The superstar summit fans have been waiting more than four decades for is finally on the horizon. The first of three songs recorded by John Mellencamp for his upcoming album featuring Bruce Springsteen, "Wasted Days," dropped on Wednesday (Sept. 29). The acoustic ramble featuring two of the nation's most beloved chroniclers of the American dream/nightmare sounds like a pair of old friends sitting around a fire, strumming their acoustics and wondering how many more times they'll be able to do this thing.
"How many summers still remain?/ How many days are lost in vain?/ Who's counting out these last remaining years?/ How many minutes do we have here?," Mellencamp, 69, sings on the first verse of the ballad. The song, written and produced by Mellencamp, features Springsteen on vocals and electric guitar, with the pair teaming up to weave their world-weary voices together on the chorus: "Wasted days/ Wasted days/ We watch our lives just fade away to/ More wasted Days."
After a violin break, The Boss, 72, leans into the second verse with an urgent series of questions about what it's all about. "How much sorrow is there left to climb?/ How many promises are worth the time?/ And who on Earth is worth our time?/ Is there a heart here that I can call mine?" he sings. Though the two American singer-songwriter icons have shared stages before, this is the first time they've hit the studio together.
At Clive Davis' Grammy Museum benefit event earlier this year, Mellencamp - whose Americana sound was frequently compared to The Boss' early in his career -- told Billboard that "Bruce is singing on the new record and is playing guitar." Springsteen confirmed the news in an interview on Sirius XM's E Street Radio in June, during which he said he had spent time in Indiana with Mellencamp working on new music.
"I worked on three songs on John’s album and I spent some time in Indiana with him,” Springsteen said; at press time the name and release date of Mellencamp's next album -- the follow-up to 2017's "Sad Clowns & Hillbillies" -- have not yet been announced. “I love John a lot. He’s a great songwriter and I have become very close [with him] and had a lot of fun with him. I sang a little bit on his record."
The song's official video is slate to drop at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday.
Listen to "Wasted Days"