Papa Was a Rolling Stone – The Temptations: Papa was a rolling stone; wherever he laid his hat was his home. Really? Come on, Papa – pick a house and live there. Doesn’t matter how many families you’ve got. I guess it’s a moot point, seeing as how the next line is, and when he died all he left us was alone. I wonder who got his hat.
Papa Don’t Preach – Madonna: I’m in trouble deep. Wow…sounds to me like Papa should have preached a little more, and a whole lot earlier. Maybe this mess could have been avoided, though MTV would have a real hole to fill if their 16 and Pregnant went missing. I’m pretty sure we could all live with that.
Father Figure – George Michael: Put your tiny hand in mine… Okay – so maybe at first this one comes off as a sincere attempt to mentor the next generation. You probably even sing along with most of it in the beginning. But once GM’s breathy vocals and seedy delivery reach the anything you have in mind part, the creep-fest begins in earnest. And then you roll the whole song over in your head again, and suddenly you need a shower and a decade’s worth of deprogramming. Thanks a lot, Mr. Wham. Expect a bill from my therapist.
Oh Daddy - Fleetwood Mac: You know you make me cry… What the hell, Daddy? Poor Christine McVie…she never really says what he’s done to cause this, but Chrissie seems pretty mellow most times (at least she has when I’ve hung out with her…which has never happened) so it was probably something pretty bad. Although this sounds like one of those “’Daddy’ doesn’t mean ‘dad’” kind of songs, so maybe crying is just part of the deal.
Papa Loved Mama – Garth Brooks: Don’t let the title of this one fool you. when Garth sings, Papa was a trucker, mama loved men…mama’s in the graveyard, papa’s in the pen, you understand that the Brooks family isn’t going to be filming their own version of A Very Brady Christmas anytime soon. Ernest Goes Up the River, though? Maybe.
Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast – Wayne Newton: I know…I can hardly believe I put this one on here, either. But it had “daddy” in the title, and it’s obviously about a jerk who won’t walk at his child’s stride. Dude: kids have small feet and short legs. Let them set the pace. I know he was leaving the family (pretty noble), and I’m sure there’s a metaphor there about kids being the voice of wisdom, but honestly, I’m so pissed at Mr. Newton for making his kid do double-steps to keep up that I don’t feel like philosophizing it anymore. I feel like moving on myself. So I am.
Oh Father- Madonna: Oh father, I have sinned… If it were anyone but Madonna, you’d think this to be a genuine confession. But the woman has never had much luck where dads are concerned (see above) and I think this one is about how not well he treated her. She’s either telling him not to preach or confessing to him like he’s a priest. Somewhere in the universe, Sigmund Freud is pumping his ghostly fist and wishing he would have lived another century or so, so he could have case-studied this troubled soul.