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Happy Mothers Day: Stereo Embers’ Top 5 Songs About Moms (For Better And For Worse)

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“Mothers are all slightly insane,” J.D. Salinger once wrote.

As for me, my mom was a therapist and I was fond of joking around with her about how she solved everyone else’s problems, but she was the cause of all of mine.

She didn’t like that joke very much.

Mothers are great and they’re not so great–and it’s not their fault.

They have to be oddly administrative, cool-headed in intense heat, unfairly judgmental, wildly protective, passionately supportive, unreasonably intransigent, bizarrely unyielding and voraciously loving.

You try it.

Let’s face it: mothers are all slightly insane because of us.

So we thought it would be fun to pay musical tribute to the highs and lows of motherhood.

1. “Honor Your Mother And Father”–Desmond Dekker

The sweetest tipping of the hat to both parents, but the mom gets top billing in this ska classic.


2. The Police–“Mother”

Sting may have made Synchronicity all about Carl Jung, but Andy Summers made sure to vandalized those proceedings with this heaving Oedipal nightmare that’s a disturbing psychosexual drama that comes straight from Freud. And “Psycho.” Yikes.



3. The Doors–“The End”

Speaking of nightmares. And Oedipus. And Freud. And psycho-sexual. The Doors’ “The End” is a Greek drama played out in high Morrison fashion. It’s a break-up song that morphs into a murderous farewell to childhood. It’s about becoming your own person and metaphorically destroying the concepts your parents raised you with and embracing entirely new ones that have nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. Whew.



4. Genesis–“Mama”

An uncomfortable meditation on a longing for a prostitute who conjures such strong feelings for a teenaged customer it borders on maternal longing, this song actually cracked the Top Ten in Austria and Finland, but barely cracked the Top 100 in the United States.

“Mama” is pulled from the pages of David Niven’s “The Moon’s A Balloon” and was inspired by the lyrics of Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message.” Seriously.



5. Matt Keating–“Mothers Day”

Taken from his latest album This Perfect Crime, Keating’s tribute to motherhood is a moving recollection that brings to mind Carver’s “Bicycles, Muscles And Cigarettes” where a little boy says to his father: “I wish I’d known you when you were little…I don’t know how to say it, but I’m lonesome about it–it’s like I miss you already if I think about it now…”

This number will make you lonesome and filled with love for your mom at the same time.

It’s a killer.