The Screen Door Blog: Heart Songs: “Save Some Time To Dream”

Anthony Kuzminski is an Chicago area-based writer who is special features editor for antiMusic Network. He's written most trenchantly about John Mellencamp many times in the past and, here, offers some wonderful insight on "Save Some Time To Dream," one of the keystone tracks on John's forthcoming No Better Than This album. In fact, it's the very first song on the album.

Here is the full piece - visit Anthony's blog The Screen Door.

Heart Songs: “Save Some Time To Dream”/ John Mellencamp
By Anthony Kuzminski

I don’t know anyone who isn’t making their way through an albatross of murk so wretched that it steals a part of their very being. Everyone I talk to, encounter and share time with is dropping their masks in favor of honesty. As we share these hardships with one another, it makes us feel more human as we’re merely looking for comfort and solace that we’re not alone. I was recently asked why I write. It’s a fair question since I ask myself the same question every day. I guess the easiest answer I can give anyone is “I need to”. It’s not a choice for me. I’d like to say I am an optimist, but deep down, I know what a volatile and ultimately mean-spirited world we live in. This is why I hold music, film, art and literature is such high regard. Not just because it can be a road map for us when the paths are blurry, but because it reminds us that this world is capable of not just greatness but beauty beyond words. It’s when we encounter this splendor that all seems to be right with the world, without it we are lost. I’ve been having moments like these in the last week when listening to John Mellencamp’s newest album, No Better Than This which drops on August 17th. The album is all in mono is punctuated by its gramophone ambiance and the tender vocals by Mellencamp may be the best of his career. There are stories from our past, our present and hopefully our future on this solemn yet heart-tugging collection of tunes. However, it’s the opening cut that has stolen my heart; “Save Some Time To Dream”.

Its brushstroke percussion and Andy York’s dour guitars aren’t likely to light up pop stations, but like “Longest Days” (the opening cut from Life, Death, Love and Freedom) it’s without question, one of Mellencamp’s greatest achievements as a songwriter. The song is the purest tale of love encouraging one to embrace life’s unadorned pleasures even when the mountains to climb seem insufferable. In one particular passage, he encourages you to embrace the tough times;

Save some time for sorrow
Cause it will surely come your way
Prepare yourself for failure
It will give you strength someday
Try to keep your mind open
And accept your mistakes
Save some time for living
And always question your faith

We wake up every day, get caught up in mundane drills from everything to caring for our children, making a living or just trying to get where we need to go. We encounter obstacles often beyond our reach but we move on. How? Why? I’m not sure, but I believe that we find that silver lining. I do. When I see my daughter smile and let a carefree laugh out, or the way my wife’s hair moves and looks in the sunlight, the glee I see from my parents when they play with my daughter, a helping hand from new family, a caring neighbor who stops and talks or simply someone who holds a door for me when I least expect it. It’s these minute encounters that infuse us with hope; without it, there’s nothing. Each day is a learning experience and often it’s not so much about our strains but how we deal with them when we face them. As we ponder our life choices it’s more important to learn from them than dwell on them. They’re in the past and the only way we can fix them is by moving onward.

There is no avoiding the rough patches of life as they don’t discriminate; it captures everyone at one point or another. They way through it is to save time for yourself, find what it is that lights your fuse and embrace it daily. Mellencamp’s tale is deftly poetic to the generations who listen to his music. When we’re children, we learn some of the simplest lessons through rhymes and songs and somewhere along the way, those lessons become distant memories. Mellencamp is schooling us is a stunningly sobering heart tugging song I will forever cherish. If one lived their life according to their song, they’d be saved in ways no medicine or religion ever could. As the song reaches its climax, Mellencamp releases a breath of hope with a line with so unblinkingly brilliant in its minimalism, it’s impossible not to be moved; “A dream might save us all”

Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMusic Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at thescreendoor AT gmail DOT com and can be followed on Twitter