“In Spite of Ourselves” is the 13th studio album of John Prine. Released in 1999, has also featured duets with various well-known female alternative country and folk artists. The album is special for Prine for being his first release since successfully battling throat cancer. The female duet partners include Iris DeMent, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Connie Smith, etc.

May We Still See Through Love “In Spite of Ourselves” 1

How “In Spite of Ourselves” Song Came to Prine

John Prine was off the limelight for six months recovering from his cancer treatment. He spent most of his lazy days reading Archie comics. One day Billy Bob Thornton called him to talk about a movie called “Daddy and Them” where he was offered to play Andy Griffith’s son. In addition, Billy Bob asked him to write a song for the movies. He was not sure what song Billy wants for the movie. So he asked Billy if he should write a song that is about the movie or not, to which Billy just said, “Umggghhh.”  As I heard a piece of this song, I immediately fell for it. It made me laugh aloud and smile from ear to ear. Here is a song that gets what marriage and connection is all about. The lyrical content certainly is not much formal,

“She thinks crossin’ her legs is funny
She looks down her nose at money.”

However, is it not the wonder of love? In spite of all our weirdness and faults, someone out there still appreciates us.

Prine and DeMent

From the upbeat, folksy guitar to Prine’s demonstrative twangy voice, comes a viciously honest opening verse. Until Iris Dement struck with her own list of likings about her man. Together, Prine and DeMent summarized this love in “In Spite of Ourselves”.

“In spite of ourselves
We’ll end up a’sittin’ on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we’re the big door prize.”

In three and a half minutes, Prine and DeMent give us a view of a long-lasting bond between two old souls growing old together and loving it. Looking from the outside, the characters in the song may look silly, like that of sniffing each other’s undies. Nothing about those matters, though. It is their love, and no one else’s. They can see each other for who they really are, and what they see is not ugly or strange. It is real love. 

On this 1999 cut, Prine duets with the wonderful, Iris DeMent. Against odds, her flexible country twang entwines nicely with his gruff baritone.

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