Nine of My Favorite Sad Songs

Nine of My Favorite Sad Songs

2. Pink Floyd – Mother

I’m not sure what can be said about this, in terms of a musical review, that hasn’t already been said by far more talented writers than I.  “The Wall” in total is a piece of music that has indescribable resonance in my life, having spent far more of the last four decades “comfortably numb” behind my own wall than I really care to talk about in this context.

The structure and phrasing of the song rings perfectly with the context and discussion it contains, with a bit of off-kilter and uncomfortable fake security, expressions of insecurity and fear about relationships, a groove that suggests a sort of sheltered, easy-going, traditional “comfortable” life, betrayed by the angst-ridden peaks of the vocal lines (“Mother, will she tear your little boy apart?”) for the sham and facade that it often is for so many of us.  A description of family dysfunction given from the alternating points of view of the immature, frightened (“Mother should I build a wall?”), and trapped son of an overbearing and overprotective (“Of course mother’s gonna help build a wall”) mother, and the psychological consequences resulting from this broken and twisted relationship, the poignant lyric simply cannot be adequately described or transcribed in prose.

The immutable will of the mother and inevitable confounding and confinement of spirit of the son are summed up perfectly in the final lines:

You’ll always be ‘baby’ to me.

Mother, did it need to be so high?

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