John Mellencamp has gotten into some hot water and prominent ink recently over his decision to give up the song “Our Country” from his new album for a Chevrolet truck commercial. Some call him a sell out. His answer is that he is a songwriter and musician from way back, competing from Indiana in the post-indie rock world of mass music. He’s trying to be heard and keep his career alive. He also got involved with the ads themselves, insisting they run true to what he envisions as John Mellencamp music videos. Insisting they step up to the hard social issues in America. This, arguably, got him into the truck-selling business with images of war and hurricane. On top of that, he may have peaked early–the ads have been running constantly for weeks prior to the album release. Maybe he’s overexposed. I, in any case, will cut the guy slack because he’s a good painter.
What about you? John Mellencamp. Sell out, shrewd late career move, miscalculation–what do you think?