I’ve never really considered myself a Pink Floyd fan per se. At the risk of setting myself up to get flamed, I’ll admit that I tend to think of Pink Floyd as a “druggie band.” Since I’m not exactly into drugs myself, I’ve always felt a bit dismissive of them. I don’t own any of their albums. In fact, I own just one of their songs (the beautiful and haunting “Wish You Were Here”). On the other hand, if I come across them on the radio, I’m unlikely to change the channel.
They seem to get played on the radio a lot here. And since I’ve been hearing them on the radio, I started looking them up on YouTube and, consequently, listening to them at home. This reminded me how much I love the song “Mother.”
Two things really make this song for me: Roger Waters’s vocals (god, I love his voice) and the lyrics. On the surface, it seems like a sweet song: a man turns to his mother, seeking comfort in the face of his fears. His mother’s responses, however, push the song into a creepy place. When he asks her,
“Mother, do you think she’s good enough for me?
Mother, do you think she’s dangerous to me?
Mother, will she tear your little boy apart?
Ooo ah, Mother will she break my heart?”
“Hush now baby, baby, don’t you cry.
Mama’s gonna check out all your girlfriends for you.
Mama won’t let anyone dirty get through.
Mama’s gonna wait up until you get in.
Mama will always find out where you’ve been.
Mama’s gonna keep baby healthy and clean.”
Now, I know that this song doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s part of a concept album, one that I maybe listened to in its entirety once 25 years ago. So perhaps there’s a context to it, a nuance, that I don’t get, hearing it independently from the rest of the album, but I don’t know that any context would make it less creepy.
This song makes me uncomfortable, and the fact that I like that it makes me uncomfortable makes me even more uncomfortable. A song that makes me feel something? Yes, please.