John Mellencamp‘s first studio album in five years, Strictly a One-Eyed Jack, was released today.
As previously reported, Bruce Springsteen appears on three of the album’s 12 tracks — “Wasted Days,” “Did You Say Such a Thing” and “A Life Full of Rain.”
In a new interview with USA Today, Mellecamp discusses the inspiration for “Wasted Days,” which was released as an advance single back in September 2021.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, who turned 70 last year, notes that the song finds him reflecting on his mortality.
“I figure I’ve got about 10 summers left…I’ve had 70 summers and it’s just a math problem,” he maintains. “When you’re a kid, summers go on forever. But on the sliding ruler, you start pushing it toward time and you realize that 70 summers have come and gone, you don’t want to waste them. I’ll never perform in the summer again because I want to enjoy the summer.”
Mellencamp tells the newspaper that the album’s title refers to a cynical character he devised as the narrator of the songs, noting, “The most dangerous card in the deck is the one-eyed Jack…he has a sword behind his back.”
The album kicks off with the song “I Always Lie to Strangers,” in which, as Mellencamp explains, the character tells the listener “don’t trust me, I’m gonna lie to you and I know you’re gonna lie to me.” John adds, “[T]he whole thing comes to a head in the last verse, ‘this world is run by men much more crooked than me.’ He’s telling you, ‘I know I’m a scoundrel, but the people you pay attention to are bigger liars than me.'”
Strictly a One-Eyed Jack is now available on CD, vinyl and digitally. Here’s the full track list:
“I Always Lie to Strangers”
“Driving in the Rain”
“I Am a Man That Worries”
“Streets of Galilee”
“Sweet Honey Brown”
“Did You Say Such a Thing” (with Bruce Springsteen)
“Gone So Soon”
“Wasted Days” (with Bruce Springsteen)
“Simply a One-Eyed Jack”
“Lie to Me”
“A Life Full of Rain” (with Bruce Springsteen)
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