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Missy Higgins Finds the Vulnerability in Certainty

Uncertainty may be the path to freedom, but that path is laced with thorny vines and booby-trapped with regret. On her sophomore album, On A Clear Night, Australian singer-songwriter Missy Higgins addresses that bittersweet quandary in "Where I Stood."

"I don't know what I've done / or if I like what I've begun," Higgins sings, with a voice that's both clear and heartbroken. By the time she reaches the chorus ("I don't know who I am without you / All I know is that I should"), it's hard not to share her ambivalence: She's got a deep love, but she knows she needs more.

That emotional directness and Mitchell Froom's tasteful production help make "Where I Stood" a stirring combination of vulnerability and certainty — the quintessential, difficult, multifaceted explanation behind, "It's not you, it's me." Neither overly sentimental nor emotionally brutal, Higgins looks into the abyss and toward a better, fuller future for both parties, while acknowledging how heartbreaking and confusing that parting can be.

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Barbara Mitchell