Let’s skip the pleasantries pertaining to my extended absence. Life threw me a screwball known as grad school, but I’m finished now. That means you get more of me and my thoughts and ramblings.
By now, we’ve all heard about, envied, and gotten tired of hearing about one, Blue Ivy Carter. She’s a month old today. Before I go on, let me congratulate Jay-Z and Beyonce for becoming parents. I really am happy for both of them. Shortly after the birth of the child, Jay-Z supposedly vowed to stop using the word “bitch” in his lyrics. That’s commendable (if it’s true). I suppose his mother, grandmother, and wife weren’t enough to stop him from referring to women as such before Little Girl Blue’s arrival. I digress. Jay-Z released a heart-warming song called “Glory”, inspired by his firstborn a few weeks ago. That got me thinking. What are the best songs from male artists about parenthood?
10. “Forever Young” – Rod Stewart
I had to get the overplayed song out of the way. I’m sure a lot of you didn’t know this is about a father talking to his child. Perhaps it was the theme of your prom or the name of your yearbook, but it’s actually really insightful when you look at it as a song full of well wishes for an offspring.
9. “Prayer for You” – Usher
Usher vows to be the best daddy he can for his son here. This is probably one of the weaker songs on this list lyrically, but the raw emotion behind it gives it a spot. I’m convinced Jigga got the idea to have his child making cute baby noises from Usher. Usher got it from Timbaland.
8. “Father to Son” – Phil Collins
I can’t think of another song that features a dad telling his son about the joy and pain from females. I just love the wisdom and advice it has in it. Collins warns his son that he’ll get hurt. He’ll come across some girls who aren’t right for him, but when he finds the right one, he will know. All the while, the former Genesis lead singer assures his son that he’ll be there for him.
7. “Mockingbird” – Eminem
I had to pick from “Mockingbird”, “Hailie’s Song”, “When I’m Gone”, and “97 Bonnie & Clyde”, but I think I got this one right. Em has so many tracks centered around his daughter, but “Mockingbird” seems to have the most emotional conviction behind it. It came out after a difficult time in his personal life, so it’s not the typical, sweet kind of love song, but that’s what makes it great to me. You have to go through some things as a man to create such a track. Through it all, he has his daughter, and that’s all he needs.
6. “Just the Two of Us” – Will Smith
Growing up, I didn’t appreciate this track like I do now. Growing up, I didn’t think this would be one of the last tracks of its kind that would become a mainstream hit. I want to thank Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers for inspiring this song, but the Fresh Prince perfectly frames the joys and blessings of fatherhood.
5. “My Father’s Eyes” – Eric Clapton
This very well could be the deepest song on the list. I was really close to putting “Tears in Heaven” here since it’s about the child that Clapton tragically lost in 1991, but it just didn’t feel right. This one, however, is also in memory of his son, but seems a bit more hopeful. Since Clapton never actually met his father, the closest he felt to his father was when he looked into his son’s eyes. This song just puts parenthood on a completely different level.
4. “Isn’t She Lovely?” – Stevie Wonder
My goodness. Talk about completion and perfection. Obviously, it’s about his daughter, Aisha, but the thing that makes this song a true classic is the fact that you can feel how overjoyed and proud Stevie is to be a dad. He thanks God, the mother of the child, and wraps it all in love. Absolutely beautiful.
3. “Cat’s in the Cradle” – Harry Chapin
I love this song because it shows the remorseful side of fatherhood. So many fathers regret not spending enough time with their children while they’re growing up. Overnight, it seems that boys grow into men. This is not the glamorous type of fatherhood track, but that’s why it has a place here. None of us are perfect.
2. “Simple Man” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
This one is just incredible. It’s so simple, yet so profound. Look past the fact that it’s technically through the eyes of Ronnie Van Zant’s mother. If you listen to it like a father guiding his son through life, it fits perfectly on this list. Don’t live life too fast, know that troubles pass, find a good woman, don’t forget about God, know that everything you need is in your soul, and follow your heart. Be a simple man.
1. “Little Girl’s Eyes” – Lenny Kravitz
I have no words for this masterpiece. I haven’t been blessed with any kids yet, but if and when I do, I will play this and sing it as a lullaby. As far as I’m concerned, no other song provides as good a glimpse into the soul of a man after the birth of his child quite like this ballad. Aside from the lyrics, the instrumentation captures the joy, pride, and love from having a child. Bless you, Lenny.
That’s my list. It was a lot more difficult than I imagined at first, but I believe I did the category justice. I tried my best not to let my genre biases interfere with the deeper meaning within each of these songs. Disagree with something? Did I leave something out? Any ideas for another countdown? Let me know. It’s good to be back, thREADERS.