This song surprised me at first — granted, it was the video that surprised. I didn’t think I’d see Faith sulking through a sweltering dystopic lovelorn backdrop any time this century – I didn’t know she could sulk! With my cursory exposure to Ms. Hill coming via her teeth-rotting hits of sunshine (‘This Kiss’, ‘The Way You Love Me’, ‘Breathe’), the bitterness and anger seething between the swooping strings sounded — not authentic, and not more real. Different. A different sort of different I didn’t expect — fie on me for having low expectations.

Of course, after beating the song into my head these past couple of months, it’s pretty clear that ‘Cry’ isn’t much more than the root canal flipside to all the sugar and spice she fed the Billboard charts these past couple of years. It’s not a personal glimpse into that bitterness & anger you get with love gone wrong, though. ‘Cry’ is a Rorshach blot that doesn’t leave much room for interpretation — unless you’re the type to take round-trip plane rides with your Frequent Flights of Fancy Miles, you’re going to see the same thing in that amorphous blob as millions of other listeners. And shame on you if you’re reading that assertion as a criticism of the song – most songwriters would fold, spindle, and mutilate for just one opportunity to tap that universal vein. (Brief aside – show me a songwriter / musician that doesn’t want to communicate with as many listeners as possible, an artist that wants to entertain and inspire on their terms and their terms alone, and I’ll show you about 1000 CDs from my collection, days’ worth of music made by talented, creative folks struggling / that struggled to rub two coupons together.) (OK, I was wrong – 1250 CDs, give or take two hundred.)

If you notice Faith’s pushing through the words instead of singing them (like she’s never done that before), there’s no need to grouse — it’s belabored a wee bit, but the conviction is there. Professional actors know when to mug for the camera and be totally, shamelessly obvious. Sometimes, there even has to be a little effort put in by Happy Me in order to wake up my inner Goth and realize some quality existential angst. Even if it’s only for 4 minutes, it’s worth the effort.