Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Margaret Durante – Mississippi’s Crying

It’s Broken-Hearted Country Girl Tuesday!…


Josh Langhoff: If a state can cry, goes the argument, it has jurisdiction over rain and sky, formerly the domain of the federal government. National airspace becomes state airspace, militias start firing on Air Force One, and pretty soon we’ve got a Civil War 2 to rival Sudan’s, ostensibly over water rights. Great. As it happens, Mississippi’s governor is currently challenging the constitutionality of “Obamacare’s” individual mandate — which leads to my probably untenable hypothesis that, if a state song personifies its subject or depicts the state as a metaphysical sympathizer, rather than simply as a nice place to live, it’s about a Red State (with a few exceptions for California, which incidentally has its own water issues, but the Red States are much more common). Examples: “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Tennessee”, and “Rainy Night in Georgia” brashly extends its reach “all over the world”. Anyway, Durante’s from Maryland, not that it matters.

Martin Skidmore: I’ve not heard the Emily West original, but the song is very emotional, and Margaret gives it plenty. She’s a very strong singer with immense control and good judgement when to open up and when to go easy. It’s a shame the guitarist (which for all I know may be her too) doesn’t have the same restraint, giving us some nasty old soft-rock licks where they aren’t wanted. But I like her voice a lot.

Renato Pagnani: What’s clever about this is that Durante flips the standard weather-as-metaphor-for-my-emotions trope, literally giving her honky tonk & heartbreak power to cause thunderstorms and torrential rain. Badass.

Pete Baran: This is the way you do a decent storytelling country track. It’s raining, rain is like tears – BOOM: you have your metaphor for sadness wrapped up in a jaunty little number. The only thing missing is a direct link between our heroine and Storm from the X-Men, and more of a diss of Tennessee.

Anthony Easton: Could have some details of specific geography, and the production could be a little less bombastic, but that last verse, which connects cheating on a state and cheating on a person, is fantastic. Though I feel like I need to point out that Memphis is much more seductive than anyplace in Mississippi.

Jonathan Bogart: The score is on the basis of a single listen; future listens will, I suspect, only push it up higher. Sure, weather as metonymy for emotional states is as old as human invention, but this is how you tie a sense of place into your country weepie. Bonus points for everything not being all right.

Michaelangelo Matos: You know how some songs just grow with repeat plays? This one diminishes, somehow: rather than hearing the story behind the craft, I’m finding it’s the other way around. Still, the craft gets it over a little bit.

Alfred Soto: OK song, charming performance, catching the singer at the point where she’s thinking about whether to show off that big voice or restrain herself enough so that we beg for more (Full disclosure: since I could find no studio versions I had to rely on an okay live clip uploaded to Facebook, so I reserve the right to add or subtract from the score).

Frank Kogan: The lyrics are so strenuous and resolute in their determination that no one possibly be able not to get that rain equals tears, I at first was certain that the pun in “You’re leaving me in this empty state” was entirely unintended. Otherwise, why weren’t they explaining it to us? But in fact it does seem to be a quick flash of wit. Later, a brief moment of good hot storytelling emerges in the middle eight, Durante singing “You never said a word about Memphis, so who is she?” In the rest, the main metaphor rains down on us in sheets, and the music suffers a subdued version of this fate: a warm singer, a poignant tune, but the arrangement fills in the spaces, the impact gets diluted.

3 Responses to “Margaret Durante – Mississippi’s Crying”

  1. This is a great rendition! I have heard other work from Margaret (thought her version of “Use Somebody” was truly special and uniquely good) and this song is a topper. Her presentation of the lyrics and melody truly showcase how a great country singer can impact your emotions in a big way. Expect and hope she will do well.

  2. I appreciate the bloggers’ thoughtful literary citicism of this moving pop song. Weather affects the human condition in many ways, both for good and for bad, creating beauty and ugliness, causing life and causing death. It is not surprising, therefore, that weather references are sprinkled throughout our human dialogue, in country/folk ballads as well as in great literature. It’s raining here today, and Margaret Durante captures the moment. I’ll repeat-shuffle “Mississippi’s Crying,” sing along and wait for the skies to clear.

  3. Very nice! Just heard “Mississippi’s Crying” on the country station in Baltimore while on a trip there. Ms.Durante does a great job and this is a winner song.