Why do we dedicate only one day of the year to the women who brought us, kicking and screaming, into the world? For all the times that we’ve called home, asking for cash, or groceries, or bail—and they get one day? We drive them nuts. We break their hearts. We move away. It’s no wonder that so many people write songs about them. Here are some of the best tracks about the ladies who do it all.
Sufjan Stevens – “Decatur, Or, Round of Applause For Your Stepmother!”
The women who reared us, not necessarily birthed us, are just as deserving of their own special day. Stevens, the folksy eccentric with the velvet voice, encouraged us all to ‘stand up and thank’ the misunderstood stepmoms of the world with this joyfully kooky track from his formidable 2005 Illinoise record.
Chvrches – “The Mother We Share”
While it’s not exactly clear what Lauren Mayberry is singing about on Chvrches’ catchy, synth-infused breakthrough, the cryptic lyrics (and video) manage to reinforce the stereotype that, despite excessive weirdness, your mother still loves you.
Sun Kil Moon – “I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love”
For such a seemingly angry guy, Mark Kozelek sure can craft a devastatingly beautiful song about his mom. When he’s not picking fights with The War on Drugs, the Sun Kil Moon front man speaks candidly about his closest friend, the woman whose inevitable death is certain to leave him unraveled. Tough guys take note: this song will rip you apart.
Kate Bush – “Mother Stands for Comfort”
The high-pitched godmother of alternative art rock wrote this wistful ode to mothers, setting it against an eerie, X-Files-y warbling wall of sound, and threw it onto the track list of 1985s brilliantly quirky Hounds of Love.
Sinead O’Connor – “This Is To Mother You”
Fans know full well about O’Connor’s tumultuous relationship with her own mother. However, this lovely track, from the 1996 EP Gospel Oak, would indicate that the fiery Irish songbird has a forgiving nature.
Liz Phair – “Little Digger”
The original indie queen, Phair added a new, softer chapter to her sexually charged songbook after giving birth in 1996. “Little Digger” is the song for single moms, written from the perspective of the son who watches dad walk out, and readjusts as the new guy moves in.
Bjork – “Quicksand”
“Quicksand” is actually the oldest song on Björk’s new album Vulnicura. Written in 2011, following her own mother’s heart attack, the lyrics are unsurprisingly complex, but seemingly allude to the strength of all women, and the unavoidable connectedness each share with their children.
Tracy Bonham – “Mother Mother”
Bonham’s sole hit from 1995 sought to reassure all moms that a move away from home was not necessarily synonymous with excessive drug use and promiscuity. Twenty years later and the lyrics are just as relevant.
(Photo by Mike via Flickr)