Listen Here: Mother’s Day

Listen Here is a monthly playlist picked and curated by members of the Deadshirt staff around a certain theme. This month’s theme is “Mother’s Day,” with a playlist selected by several Deadshirt staffers and curated by music editor Julian Ames.

May 10th is Mother’s Day this year, and with that in mind, the Deadshirt staff decided to gather a bunch of songs about mothers, or that reminded us of our own mothers, into a playlist in honor of moms. Below is the list with songs picked by Dylan Roth, Madie Coe, Mike Duquette, Dominic Griffin, Haley Winters, and Julian Ames. We hope you, and your mothers, enjoy it.

“Weekend in New England” – Barry Manilow
It was Summer of ‘78—not the actual era, but the 1996 album of AM-radio covers—that acquainted me with the voice of Barry Manilow, one of my mom’s favorite musicians. It’s not the best introduction to the man, and when this cassette would be played on car trips, my brother and I would mime death by boredom from the backseat. Six years later, Ultimate Manilow, a single-disc anthology of Manilow’s original works, peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, selling more than two million copies. And I began to think maybe there was more to this guy than it seemed; sure, his stuff could often veer into musical theater territory, but his best songs (ones written by him or with others) were often melodic and deeply romantic without being excessively campy. “Weekend in New England” remains my favorite of the bunch, the song I can’t wait for Manilow to perform in June, when my mother and I will see him in concert for our third time together. – Mike Duquette

“Morning Has Broken” – Cat Stevens
When I was little, my mom would sing this to me to wake me up on sunny mornings, particularly in the spring. I used to love the imagery of dew on grass. I had not thought about this song in years. – Madie Coe

“The Baby” – Blake Shelton
Mr. Miranda Lambert is now best known as the congenial lush of The Voice, but he once was the breakout country star of the early aughts, a long-haired, blue-eyed hottie with a heart of gold. “The Baby” was his second single to top the country charts, and it’s not hard to see why: it’s a tender, heartbreaking ode to a beloved mother, and Shelton’s vocals deliver the necessary sincerity to a song that could have been a cheeser in the wrong hands. – Haley Winters

“Sweet Baby James” – James Taylor
My mom wasn’t wild about the name Dylan at first. My father named me after his second-biggest hero, Bob Dylan (because he already had a cousin named Bruce, and let’s face it, Dylan is a cooler name), but Mom’s never been much of a Bob fan, so she was sort of nonplussed. Mom much prefered my middle name, James. It’s not like she would call me that; it’s just a name she liked better, at least until “Dylan” went from being a label to an identity for her child. On top of that, there isn’t a wealth of songs that use the name Dylan, so when looking for a personalized tune to sing to lil’ baby Dyl, she didn’t have much of a choice but to make use of my much more common middle name. So, James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” became my official lullabye.

I, uh, I don’t really like James Taylor. I like “Fire and Rain,” sure, and “You’ve Got a Friend” is a great song but I’d rather hear it sung by songwriter Carole King any day of the week. And I’ll level with you: I don’t super love “Sweet Baby James,” either. I have a bias against songs about cowboys, or that use the word “dowgies.” But I do love my mother a whole lot, and this song always reminds me of her, so if it comes on the radio, I’ll almost always listen to it through anyway. Some part of my deep, half-forgotten memory tells me to relax, and James Taylor’s bland, flavorless vocals get replaced with my mother’s more expressive, more familiar voice. – Dylan Roth

“Look What You’ve Done” – Drake
Before Drake called his mom on “You & The 6” talking about stabbing people with daggers and turning down blind dates and shit, he dedicated the first verse on this heart-melting ballad to Mama Graham. Over a Static Major sample and some plaintive piano work, Aubrey captures a more complicated image of mother-son relations than Kanye ever did. In a way, it’s sweeter for all the bitterness, more raw for the contrast between how things were and how they end up. It’s also the unofficial theme song for the end of Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four run. – Dominic Griffin

“Right Round” – Flo Rida, Ke$ha
Why does this song remind me of my mother? I caught her singing this in the car my sophomore year of college.
Me: You realize this song is about blowjobs right?
Mom: And strippers, yes, I know.
My teen years were full of horrifying winks from my mom due to song lyrics. – Madie Coe

“Your Mama” – Kennedy
“Nobody loves you like your mama loves you. But who’s loving your mama? I am. I am.” Drop the mic; we out. – Haley Winters

“Dear Mama” – 2Pac
My relationship with my mother has often been a bit contentious. Although our relationship was certainly not nearly as bad as 2Pac’s was with his mom (or the 2Pac in this song, anyway), “seventeen years old kicked out on the streets,” things between us could get pretty heated. But I always knew no matter how mad we got at each other, there was still love there—I think this song does a great job representing that dynamic, especially in the refrain: “you are appreciated.” – Julian Ames

“All I Have to Do Is Dream” – The Everly Brothers
This is my mom’s favorite song. It’s great, you should listen to it. I don’t really have much else to say about it, this is just a nice excuse to get you all to hear it. MWAH. – Dylan Roth

“Hey Mama” – Kanye West
As a teenager, I spent a lot of car rides with my mother playing Late Registration very loudly, but to this day, I still have difficulty listening to “Hey Mama.” Obviously, it’s a great song. Inarguably, one of Ye’s best. It just sets off entirely too much emotion in me, from the moment it’s played. After the blinding opulence of “We Major” and the third skippable skit on West’s second LP, I rarely find myself making it more than thirty or forty seconds into this saccharine ode to Donda West without turning it off and contacting my own mom. Yeah, the song is about Kanye’s mom and all the things he’s going to do for her when he’s famous, but it’s also about all of our moms, and why we want to be the best we can be, to try, in vain, to make up for all the years. Failing that, you can just call your mom and play this, and she will definitely smile. – Dominic Griffin

That’s Deadshirt’s hand-picked Mother’s Day playlist – now, you tell us what songs remind you of Mom. Comment below or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter! And don’t forget, Mother’s Day 2015 is on May 10th!

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