his whole cabinet is Wall Street. I’m just going to sit back and see how weird it gets.”
Yes, welcome to Suckertown. We all live in Suckertown now, complete with DeploraBalls and Nazi salutes. Well done, ‘Murica.
Photos courtesy of WENN.
It’s all about intent and his intent was good. To me, he’s saying Black lives Do matter, who are we kidding when we try to say otherwise.
He has been this way politically for years & has the Klan threats to show for it
I read those lyrics as him pointing out that Black lives have never mattered in the United States.
You know what, I think you’re right …
Yes, it’s an indictment of America’s long history of racism. I think we all get that JCM is an ally of progressives. So I appreciate his efforts.
That’s how I took it in context. As in “duh in the US when have black lives EVER mattered?”
Yes I agree
Right on point Renee . Black lives matter, yeah right. As in who are you kidding Black lives don’t matter they are an easy targets.
This is exactly what the lyric is. And to be clear, he’s not saying this is how it SHOULD be — he’s saying that’s how the country is. Black lives, poor lives don’t matter.
Also I’ve got to say… it’s a simple lyric. That the state of music is so extraordinarily poor these days that anyone is confused by something so crystal clear has me depressed.
Yes, I read it as a critique of a terrible truth.
I think what he’s saying is BLM is an easy target to point to, but even before them, the issue of inequality has existed here for 400 years, beginning with the kidnapping , enslavement, rape, and murder of countless free humans from the continent of Africa by Europeans and Americans. I think he is saying that the poor (of any stamp) will always be considered another “easy target” because who cares about poor people, as long as they keep slaving away to enrich the few. This song seems to be about class and race to me, and how easy it is for the powerful and rich to take whatever they want from whomever they target at anytime and not give it a thought.
it`s pure sarcasm for me. Black lives matter, of course for him, but not in this America.
I think he’s trying to voice his support toward the Black lives matter movement . John has always been a vocal supporter for the middle class and an advocate for progressive causes. I believe his intent is in a good place .
Considering that burning crosses started in the US in the early 20th century (The first instance of a cross being burned in the United States was on November 25, 1915, when a group led by William J. Simmons burned a cross on top of Stone Mountain, Georgia, inaugurating a revival of the Ku Klux Klan. – as per Wikipedia), “400 years” sounds like a stretch. They’re still being burned today. It’s not ancient history and we won’t “let it go.”
I reserve the right to be wrong, always, but I read Mellencamp’s lyrics as “Jeez, that cross-burning stuff happened aaaaaages ago, why won’t the Blacks just let it go already?!” Standard white denial that racism continues to exist. I’ve heard it from my unaware, unenlightened fellow white people my whole life.
I sincerely hope I am wrong. I’ll listen to the whole song and think on it a little longer…
No, you are most definitely wrong.
KC. I agree with your translation. IMO you are correct.
I understood that he meant that sadly black lives matter only on paper, in real life the situation is quite different. 400 years and we still suck at fighting racism.
I like those lyrics.
Sounds like the excuses ignorant white people use to excuse the deaths of so many black lives by cops…they deserve it, they put themselves in that situation, it’s not our problem they love crime so much, slavery was years ago, why are you still bitching about it, of course black people are equal, they have rights, what are you fighting for? …
They say their lives matter, as long as they are beneath us (whites)…
And it seems like he’s definitely aware of that, which is nice of him to acknowledge.
He’s saying black people, black lives have never mattered in this country. And even with the BLM movement they still don’t. It’s a fight we’re still fighting.
Mellencamp also did this song with Joan Baez a couple of years ago:
We saw him in concert a few years ago (not really fans but I have to say it was one of the best performances I have ever seen) and during the show, he told stories about his teen years as a singer and he would see how the black musicians were treated differently, quite badly in some instances, and he vowed never to tolerate it, never to accept it, that his own bands are always multi-racial and multi-cultural.
Even without the words the music is nice. Thank you JCM.
Yes I think he is for the movement.
I hate when people walk around with cancer sticks dangling from their mouths! The picture with him wearing the black vest and is on the phone is awful
@embee that’s all you got from this post, huh? hm smh
I don’t have anything to add to the conversation about the song. I’m glad he has some awareness and uses his privilege to speak out about it.
In other news- John Mellencamp has a big ass fucking head. He looks like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.
thought-provoking, I think he is on the side of good (BLM)
I live in the same general part of Indiana as JCM. Not a huge fan — he’s always seemed like a poor man’s Bruce — but this is a really strong stance, especially in a part of the world that embraces Drumpf without question. Thanks JCM.
he’s right, we’ve never mattered and when the narrative has shifted we’ve have been overlooked, marginalized, disenfranchised, hunted, and ignored. And what’s crazy is its all on a physical traits that are hard to change or modify, I think the world should be absolutely ashamed on this mistreatment that survives to this day in the “free” world