The Song:
“Cry Me a River”, 2002 song by Scott Storch, Timothy “’Timbaland” Mosley, and Justin Timberlake, performed by the latter. Of course, there is an older song by the same title, but Lyricbuster thought it best to give the classics a break and hassle someone from this century. Plus, you don’t mess with Ella Fitzgerald.

The Culprit:
It’s all in the title. “Cry me a river,” Justin commands his ex after discovering her infidelity, but is he justified, or just plain crazy?

Why the River Ran.
In hydrological parlance, the course of their relationship meandered until poor JT was left in a stagnant oxbow lake off to the side of her main channel, where she proceeded to float someone else’s boat.

Water under the bridge? Not for Justin. The wages of her sin are to be paid in tears, which leads us to our Justinbustin’.

Cry me a Loosahatchie.
His first problem is defining what constitutes a river, as opposed to a brook, creek, or stream. Unless he kidnaps a hydrologist and compels him to take measurements of a crying woman’s output until riverhood status can be conferred, comparison is his only recourse. But which river is he using as the benchmark?

Justin was born in Memphis, a hipthrust from America’s largest waterway. The Mississippi carries 3.5 million gallons past Beale St every second; a torrent of remorse that is beyond even the most repentant two-timer. He grew up near the Loosahatchie River, however, and it carries a more modest 750 gallons per second…still, this constitutes an admirable amount of sorrow, especially considering the average person cries a mere three ounces per monthbarely enough to create a trickle, let alone a river. Justin knows “Cry Me a Rivulet” isn’t going to cut it, so how does he get his Loosahatchie?

Young Woman River.
First, she’s gotta be standing in the right place so that her tears run into a catchment. Get the topography wrong and all that water will simply spread outwardsand while “Cry Me a Pond” may still be impressive, it washes away the lyrical scanning completely.

But crying in the right spot is no guarantee of success; he has to factor in soil absorption, animals coming to drink and bathe, not to mention evaporation on a hot day. To create the river he so desperately craves, he’s going to have to build a dam or levee of some kind, thus accumulating a reservoir before opening the floodgates and realising his dream.

On the other side of the meteorological ledger, there is the very real prospect of rain interfering with his punishment. How is he going to differentiate between precipitation and penance? These are troubling issues before a tear’s even been shed, and you can tell he’s got the Fear when he sings in the second verse, “All of these things people told me keep messing with my head.” Sadly for our hero, there’re bigger rapids ahead.

Trouble at the Headwaters.
Crying a river is going to take a long time, even when one considers there are three types of tears; emotional, reflex, and basal. Everyone produces about 8oz of basalour eyes’ lubricationevery day. Reflex tears, triggered by irritants like smoke, should account for another few ounces in addition to those fostered by regret at leaving Justin high and dry.

Still, for all Justin’s careful lubricant extraction, chopping onions under her nose, setting fire to the woods and emotional manipulation, the most he’s going to get by the end of the year is about thirty gallons, 4% of the Loosahatchie’s flow rate. Spending a quarter of a century to make a woman cry one second’s worth of the measly Loosahatchie smacks of madness and worse…especially when keeping the tears streaming 24/7 will require heroic amounts of rehydrationthat water’s gotta come from somewhere.

Trouble is, the swallowing mechanism is subservient to the crying mechanism; to keep crying, she’s going to have to stop crying. Since she can only cry out what she puts in, then surely it makes more sense to simply cut out the middlewoman and pour her Evian directly onto the ground?

Of course, aside from missing the point he’s trying to make, such an enterprise does no good for Justin’s reputationstanding in the woods, spending years pouring bottled water into a makeshift dam he constructed himself from twigs, rocks and mud…one begins to see why she decided to go with someone else’s flow.

But regarding Justin’s reputation, perhaps this is the lesser of two evils. Making a woman stand in the forest for decades on end, crying for him, is unlikely to win him any friends in the female world, or the world in general, come to that.

“Where’s Justin?”

“Out’n the woods, making a woman cry him a river.”

“But he’s been gone for years!”

“Well, you know Justin. Once he sets his mind to something…”

It’s getting harder and harder to see this as a proportionate response to infidelityand we have yet to examine the most disturbing facet of this sob story.

Delta Blues.
The emotional stamina needed to remain in a state of woe sufficient to keep crying is the critical factor…eventually, habituated to her regrets, they will no longer provide adequate motivation. So Justin must continually concoct methods to keep the tears streamingpossibly by subjecting her to endless re-runs of the Mouseketeers, maybe just poking her occasionally with a stick.

Either way, with all this absorption, evaporation, precipitation, dehydration, emotional manipulation, and damage to reputation, the only logical conclusion is Lyricbustation!