21. "Mississippi" (2001)
Sheryl Crow: I released "Mississippi" before Dylan did, on my album The Globe Sessions. It changed the whole record. There's no fat in the song – every line has a purpose. He said that he liked every line of his songs to have the possibility of being the first line of a new song. That's certainly the case with "Mississippi." He gets very philosophical about aging, telling a story about redemption and resolution for the Everyman in a way that's almost biblical: "Well, my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinkin' fast/I'm drownin' in the poison, got no future, got no past/But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free."
It's Dylan writing like a short story writer, like Steinbeck or Mark Twain – creating a story, but making these classical, sweeping statements. "Mississippi" is our introduction to Dylan as somebody facing mortality with an upbeat attitude. Bob Dylan may have turned 70 a couple of years ago, but he never gets older to me. That's what mythological characters are all about.