Radio XIXX, side A, track 2: “Paper In Fire” by John COUGAR Mellencamp

John Cougar Mellencamp - Paper In FireOh, John COUGAR Mellencamp, there are few musicians who can take such a dire, dour song and still make it  such a toe-tappin’ rock and roll song.  After all, if I’m listening to this right, the whole song’s about people’s dreams and expectations going up in flames and how we’re all just a bunch of spoiled, selfish chumps who ruin everything because we can’t control our baser selves.  At least that’s what I get out of it now, John COUGAR Mellencamp.  Back in the day I never really paid attention to the lyrics besides that rockin’ chorus, which I had assumed was something about how awesome smoking cigarettes was or something.  Which is something I always wonder, John COUGAR Mellencamp:  what’s more important, the message or the music?  Does it matter that I listened to this song dozens of times and never really understood what it was about?  And that maybe I STILL don’t understand what it’s about?  Or is the fact that I don’t understand it mean I don’t deserve to understand it, that I’m just one of the screw-ups who turn the green fields to brown?  Is it enough that even if I never understand the message of it, that I still think this song is great?  I know you’re a busy guy, John COUGAR Mellencamp, but when you get a chance, I’d love to know what you think.  In the mean time, I’ll just listen to this song a couple dozen more times.

“Paper In Fire”

<awesome John COUGAR Mellencamp jam>

She had a dream
And boy, it was a good one

So she chased after her dream with much desire

But when she got too close to her expectations

Well, the dream burned up
Like paper in fire

Paper in fire
Stinkin’ up the ashtrays
Paper in fire
Smokin’ up the alleyways
Who’s to say the way a man should spend his days
Do you let ‘em smolder

Like paper in fire

He wanted love with no involvement

So he chased the wind, that’s all his silly life required

And the days of vanity went on forever

And he saw his days burn up
Like paper in fire

Paper in fire
Stinkin’ up the ashtrays
Paper in fire
Smokin’ up the alleyways
Who’s to say the way a man should spend his days
Do you let ‘em smolder

Like paper in fire

<awesome John COUGAR Mellencamp jam>

There’s a good life
Right across this green field

And each generation
Stares at it from afar

But we keep no check
On our appetites

So the green fields turn to brown
Like paper in fire

Paper in fire
Stinkin’ up the ashtrays
Paper in fire
Goin’ down the alleyways
Who’s to say the way a man should spend his days
Do you let ‘em smolder

Like paper in fire

Paper in fire
Stinkin’ up the ashtrays
Paper in fire
Goin’ down the alleyways
Who’s to say the way a man should spend his days
Do you let ‘em smolder

Like paper in fire

Paper in fire

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