Motherly musings

Songs for and about Mom

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

There’s no shortage of songs about moms and motherhood. Some are heartfelt tributes and loving ballads of parenthood, but not all. Mother’s Day brings up different feelings for different people. Here’s a sampling of songs for the holiday, no matter what it means to you.

‘Don’t Forget to Remember Me’ by Carrie Underwood

“Yes dears, I’m listening to everything you’re saying.” Courtesy photo.

When this song hit radio waves in the early 2000s, my sister was about to head off to college. I remember the lyrics — particularly the part where the narrator tells her mom to “Tell my baby sister/ I’ll see her in the fall” — hitting home. The track is classic, feel-good Carrie Underwood, and a loving tribute to the advice and comfort that moms provide when we strike out on our own.

‘House of Gold’ by Twenty One Pilots

The band’s frontman Tyler Joseph, over a spunky ukulele melody, sings, “She asked me, Son, when I grow old/ Will you buy me a house of gold?” to which he replies, “I will make you/ Queen of everything you see/ I’ll put you on the map/ I’ll cure you of disease.” Joseph has always been transparent about his love for this family, and “House of Gold” serves as a sweet promise to his mom that he’ll use his fame to give back to her.

‘Fancy’ by Reba McEntire

Her methods may have been questionable, but no one’s mom went further to help them succeed than the narrator’s mother in Reba McEntire’s 1990 hit “Fancy.” She spent the last of her money to buy her daughter a satin dress and sent her out into the world with the words, “Your pa’s runned off and I’m real sick/ And the baby’s gonna starve to death,” as well as, “Here’s your one chance, Fancy, don’t let me down.” Fancy leaves the shack of her childhood, charms the gentlemen and builds a wealthy life. Her mother dies, but hey — Mama did what she had to do, and we got a hell of a song out of it.

‘Hey, Ma’ by Bon Iver

This stunning song is a riddle wrapped in a Rubik’s Cube of a motherly relationship. Many have speculated that it’s a story of a reckless childhood, and a mother who remains by the narrator’s side. There are references to lending money, drug dependence, and the ups and downs of seeking success. The chorus hits hard, with the lyrics, “Tall time to call your Ma/ Hey Ma, hey Ma” — solid advice any day of the year.

‘Mothers’ by Daughter

English indie trio Daughter is well-seasoned at writing songs that grapple with complicated feelings about moms and motherhood. The band’s album Not to Disappear was inspired by the lead singer’s grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. The resulting tracks are haunting — particularly “Mothers,” which includes the lyrics: “Oh love all you need to love before it goes/ When your face becomes a stranger’s, I don’t know/ You will never remember who I was to you/ Carried in the womb.”

An honorable mention track off one of the band’s earlier albums is “Smother,” in which the narrator apologizes for being insufferably clingy, fantasizes about the “mess” she’ll leave of children who act just like her, and ends with the line, “I sometimes wish I’d stayed inside my mother/ Never to come out.” Heavy stuff.

‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri

International Bereaved Mother’s Day was May 2  — one week before the traditionally celebrated Mother’s Day. The day is reserved for mothers who have lost children to miscarraige, stillbirth or any other means during their lifetime. This song could take on many meanings and apply to many kinds of love, but the lyrics, “I have died every day waiting for you/ Darling, don’t be afraid/ I have loved you for a thousand years/ I’ll love you for a thousand more,” seem to apply especially to the love a mother has for her child — particularly a mother who is struggling with infertility, or who finds comfort in knowing she’ll see her child again in the afterlife. No matter its application, it’s a beautiful and tender track.

‘Stacy’s Mom’ by Fountains of Wayne

This one’s for the hot moms, which is all of you. We all know the story: the narrator believes Stacy’s mom has got it going on, and he straight up tells Stacy she’s just not the girl for him — her mom is. Poor Stacy. I hope she got past this and found a man with more age-appropriate tastes.

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