My mother has some of the most manic taste in music of anyone I have ever met. It's an interesting melange of what she hears on the radio, musicals, and things that tickle her sense of sentimentality. She is somewhat reserved, hates having a spectacle made of her, and has little taste for things that are too sacharine-sweet or treacly. These qualities make it exceptionally charming and hilarious to see her "rock out," often hairbrush-microphone assisted. The trademark "Mom dance" comes out for the rump-shakers (one moms all over the world do- I think they teach it to you during a Lamaze session), complete with the "Walk Like an Egyptian" hand voguing, and butt shimmy, with puckered lips and squinty eyes.
It has been a Mother's Day tradition for me to make the "Mommy Mix," a mixtape / CD of songs she really loves and that make me think of her. I don't get to see her often, and whenever I hear them, it makes me feel close to her, despite our distance.
In no particular order, here are the ones that always do it:
1) "No One Like You" – The Scorpions: I will never understand this one. Ma is not a hesher. She wore the 80s corporate-mom padded suit jackets and those weird floppy little ties to work when this song came out, for Pete's sake! Every time it would come on the radio, she would crank it to 11 and belt it out like Klaus Mein himself. Mein Gott!
2) "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" – Starship: She liked to slow dance with my sisters and I to this song as kids. Again, because she's not prone to the overly sappy, this one is extra special to me. Her Grace Slick impression into a magic marker is phenomenal, but I'm partial…
3) "You Give Love a Bad Name" – Bon Jovi: That poor woman had to hear this song on repeat nearly every day of 1986. My sisters and I lip synched it for her in sunglasses on Mother's Day that year. When I think of Mother's Day, I always think of buttrockers from New Jersey, don't you? I think she likes this song. Maybe she just pretended to, like she pretended to choke down all those years of burned scrambled egg breakfasts.
4) "Blue" – Eiffel 65: This always results in the "Mom Dance." She really wanted this CD when it came out, and living in a small town, it was hard to find when the single dropped. I brought it back for her from a trip to San Francisco, and it was pretty much on a loop for the first week. I will never be a fan of this song, but I will always be a fan of her singing it.
5) "Climb Every Mountain" – Mother Superior, The Sound of Music: My mother LOVES this soundtrack. Several times a year, we would rent this video, and we would sing along like a tone-deaf Family Von Trapp. Ma loves herself a good motivational speaker (ala Norman Vincent Peale, Tony Robbins, Zig Ziggler), and, really, how can you go wrong with the lines "A dream that will need all the love you can give, every day of your life for as long as you live?" I won't lie, this song actually tears me up sometimes.
What are songs that make you think of your Mommy?