Finding a vinyl sleeked with dust from a particular time in your life that’s since passed can feel a little odd to listen to. Perhaps as soon as its needle hits the turntable, there’s a re-emergence of feelings. Those sticky memories flood in with its black and white shadings until they spurt with colors that still feel familiar. On the flip side, it just doesn’t hold any state of relatability anymore. You’re left questioning why it meant so much then when now you don’t align with its true message. So you’re stuck between phases, the past, and the present.
It’s very well what listening to Meghan Trainor’s ‘Mother’ feels like, a feminist anthem that plays on the internet slang term ‘mom,’ which is basically when someone slays really hard. It only feels that way due to its sampling of The Chordettes’ ‘Mr. Sandman.’ The song’s a 1954 (yes, that’s 68 years ago, Google told us so) hit that pours all of its yearnings into not just wanting a relationship but like you need one to make you feel whole.
Contrastingly, the voice of God in the ‘Mother’ music video opens with “the fact that Meghan Trainor is literally mother right now” due to her being pregnant. How major can it get than bringing life into this world? Maybe as major as the lyrical couplet, “You with your god complex / But you can’t even make life, bit*h!” Can you now see why it feels like cobwebs cover ‘Mr. Sandman’ compared to ‘Mother?’
Looking Back On The 50s
The thread between both periods and how we perceived the world then isn’t just present in the sampling. It’s in various other techniques. Through the help of the director and choreographer Charm La’Donna, Meghan implements this through color, romantic symbolism, and even Kris Jenner to showcase just how far we’ve come as a society, and in Women’s History Month no less, being that we’re in March. We wanted to dive into these things for a little debrief!
“I’m beyond excited to finally share ‘Mother’ with the world! This song is my response to being in the industry for almost a decade now and still finding myself in situations where I am talked down to or made to feel like my opinion isn’t valid. It’s for anyone who is in a situation where they feel like they are being mansplained to and want to take their power back.”
Black And White To Color
Ponder what a set of a 1950s music video could look like, and you very much have ‘Mother.’ The tall podiums for the dancers to stand on, giant feathers that are very Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and vast spaces of black where Meghan appears waist up in a spotlit circle surrounded by gloved hands.
The only difference is the color, something which is missing from an infamous taping of ‘Mr. Sandman’ back in 1958 for the Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show as colored live television in the United States didn’t become a thing until the mid-1960s! Instead, for Meghan’s, the sets light up with an emerald green and pink. Additionally, there’s an awesome shot at 2:11 where colorful stockings surround Meghan, her being in all black with specs of a disco ball silver.
Sometimes it’s in the simplicity where you can still hold symbolic meaning without actively having to over-explain it. Meghan does it so well here, giving you a flashback to that era but also planting the seed that if you looked over the details, the deliberate insert of color, in this case, you may, in fact, miss the tie-in.
While the romantic undertones to ‘Mr. Sandman,’ “Give him a lonely heart like Pagliacci / And lots of wavy hair like Liberace” are kinda poetic; Meghan’s turned that into a callout to self-love, the type that one needs to draw someone in for a healthy love rather than just pleading with an entity. At the 1:43 mark, Meghan, Kris, and the dancers use white bouquets as a prop. Flowers are often associated with being courted. Hence, the cultural impact of Miley Cyrus’ ‘Flowers’ also.
They don’t need anyone to gift them to them, they already have flowers, and in fact, they’re deciding to throw them away, hurling them out of the frame as the lyrics “Must’ve forgot who you’re talkin’ to” play. It’s so powerful because they’re saying that no matter the grand gestures, if there isn’t anything of substance behind them, they’re choosing themselves.
The Kris Jenner Of It All
Some of our favorite Kardashian-Jenner pairings are Kendall and a cucumber, Kim and ugly crying, and Kylie belting out the millennial lullaby ‘Rise and Shine.’ Now, Kris is once again the starring cameo in a music video, stemming from Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u next’ as the cool Mean Girl’s mom to channeling her glamorous inner vixen with ‘Mother.’
Although unexpected, as we didn’t predict these two combining forces, it makes sense for her to be here. After all, she’s built an entire empire while holding a family together. Something that’s now deemed a norm compared to being simply the housewife.
When was the last time you felt like ‘Mother’ should’ve been the background track to a moment when you were proud of yourself? Let us know through our Twitter @thehoneypop, and listen along to the track here. For more articles covering Women’s History Month, skim through our Facebook and Instagram!