Written by Jason Wade
One of six popular songs that Trisha Yearwood recorded for The Passion: New Orleans, “Broken” transcends its adult rock origins through its reinvention as Mary’s plaintive wail after the death of her son on the cross.
It’s a powerhouse performance, and a reminder of that brief, late nineties period where Yearwood flirted with pop stardom. Of course she’s got the pipes to pull it off. We all know that.
But what she does with her songs from The Passion went beyond any expectations I’ve ever had of her, and I already considered her to be the finest singer of her generation. She embodied Mary as a mother and Mary as a disciple throughout her six tracks, but as the crucifixion draws near, she sheds the discipleship from her performances and moves fully into the fearful, protective mother role. By the time she sings “Broken,” she’s a grieving mother, and the lingering faith has receded to the background.
The surprising radio success of “Broken” will hopefully encourage listeners to seek out the full soundtrack. All six songs are best heard as a collective story arc, and as great as “Broken” is, it’s not even in the upper echelon of the six tracks. (“I Won’t Give Up” is among her finest moments on record. Among Trisha Yearwood’s finest moments on record, y’all.)
But if all you’ve heard is the Lifehouse version, then trust me, friends. You haven’t heard “Broken” at all.