Mother’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate strong women in your life. Mothers, grandma’s, foster carers, aunties, two mother families, step – mothers, transwomen and any women who are important to you. For me, Mother’s Day is for my mum, my late grandma, my friend Gare’s mother Felicity who passed away and all of my amazing aunties. So, after you give her a great cigar and a whiskey, throw on this mix of strong women and tell her how great she is. Here are some amazing tracks for some amazing women:
Dolly Parton: Travelin’ Thru
When asked about this track, Dolly said she wanted to let people know it is alright to be who you are and live your truth. Travelin’ Thru is about finding yourself and living your life in a way that is the most true to who you are. As a woman of faith, Dolly shows how one is meant to love others for their inherent value as a person and religion is not something to use as an excuse for hate. This track is for all the strong transwomen out there this Mother’s Day.
As a mother, Beyoncé thought about how her new role in life would impact her sexual / powerful musical image. Well, she came out with her Beyoncé record to show us that mothers can continue to be sexual and the boss. This is an incredible record and Partition encapsulates Beyoncé’s unparalleled sexual energy and incredible musical presence. Her vocal performance is so powerful, sensual and mesmerising you can feel the heat.
Erykah Badu: Didn’t Cha Know
Sometimes mom just needs to listen to a strong woman and vibe out. Nothing vibes more than Erykah Badu’s groundbreaking record Mama’s Gun. Her mix of jazz, hip hop and Afro percussion is intoxicating. She effortlessly glides over complex bass and percussion in a psychedelic trip somewhere between Mother Earth and a Chicago jazz club at 2am. I love this track and mom deserves to wind down with an Earthy track…and if she likes a little weed….a perfect track to enjoy that particular Mother’s Day gift.
Lizzo: Better in Color
We spoke about amazing aunties earlier and Lizzo is that auntie who lets you drink when you’re 15, but everyone loves having her at the BBQ. She has an edge that is undeniable, but she also has charisma off the chart and you can’t help but be on her side. Her straight forward lyrics have a raw power that hard to match in pop or hip hop. Her mix of sexuality, strength, agency and lyrical talent makes for an incredible record.
Patsy Cline: A Church, A Courtroom, Then Goodbye
I’m gonna keep it all the way real…sometimes on Mother’s Day mom needs a cigarette and a glass of gin. In those cases, Patsy Cline is the music for her. Patsy’s strength is taking all the blues of heartbreak and regret and putting it within a traditional country structure. Moreover, her vocal pulls everything together and makes you want to cry along with her. She has the right amount of blues mixed in with a country twang and a strong powerful delivery, which is difficult to find in country artists of her time. That is why Patsy Cline is iconic and…sorry Dolly…one of the best female country vocalists ever.
Joan Jett: Bad Reputation
Maybe mom doesn’t want a cigarette and a gin…maybe she wants a cigarette, a dirty whiskey and tons of black leather. If so, Joan Jett is the perfect Mother’s Day gift with her punk style and “couldn’t give a fuck” attitude. Even though Bad Reputation has been played to death in movies and commercials since its release in 1981, it still has this raw punk energy that makes Joan Jett’s early work so impactful. I adore this track and can listen to it on repeat for hours.
Courtney Barnett: I’m not Your Mother, I’m not Your Bitch
Barnett’s 1 minute 53 second feminist flamethrower is for the mom who has enough of the patriarchy and men’s shit. The track itself is like a hose of napalm spraying uncontrollably like some cobra on LSD. I love this track’s surgical takedown of patriarchal tropes and stereotypes of women as solely carers or sexual objects. I have seen this track live twice and each time I thought Barnett would turn the stage into ash.
Ani DiFanco: Not a Pretty Girl
Maybe your mom wants to take this opportunity to march for women’s rights, reproductive rights or equality. I love a good march, so I can connect with that. Well, Ani DiFranco is the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Ani sings about feminist themes of agency and oppression by male power structures, while also touching on themes of sexuality. She is truely an intersectional folk singer who often uses music to call people to action. Her music is as important now as it was when it was released in 1995.
Barkaa: King Brown
Barkaa’s record Blak Matriarchy takes issues of race head on and the impact of racist and sexist policies in Australia have had on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. She sings about genocide, white male power structures and the need to band together to bring those power structures down. She sings about strong Blak women and how she is not going to stand for a cycle of racist and violence towards women. Racism and violence towards women are important issues to continue raising in larger society and Mother’s Day is a perfect time to reflect on what we can do to combat these social ills.
Little Simz: Woman
Maybe your mom fights for racial justice and is ultra hip….well, Little Simz is for her. Simz was London born to Nigerian parents, which influences her songs about race, ethnicity and gender. Woman is all about celebrating women and supporting each other in the face of patriarchal / racial barriers in society. These themes glide over some 90s east coast, Tribe Called Quest / Roots inspired jazz hip hop beats seamlessly. This is an amazing track and I am excited to see what else she puts out.
The Chicks: Juliana Calm Down
Men are shit. That’s right, shit. Well, do we have the record for you this Mother’s Day, The Chicks’ Gaslighter. Probably the best record encapsulating the impact of violence agains women and the emotional / spiritual / social toll it takes on the women men abuse. The track Juliana Calm Down gives voice to the millions of women who are experiencing domestic violence and gives them hope that they are strong and can make it through the other side. This was my record of the year in 2020 and I believe it is one of the most socially important records since To Pimp a Butterfly.
Taylor Swift and HAIM: No Body No Crime
You knew Taylor Swift would make this list. Every mom deserves a good drink…whiskey, wine or gin…and a nice murder ballad. Dolly Parton pioneered the murder ballad from the woman’s side and Swift ramps Parton’s ballad to 11 with a blow by blow account of murdering a lying and cheating man. I love how Swift spins the stereotype of women as homemakers / cleaners into the perfect skill set for murder. Moreover, she does not blame the “other woman” in this song for what happened, but places the blame firmly on the man. Too often songs about cheating men devolve into demonising the “other woman” as opposed to keeping the man accountable for what he did. This song is why I want Swift to do an entire murder ballad record.