First Hit #1: October 2, 1982
Once, there was a young man named John, who was fairly indecisive about his name but was credited as John Cougar at this time. He had a song about young lovers in a small town that he wanted to record, but had no idea what he exactly wanted to do. As a result, the song is a very odd mishmash of ideas, with some electric guitars and handclaps showing up between verses, where the song goes acoustic, before a section where we get thick drums and vocal harmonies. Part of me wishes the entire thing was acoustic, since it has the bones of a pretty decent folk-country song if it wanted to be, but as I listen to it, I like the mishmash. There are a lot of ideas here, and while it doesn’t really have any thematic reasons to feature the collision of ideas it does give the song a certain unpredictability that I found myself enjoying after a while. Perhaps that’s why it was a hit, if you don’t like the song keep listening, it’ll change into something else eventually.
As a sidenote, the quality of John Mellencamp’s own video for this song on Youtube is deplorable, which is why I didn’t link to it.