Wednesday, 11 September 2013

My Top Ten Songs About Becoming A Parent

They had the radio on in the operating theatre. On Monday evening, as our new baby son was delivered into this world, this is the song I was listening to...
Show me the wonder
I have seen the purpose of the universe
 If I'd written that into a story, it would have seemed too good to be true.

Obviously, I have no time right now for compiling Top Tens. So here's one I compiled earlier, to prepare us for our new arrival...

I always swore I'd never become a Dad-Blogger, and I won't, but I hope you'll indulge me these next few Top Tens. Your regularly scheduled dose of cynicism will return very soon. Until then...

10. Colin Meloy - Wonder

Lead Decemberist Meloy ponders all the bits and bobs that going into creating a new life...
My darling, what wonder have we wrought here?
It's weird and it's wonderful, dear

An ankle, an earlobe, an elbow bone
It's weird how it wonderful grows
And it was only me and you
That made this three come out of two
9. Creed - With Arms Wide Open

What if Colin Farrell played Eddie Vedder?
Well, I don't know if I'm ready
To be the man I have to be
I'll take a breath, I'll take her by my side
We stand in awe, we've created life 
I don't know a whole lot about Creed, but you can't google-search "Songs About Becoming A Parent" without some wise-ass suggesting this. And rightly so.
If I had just one wish
Only one demand
I hope he's not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world
With arms wide open...
8. Lou Reed - Beginning of a Great Adventure
It might be fun to have a kid that I could kick around
A little me to fill up with my thoughts
A little me or he or she to fill up with my dreams

A way of saying life is not a loss

It might be fun to have a kid I could pass something on to
Something better than rage, pain, anger and hurt
See, Lou, this is why nobody invites you to parties anymore.

7. Embrace - Three Is A Magic Number
A man and a woman had a little baby
Yes they did
They had three in the family
And that's a magic number
Originally written by Bob Dorough for an American kid's TV show, though the most famous version / adaptation is by De La Soul. Embrace covered the original though, keeping the multiplication tables... but also focusing on the lyric above. And now I understand it.

6. Billy Bragg - Brickbat

Billy will return on another list with a top song about his own father... but this one's more about how becoming a dad had a profound effect on his philosophy...
I used to want to plant bombs at the Last Night of the Proms
But now you’ll find me with the baby, in the bathroom,
With that big shell, listening for the sound of the sea,
The baby and me
5. Will Smith - Just The Two Of Us
From the hospital that first night
Took a hour just to get the car seat in right
People driving all fast, got me kinda upset
Got you home safe, placed you in your bassinette
That night I don't think one wink I slept
As I slipped out my bed, to your crib I crept
Touched your head gently, felt my heart melt
Cause I knew I loved you more than life itself (life itself)
Then to my knees, and I begged the Lord please
Let me be a good daddy, all he needs
Love, knowledge, discipline too
I pledge my life to you
I'm sorry, there's something in my eye.

4. Paul Simon - That Was Your Mother

Paul Simon's written more emotional songs about being a parent, but I kind of like the cheek of this one. Because it's possible to feel like both Will Smith and Paul Simon at the same time...
Well, that was your mother
And that was your father
Before you was born dude
When life was great
You are the burden of my generation
I sure do love you
But let's get that straight
3. Kate Bush - This Woman's Work

Because, after seeing what Louise has been through over this last week (and before): men have it easy.
Pray God you can cope.
I stand outside this woman's work,
This woman's world.
Ooh, it's hard on the man,
Now his part is over.
Now starts the craft of the father.
2. David Bowie - Kooks

I always liked this song, but I never really got it till recently. Written for Duncan Jones, the director of the excellent films Moon and Source Code, a long time ago... by his dad.
And if you ever have to go to school
Remember how they messed up this old fool
Don't pick fights with the bullies or the cads
'Cause I'm not much cop at punching
Other people's dads
And if the homework brings you down
Then we'll throw it on the fire
And take the car downtown
1. Brad Paisley - Officially Alive

