Song of the Day #3,520: ‘Mighty River’ – Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige made Oscar history last month, becoming the only performer ever nominated as an actor and Best Song composer in the same year. Blige earned a Supporting Actress nod for her soulful turn in Dee Rees’ Mudbound, and co-wrote the movie’s end credits song with Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson.

Mudbound was one of my favorite 2017 films, and one that I bet would have fared even better in the Oscar nominations had it received a proper theatrical release and not been confined to Netflix for most of the country.

Blige has no shot at the Supporting Actress trophy (which will almost certainly go to Allison Janney, or Laura Metcalf if an upset is in the offing). But she may well win for Best Song, given her star power and the historic nature of her nomination.

That would be a shame, however, given the better entries in this category. I’d hate to see a song with the lyric “underneath our skin we’re identical” win anything. This song is as on-the-nose as the movie is subtle.

[Verse 1]
Life is a teacher, time is a healer
And I’m a believer like a river wild
Ego’s a killer, greed is a monster
But love is stronger, stronger than them all

[Pre-Chorus]
White flag in hand, I don’t wanna fight
No lines in the sand, I’m on your side
Invisible, no colour lines
It’s time we put our, put our, put our differences aside

[Chorus]
Time tells no lies
It keeps changing, and ticking, and moving, then passes by
But if you’re lucky, it will be kind
Like a river flowing through time

[Post-Chorus]
(Like a river) let it wash you clean
(Mighty river) going up stream
(Like a river) cutting through right
(Mighty river) ’cause it never gives up
(Like a river) so full of life
(Mighty river) liquid like time
(Like a river) let it wash away
(Mighty river) the pain from yesterday

[Verse 2]
Love is the answer, hate is a cancer
Hope of forgiveness, it waters the soul
Our blood is red, we’re not so different
‘Cause underneath our skin we’re identical

[Pre-Chorus]
White flag in hand, we’re not gonna fight
No lines in the sand, I’m on your side
Invisible, no colour lines, oh
It’s time we put our, oh, put our differences aside
We know wrong from right

[Chorus]
Oh, time tells no lies
He keeps changing, and ticking, and moving, then passes by
But if you’re lucky, it will be kind
Oh, like a river flowing through time, oh

[Post-Chorus]
(Like a river) let it wash you clean
(Mighty river) going up stream
(Like a river) cutting through right
(Mighty river) ’cause it never gives up
(Like a river) so full of life
(Mighty river) liquid like time
(Like a river) let it wash away
(Mighty river) the pain from yesterday
(Like a river) oh, oh, oh
(Mighty river) rain down on me
(Like a river) all it takes is time
(Mighty river) to heal this bloodline
(Like a river) better wash me clean
(Mighty river) get this dirt off of me, yeah
(Like a river) oh, oh, oh
(Mighty river) let it wash the pain
Oh, oh, oh yeah
(Like a river) oh, like a river
(Mighty river) mighty and better river
(Like a river) oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
(Mighty river) let it wash away
(Like a river) oh, oh, oh
(Mighty river) oh, all the hurt and pain
(Like a river) oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
(Mighty river) oh mighty river, mighty river

[Outro]
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

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4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,520: ‘Mighty River’ – Mary J. Blige

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I think you’re being a bit harsh on the song, though I agree there are stronger entries in the best song category. My money remains on “This is Me.”

    • Madison says:

      Just saw Greatest Showman again and I’m pulling for that one to win. I’m sure Coco will have an award for animation and truly great songwriting deserves to be honored here. That being said, Dee Rees was robbed and Mudbound should have seen more love.

  2. Peg Clifton says:

    Loved the book and the movie. While I was happy to be able to see the movie on Netflix, I agree that it probably hurt it’s chances to be widely seen. Not sure what song you are referring to in your blog. I would like to see this one win.

  3. Amy says:

    I honestly can’t say the song made much of an impression on me when I heard it in the context of the film, which utterly devastated me. That said, reading the lyrics just now, I agree with you. If we’re going with a literal retelling/celebration as our song pick, “This is Me” is clearly that song.

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