My mother and I are on pretty opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of music. My mom spends most of her music listening absentmindedly humming along to Top 40 radio stations. Outside of that, she doesn't get much enjoyment out of music, and I think that is a damned shame. Think of all the good songs you've heard over the years, songs that have come to define a time in your life, songs that make you think, songs that you roll the windows down and blast on the first true day of summer; my mom hasn't heard any of those songs that you just thought of. So yesterday, I trapped my mother in her car for a total of 3 hours on our way to the godless shithole that is Long Island, and I tried to introduce her to some new music. Honestly, the whole experience was like pulling teeth. Patrick, turn it down. There were too many curses. She couldn't focus on the music while driving. Patrick, turn it down. Too weird. Patrick, turn it down. It started raining buckets while in bumper to bumper traffic on the GW Bridge. Patrick, I don't care about your stupid website, turn it down. All of those things happened. But I gleaned a couple of things from the whole affair, and I have recorded my observations for you below. Obviously not all mothers are the same, but honestly, they can't be that different. So maybe some of this will be useful for you as well. Read on, if you dare.
I really gained two pieces of useful information from the whole car ride. My mom hates loud music. She also has an extremely liberal definition of "loud." Also, my mom's favorite band used to be Meatloaf. With that taken care of, here's a list of the songs that passed the rigorous test of my mother's acceptance*.
For your convenience, we have compiled this list into an 8tracks playlist, available at the bottom of the page.
*Disclaimer, she may have just told me she liked these songs just to shut me up, but I tried to gauge her actual reactions and base the list on that.
Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
She was actually yelling at my brother while this song was playing, so I didn't really get her opinion, but I think it's safe to assume she would like it. I mean, really, who doesn't like this song?
Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men
This is a great song for my mother because it combines her penchant for pop sensibility, while also being a damn good song. Does everyone know it already? Of course. But my mom didn't, and I'm writing this for her, and for all mothers, and mothers aren't exactly hip to the new bands coming from Iceland.
The Most Logical Thing by Silent Old Mtns
This one's had just enough catchiness to perk up her ears, and I think she genuinely enjoyed it. She's got this weird thing about not really telling me if she liked a song, so I had to guess a little with this one, but I caught her humming along by the end, so I'm chalking it up in the win column.
Snow (Hey Oh) by Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Oh I like this one, turn it up." Literally the fact that my mom told me to turn it up warrants this song's inclusion on the list. It's a classic song, and moms love it too.
Janglin by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
It seems like this brand of tv commercial, indie pop is the genre that you've got to find for mothers. Simple enough for her to hum along to, but still a great song. Win-win.
Umbrella by Rihanna (Feat. Jay-Z)
My first attempt was actually "Run This Town" by the same tandem, which she liked at first, but was turned off when Jay dropped an "F" bomb pretty early on. So if your mom's as proper as mine, show her the clean version.
One Day by Matisyahu
She liked this one alot. Nice vocals, wholesome message, Jewish white guy singing reggae. What's not to like?
Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright
Of course she liked this one. I knew she would as soon as I pressed play. Once I got her approval, I moved on to the next song, and she yelled at me to put this one back on. That may have been the first time my mother's ever said that to me about a song, so I'll have to put this one on the playlist too.
Pretty Girl From Michigan by The Avett Brothers
I don't want to get into the fact that there are literally zero pretty girls in the entire mitten state, but it's still a pretty great song. Probably my favorite Avett Bros. song too, so good taste mama.
Viva La Vida by Coldplay
Everybody's favorite. You could play this song in just about any social situation and it would be well-received. It was the tune I chose to relieve the tensions in the car as my family threatened to tear down the entire operation by fighting about my monopolizing of the music choice. Always a crowd favorite.
Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Meatloaf
I don't really know what to think about Meatloaf being my mom's favorite band. It's better than One Direction, that's for sure. If you could have seen my mom and the rest of my family singing along with this one, you would get it, if you don't already. Something about this song is just fantastic. Whatever, I included it because my mom's probably gonna read this and want to see this song on any list I put up here. Love ya mom.
Never Let Me Go by Florence + The Machine
Strong, female vocals are always a winner it seems. Especially when so perfectly crafted as in this song. If your mom doesn't like this song, all hope might be lost in terms of getting her to like good music.
Hey Mama by Kanye West
I tried to explain 'Ye to my mom, but she just didn't get it. This song just isn't the same if you don't understand everything that Kanye has come to represent. So, my mom actually didn't like this song at all. But what mother's day playlist is complete without this song?
So that's it. This list is far from comprehensive; like any good son, I forgot about Mother's Day until yesterday, so I hastily compiled this list. It's definitely got some glaring omissions. Let me know if you've got any indie/good songs that you were able to get your mom on board with. Take her someplace nice today, but make sure you control the radio in the car on the way there. Happy Mother's Day!