Retro Reminiscing: John Mellencamp - "Hurt So Good"

Even though they try put a happy early-MTV spin on it, there’s just enough leather and chains in the video to get to the heart of the song.
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John Mellencamp

"When I was a young boy
Said put away those young boy ways

Now that I'm gettin' older

So much older
I long for those young boy days..."

It’s funny what time and space can do. There are so many songs that I used to love in the eighties that, when I hear them now, I realize I was too young and maybe a little too naïve, to completely understand all the nuances and undertones of the lyrics. This song is no exception.

Looking at the verse quoted above, it’s easy to see where a person has to live some to really understand what the songwriter was trying to say. At sixteen or seventeen, I couldn’t wait to bust out into the world. I longed to get away from home and start living my life. While I am not one of those people who long for the glory days of high school, I do realize that living for tomorrow, when I could have been enjoying my youth, was a waste of that precious time.

Hurt so good
Come on baby, make it hurt so good
Sometimes love don't feel like it should
You make it hurt so good

I remember my young mind processing the more racy lyrics to mean emotional pain. ‘Cause let’s face it, sometimes being in love – especially if you are in love alone – can suck. It isn’t always champagne and roses or walking hand-in-hand on the beach. True love, the kind that lasts, requires a lot of work by both participants and it can get messy. When the tough problems show up, it can hurt. But when you stick it out, and ride the storm to the calm on the other side, it’s a “good” feeling like no other.

Even though they try put a happy early-MTV spin on it, there’s just enough leather and chains in the video to get to the heart of the song. These days, especially with the breakout popularity of the Fifty Shades books, it’s hard to turn a blind eye to the kind of hurts so good that Mellencamp was talking about.

As I said at the beginning of this article, there are some things you have to be a little bit older to fully understand.

If it’s been a while since you’ve heard the song, check out the video: