Songs to commemorate those who’ve mothered us.
TRACY CHAPMAN – “Fast Car” – as described by sebastian le bras
My Mom would play one of those Best of Tracy Chapman discs on this old beat up CD player that we had in our living room. I was a restless kid, but this song would always sedate me. “Fast Car” reminds me of couches that smell like dog and rooms lit purely by lamps. Timeless.
KENDRICK LAMAR feat. ANNA WISE – “Real” – as described by david schmitt
Kendrick’s mom gets the last words of “good kid, m.A.A.d city”‘s narrative in a voicemail, displaying utmost faith in her son’s ability to turn his situation into a teaching experience. Mom, you can have the last words on my Platinum album too, so long as they’re not “clean your room”…
REDBONE – “Come and Get Your Love” – as described by mika limcaoco
No matter how sad a heartbreak or how stressful an exam, my mom has always managed to put the widest smile on my face. I always wondered how she did this – was it because of her humor? Her quirk? Her naturally bubbly disposition? – I realize now that it wasn’t really any of these things. It was her unconditional love. Whenever my mom and I would go on drives or lounge at home, “Come and Get Your Love” always played in the background. Like my mom, this song is bubbly, upbeat, and soulful. It is something you can’t help but dance to, and something that you can’t help but smile at as you sing along. I love this song, but more importantly, I love what it represents – which is you, Mama!
TLC – “No Scrubs” – as described by analyssa lopez
I have a cool mom. That much has never been in question. Nowadays, she mostly just texts me when this song comes on her Pandora radio that she plays while she works. Thanks, mama, for instilling in me a love for belting songs in the car with the windows down, and absolutely no love of scrubs.
LOUIE AUSTEN – “One night in Rio” — as described by phill giliver
When I was 10 years old, my mom would listen to this series of albums called “Hotel Costes,” which were compilations of “cool” lounge music. Think of them like “Now That’s What I Call Elevator Music!” Anyways, she made us listen to this one particular song on repeat during a particularly long car ride, to the point where my brother and I had fits of anger. Coming back to it though, it’s quite good. My mom’s a cool mom, everyone.
BEYONCÉ – “Blue” – as described by nikki tran
Post-LEMONADE, my Beyhives have returned and no antihistamine can make them go away and that’s a-okay by me. While I’ve exclusively listened to Bey and only Bey since the album’s drop (thank you Tidal trial), I sometimes forget Beyoncé is a mother, though not because I’m in that camp that insists that Bey faked her pregnancy blah blah. Yet, I think I have something in common with those conspirators. Maybe we forget or question Bey and baby because secretly, deep down (probably in some Freudian way), we wish Beyoncé was our mother. How glorious, how epic, how glamorous would our lives be? “Blue” is a glimmer in that could-be life, one so lush that you can’t help but swoon: oh, mama.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK – “Summertime” – as described by loralee sepsey
This song reminds me of all the important mothers in my life–my mama, my aunt, and my gramma – because when NKOTB came back in 2008 this song was all I heard in our cars for months. Eventually they converted me. We went to two NKOTB concerts that year. It was awesome. But in all seriousness, this song brings me back to those sixth grade days, where we were all crammed in one two bedroom apartment, desigining our own choreo and fighting over who’d sing Jordan’s part. Those memories keep me warm.
ELTON JOHN – “Your Song” – as described by anthony milki
96.5 KOIT, Lite Rock, Less Talk always played this when I was really young. It’s very difficult to hear and not be forced back.
ALICE RIPLEY – “You Don’t Know” – as described by bojan srb
I want to wish a good ole hmd to all the women in my life who mother me every day. Dedicating you a showtune is not even a close second to what I want to give you; which is everything. From my birth mother, Slavica, who knows me better than anybody else on this planet, to Cynthia, who adopted me into her American family with no questions asked, to Celina, whose pool of empathy is as bottomless as it is vast, to Elisabeth, whose loyalty is fierce and unending, to Ariela, who is selfless and giving and dynamic, to Jazlyn, who teaches me that interdependence is possible on American soil, and to Eva, the only other “me” I’ve ever met: you are all fantastic and awe-inspiring and complicated in the best possible ways and I thank my lucky stars I found myself in your excellent company.
QUEEN – “Killer Queen” – as described by katie nesser
I had a very sheltered childhood. I didn’t even know who Britney Spears was until kindergarten, when I saw a picture of her on my friend’s lunchbox and asked if Britney went to our school. My mom instead played children’s folk songs, The Lion King, Christian music, and inexplicably, Queen. While I do get a pang of envy when my friends get nostalgic over the early 2000s pop I’m often hearing for the first time, I’ll always have Freddie Mercury. Thanks mom. I only got one glimpse of popular music in early childhood, but it was a good one.
Image from here.