The Common Good

Mother's Week: Music (Part I)

From bands singing about their mothers and songwriters promoting women's empowerment, to songs about reference mothers and girls and odes to the divine feminine, we give you Music for Mother's Week (Part 1) with contributions from Dawes, Iron & Wine, Bob Dylan, J. Tillman, Roger Waters/Sinead O'Connor and U2

.Dawes – "Bedside Manner"

The L.A. Americana roots band Dawes sings a song of thanks to their mothers and the memories of family life. “Some time as a much older man / I will sit down and put on this song. / It just might make me cry, / Or at the very least a tear in my eye,” he sings before repeating the chorus of “Mama, mama.”

Iron & Wine – "Woman King"

After releasing the somber Our Endless Numbered Days, Sam Beam pulls out the electric guitars in an EP devoted to different women. The Woman King EP is an exceptional class of songs with both biblical imagery and strong feminism.

Bob Dylan – "It’s OK Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)"

In Dylan’s early years, he wrote the lengthy track, which was later released on a live collection of bootleg recordings. The quality isn’t exceptional, but in typical Dylan fashion, it doesn’t need to be. It’s an angry song against consumerism, hypocrisy, and all thing evil.

J. Tillman – "Your Mother’s Ghost"

As the title suggests, this eerie tune from Tillman is of a haunting and cursed vision. “There’s a ghost
upon my lips / She gives me wisdom to guide your steps,” he sings while unearthing metaphorical and sacramental allusions.

Roger Waters and Sinead O’Connor - "Mother"

Busting out the accordion and acoustic instruments, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Sinead O’Connor give a heart-tugging melody to the mothers that raised them. In a concert live in Berlin, the full stadium and theatrical show make a powerful tribute.

U2 - "Mothers of the Disappeared"

This song from U2's album The Joshua Tree, was inspired by lead singer Bono's experiences in Nicaragua and El Salvador in July 1986, following U2's involvement on Amnesty International's A Conspiracy of Hope tour. He learned of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, a group of women whose children had been "disappeared" by the Argentinean and Chilean dictatorships. While in Central America, he met members of COMADRES, a similar organization whose children had been disappeared by the government in El Salvador. Bono sympathized with the Madres and COMADRES and wanted to pay tribute to their cause.

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