Willie the Weeper offers a sexy, eyebrow-raising contrast to the other acts. As Latouche later explained, Willie "was selected as the second theme primarily because of its musical contrast with the other two, and also because of the lyrical contrast, which concerns itself with the desires and fears of the present day, rather than [of] a nostalgic past." Dancer Sharry Underwood, who performed in the premiere of Ballet Ballads, described the contrast between the first two works: "The show's center of gravity changes . . . from uptight-upright to low-down-and-out. Where Susanna is concerned with public opinions and attitudes of society, Willie concentrates on one man's self-esteem."