John Mellencamp mourns the homelessness crisis in his new song “The Eyes of Portland,” the second single off his upcoming 25th LP Orpheus Descending.
The song’s music video, which you can watch below, takes a tour through the city streets, lingering on encampments and individuals sleeping outside or holding signs asking for money.
“All of thesе homeless, wherе do they come from?” Mellencamp sings in the chorus. “In this land of plenty where nothing gets done / To help those who are empty and unable to run / Your tears and prayers won’t help the homeless.“
“The Eyes of Portland” arrives roughly one month after Orpheus Descending lead single and opening track “Hey God,” which found Mellencamp condemning rampant gun violence. The LP follows Strictly a One-Eyed Jack, which Mellencamp released in January 2022.
Never at a loss for words, Mellencamp has been particularly outspoken about a variety of social issues lately. In November, he honored entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and offered a full-throated condemnation of antisemitism.
“I cannot tell you how fuckin’ important it is to speak out if you’re an artist, against antisemitism, against all forms of hate speech,” he said. “We’re all human beings. I don’t give a fuck if you’re Jewish, Black, white, tutti frutti, I don’t care. Here’s the trick: Silence is complicity. … Fuck antisemitism and fuck anybody who says anything in that manner.”
Orpheus Descending arrives on June 2 and is available to preorder now on CD, vinyl and digital. Mellencamp is currently on the road for his Live and In Person tour, which runs through late June.
John Mellencamp Albums Ranked
A pre-fab pop singer turned heartland rocker turned rootsy moralist, John Mellencamp has had almost as many career turns as names.