Album: Back To Basics
Christina Aguilera is grateful for her mom in the warmhearted “Oh Mother.”
In her early 20s, her mom envisioned having a family with several children and a loving husband. He would swoop in, gallant and romantic, providing her with all the love she needed. She would be proud to have him by her side. Then, she began dating a guy she cared for. When he proposed her, she immediately said yes. She couldn’t believe she found such a great guy. However, once she married him, he let his resentment towards her show. First, he punched a hole in the wall and then it was a bruise on her cheek. She couldn’t tell anyone – not her family or friends – for fear they would be ashamed of her. (“She was so young with such innocent eyes/She always dreamt of a fairytale life/And all the things your money can't buy/She thought daddy was a wonderful guy/Then suddenly, things seemed to change/It was the moment she took on his name/He took his anger out on her face/She kept all of her pain locked away.”)
In the chorus, she tells her mom she did the right thing. She did what she had to do. She will be there to help her if he decides to reenter their lives again. She won’t let it happen. (“Oh mother, we're stronger/From all of the tears you have shed/Oh mother, don't look back/Cause he'll never hurt us again/So mother, I thank you/For all you've done and still do/You got me, I got you/Together we always pull through/We always pull through/We always pull through/Oh mother, oh mother, oh mother.”)
She recalls a day that her then-husband screamed at her little girl. Her mom said that she tried to stop him but he shoved her onto the ground. On the floor, she watched as he hit her daughter. Her daughter’s tears still haunt her. Then, she decided she had to get herself and kids away from him. She was able to believe for the first time in years, that she was worthy of a healthy relationship. He had told her that she wouldn’t be able tofind someone else. She was an ugly woman and she was lucky to have him. He said if she even thought of leaving, he would kill her. She couldn’t make the excuses for him anymore. She would see the knives sitting on the counter, waiting for him to stab her one day, following through on his promise. She finally told her parents and over a course of a couple months, they were able get out of the house. (“It was the day that he turned on his kids/That she knew she just had to leave him/So many voices inside of her head/Saying over and over and over"You deserve much more than this."/She was so sick of believing the lies and trying to hide/Covering the cuts and bruises (cuts and bruises)/So tired of defending her life, she could have died/Fighting for the lives of her children.”)
An extended chorus is sung with adlibs. (“Oh mother, we're stronger/From all of the tears you have shed (all of the tears you have shed)/Oh mother, don't look back/Cause he'll never hurt us again (he'll never hurt us again)/So mother, I thank you (thank you)/For all that you've done and still do (still do)/You got me, I got you, (yeah you got me and I got you)/Together we always pull through./We always pull through/We always pull through/Oh mother, oh mother, oh mother.”)
In the bridge, during the entire marriage, her mom pushed through, thinking it would get better. She would smile and say she was happy. She celebrated their anniversaries with wine and special homemade dinners, believing it was normal. Sometimes, she can still hear his voice tell her she can’t do anything and that’s she useless. Aguilera knows those days well. She immediately runs over to her mom and holds her. She tells her mom she has her support. (“All of your life you have spent/Burying hurt and regret/But mama, he'll never touch us again/For everytime he tried to break you down/Just remember who's still around/It's over, and we're stronger/And we'll never have to go back again.”)
Another extended chorus with adlibs is sung. (“Oh mother, we're stronger/From all of the tears you have shed/Oh mother, don't look back (oh mother don't look back again)/Cause he'll never hurt us again (cause he'll never hurt us again)/So mother, I thank you (and I thank you for everything you've done)/For all that you've done and still do (together we always move on)/You got me, I got you, (you got me, I got you)/Together we always pull through (always pull through)/We always pull through/We always pull through.”)
At the end, she says she loves her mom. (“I love you mom.”)
Aguilera’s consoling vocals embrace her mother tight, telling her it’s okay. Her mother blames herself and has guilt for exposing her children to her ex-husband’s abuse. She has apologized to her multiple times. She tells her mom she was courageous. She’s her hero.
The personal “Oh Mother” is a touching tribute to a parent as well as an intimate point of view from the side effects of abuse.