After seeing Jennifer Nettles unseemly upstage two contestants on her April appearance on American Idol, I lost a little respect for the Sugarland front woman, but this track is proof that even if Nettles is a little egotistical, at least she can back it up.
“Mother” isn’t the most exciting song I’ve ever heard or especially creative in any way, but it is extraordinarily refreshing to hear literally any song that’s not about romantic love, and it’s pretty well done. I myself have tried to write songs about my mother before, and they always just seem trite and schmaltzy. The country genre no doubt serves as a boon to validate the sentimentality of the song, but it’s also not overdone.
Nettles’ voice shines on the track, and Kristian Bush’s harmonies are subtle and effective, mimicking the soft but supportive embrace of a mother.
Oftentimes artists opine that if their music helps just one person, they’ve done their job, and Sugarland has definitely achieved that with this song. With lyrics like “when you fail her you’re afraid….she’ll make you clean it up yourself and offer you a little help…but she’ll look at you and know you can do better,” this not only serves as an anthem to motherhood, but also as a reminder that you are in charge of your own destiny, and you can either be your biggest cheerleader or biggest obstacle.
My favorite lyric, though, has to be: “there won’t be another place like her again that you call home.” This is just perfectly worded — even though it’s also really awkward to say — and so true. As a fairly new adult, I often find myself wondering why I never feel 100 percent safe in my own home and trying to figure out where the last place I felt safe was. Oh, right, when I was a little kid and I had my mom to protect me. Duh.
A truly meaningful song, “Mother” may have just finagled Nettles back into my good graces. Just don’t go back on Idol.