It's no secret that I had some resistance to the idea of becoming a parent. As a younger man, it was a path I never saw myself taking. Even when Louise and I got together, it was something I struggled with. I've never been what you'd call kid friendly... so I just kept praying it'd be true what people say: "It's different when they're your own."
It’s not the double kick of an ultrasound
Or a piece of paper on file downtown
It takes more than a beat and a breath and a name
It’s when you’re so in love and so in pain
I wasn't ready for the emotions I'd feel during the pregnancy. The way it changed me. In the weeks leading up to the birth of our son, I listened to the new Brad Paisley album, Wheelhouse, a lot. And whenever this song came on... I couldn't help myself...blubbing like a baby.
Yeah, it’s a tragedy to go through history and simply just exist
You’re gonna realize how quick it flies by and everything you missed
And suddenly you’re standing there in scrubs
Love has found new flesh and blood
It’s a feeling you weren’t ready for
When you’re looking in eyes that look like yours

Parents! (I know there's a fair few reading this blog.) Which song most expresses the biggest change in your life?


  1. Congratulations to you both. A song to match my emotions of being a parent is a really difficult ask but I think there's a major rock ballad out there to hit the intensity of feeling but to be quite honest it is probably 'half way up the stairs' that really matched how I felt in those first few weeks and I sang it to her a lot too. Sending heaps of love and hopes for a few snatched hours of sleep xxx

  2. Congratulations Rol, and welcome to the club. You think you're blubbing now? Wait til you next see the arm-twist videos on Children In Need, you'll be reaching for the phone through blurry eyes.

    Am guessing the Billy song still to come in another Top 10 is Tank Park Salute...

    As for a track to add to your 10, well it's a commercially engineered rip-off of a Beach House track, recorded specifically for a VW ad by a pseudo-band called Sniffy Dog. It's called I'll Watch Over You and you can watch it here:

    One more thing - maybe it's because I read it immediately after the birth, maybe it's because we had a boy, but The Road by Cormac McCarthy has a powerful subtext about what being a father means that really hit home with me.

    1. I found The Road devastating the first time I read it - definitely couldn't read it again now!

  3. Another Kate Bush track comes to mind, not about child birth itself but certainly about the joy of having a child - Bertie. And to paraphrase I wish you and Louise joy. And then more joy.

    1. Bertie was definitely another option - cheers, Steve.

  4. Congratulations (again)! As you now I'm all about quiet sophistication, so I will add and

    Watch and enjoy....even if (as ever) I'm off beat

    1. Don't worry, there's a Top Ten Daddy Songs on its way soon... although I may have found ten cooler songs to fill it.

  5. Congratulations on your new family addition Rol! Sending all my happiest thoughts and best wishes that you all receive as much rest as possible. :)

  6. I hope you dance (Leeane Womack) for my girls everytime!

  7. oh....and if you really think you can read "Love you forever" without tearing up I bet you can't! :-) Its a lovely story and has a great story behind it being written. Congrats Rol and Louise.

    1. Cheers, Sag - though I don't need any help tearing up at the moment!

  8. Congrats, Rol. I'm in the 'kind of maybe one day' column (proclivities aside), but regardless, a one of a kind day. Cheers

    1. Thanks, Craig. As someone who previously said "never" to the very idea, I'm definitely a convert!

  9. Hi Rol, congratulations, great news. I hope everyone is healthy, happy and I hope you are getting some sleep. It will get easier (although mind you, I hated it (still do) when people say that to me)

    In answer to your question, how about "Help" by the Beatles!!! no, only joking.

    The one for me is "A Little Ray of Sunshine" by Axiom, which is an absolute classic - only problem is that its about a daughter and I have two boys so it doesn't really work, but its brilliant nonetheless, and the sentiment certainly applies.

    So maybe Beautiful Boy by John Lennon (if you forget its about Sean)

    I also love Kooks, and love that line that you have highlighted about not being being no good at fighting other peoples Dad's - that sums me up right there!

    And re Creed - really? I will give you the benefit of the doubt because you are probably sleep deprived.

    congrats again...hope you can still find time to keep the lists coming, although I dare say they are suddenly far less important in your life!


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