Song of the Day #3,254: ‘My Hometown’ – Bruce Springsteen vs. John Mellencamp

At first blush, today’s Montauk Madness matchup has a student vs. master dynamic. Early in his career, John Cougar was viewed as a poor man’s Bruce Springsteen.

But John Mellencamp has carved out quite the career in the four decades since his debut. In fact, he’s released five more albums than Springsteen in three fewer years, and spanned a variety of styles along the way.

So this isn’t quite a no-brainer for me, even if it is ultimately an easy call. Mellencamp is a great artist, but Springsteen is a legend.

I was eight years old and running with a dime in my hand
Into the bus stop to pick up a paper for my old man
I’d sit on his lap in that big old Buick
And steer as we drove through town
He’d tousle my hair and say “Son, take a good look around
This is your hometown.”

This is your hometown
This is your hometown
This is your hometown

In ’65 tension was running high at my high school
There was a lot of fights ‘tween the black and white
There was nothing you could do
Two cars at a light on a Saturday night
In the back seat there was a gun
Words were passed, then a shotgun blast
Troubled times had come to my hometown

This is your hometown
This is your hometown
This is your hometown

Now Main street’s whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain’t nobody wants to come down here no more
They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says “These jobs are going, boys
And they ain’t coming back
To your hometown.”

This is your hometown
This is your hometown
This is your hometown

Last night me and Kate, we laid in bed
Talking about getting out
Packing up our bags maybe heading south
I’m thirty-five, we got a boy of our own now
Last night I sat him up behind the wheel, and said
“Son take a good look around
This is your hometown.”

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7 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,254: ‘My Hometown’ – Bruce Springsteen vs. John Mellencamp

  1. Dana says:

    For me, this is one of the hardest picks so far. Both have albums I love and others to which I am largely indifferent. Both are great songwriters who tap into the American pathos better than almost anyone else. And, yes, your point about Mellancamp being the student and Bruce the master is well taken, but, arguably, Bruce is the student of Dylan’s master class as well.

    Still, in a close call, at least for me, I too will give the nod to the Boss.

  2. Peg says:

    This is almost as easy as Sinatra for me. I love Springsteen and this is my favorite album– not even close

  3. Gary Rogatz says:

    I agree with Peg since I love the album Born in the USA. I will go
    with the Boss.

  4. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    This is a tough one. I enjoy music from both of these artists thoroughly. However, there is some intangible quality of awesomeness that pervades all of Bruce Springsteen music. No one can do Springsteen like Springsteen because he’s the Boss. That unique commanding ability with just a song is why I’ve got to give this one to Bruce.

  5. Amy says:

    If it weren’t for Tunnel of Love, I might opt for Mellencamp here. He has written some songs I just adore and has long since left his student perch behind. While I appreciate the epic “Born to Run” concert performances – and others of that ilk – they don’t actually move me as they do some others. That said, the “Tunnel of Love” album is beyond perfect. A stunning and sad portrait of a relationship in turmoil, this heart breaker of an album is what earns Springsteen my vote.

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