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Love Songs: “Mississippi”

This week, the Review is publishing a series of short reflections on love songs, broadly defined. Someone once accused me of being unrealistic love's aftermath. This was in the middle of an interminable argument, one in a long series of interminable arguments. I am not prone to interminable arguments, which probably should have told me something about this person and myself sooner than it did. Still, I was experiencing a new experience at the time, and not every aspect of it was entirely unpleasant. He said something like this: “You think there are never any consequences! You think you can go around hurting people, and everyone you hurt will still want to be in the same room as you, having a drink!” I thought about this for a second. It wasn't true, but it wasn't true either. Then I said something stupid: “Do you know the Bob Dylan song ‘Mississippi'?” Is “Mississippi” a love song? Yes and no. I think it is among the most romantic songs ever written and most ambiguous, which are not disconnected qualities. It is not even clear about a romantic relationship—some people hear it as a sociopolitical song about the state of America, which isn't wrong. It might be about a guy who has stayed in Mississippi a day too long. Yet it contains, I think, every important kernel of wisdom about love […] Bob Dylan. Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CCO 2.0.

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