Whether you're missing a parent who's far away or no longer around, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude, or celebrating as a mom yourself for the first time, Mother's Day can bring up a lot of emotion — and these artists get it. In honor of our second pandemic Mother's Day, we've curated a genre-defying playlist of songs in honor of all the reasons to celebrate this weekend.
Because Mother's Day is about moms, but it's also about stepmoms, chosen family, and parental figures of all kinds. It's about gratitude and home, and sometimes, reckoning with the less-than-great parts of being someone's child. Here, you'll find a song for every relationship, and every type of Mother's Day celebration.
There are a few classics, like Carole King's Gilmore Girls theme and The Shirelles' "Mama Said." There's Beyoncé's tribute to her mom and tribute to her daughter, and Taylor Swift's earnest, heartfelt "The Best Day" (Taylor's version, naturally). And we also had to include the Mamma Mia! cover of "Slipping Through My Fingers," which has recently gotten a new life as the official song for TikTokers sharing their most heart-wrenching family moments.
But you'll also find some lesser-known rap, hip-hop, indie pop, and alternative odes to mothers and motherhood, like Sufjan Stevens' song about learning to love his stepmother, 21 Savage's "letter 2 my momma," and an emotional Mitski track about the anxiety and fear that comes with growing up and into your own. As for what all of these songs have in common, though, Aminé summed it up nicely in a 2020 interview. "Writing songs like 'Mama' was really hard for me. Not because it was hard to put that type of story on paper, but it was hard for me because I really wanted it to be good," he told critic and YouTuber Anthony Fantano. "If you're gonna make a song about your mom, that shit has to be undeniably good."
When most people think of love songs, they think about romantic relationships, but these songs prove that some of the best music about love — and heartbreak — are really about family.