Single Review: Garth Brooks, “Mom”

Garth Brooks Mom


Garth Brooks

Written by Don Sampson and Wynn Varble

Simply put, “Mom” is the best single that Garth Brooks has released since the first term of the Bill Clinton administration.

Got your head around that yet?  Good.   Now process this:  The best single Garth Brooks has released since the first term of the Bill Clinton administration is a Bonnie Tyler cover.

In a twist that could only happen in Nashville, Tyler heard the song at the Bluebird Cafe when she was looking for songs that harkened back to her pre-“Total Eclipse of the Heart” roots.   She found it first, and sang it decently well.

But in the capable hands of Garth Brooks, it’s an instant classic.   It’s actually a giant relief to hear him sing a song again that is big enough to capture his gargantuan heart and signature sentimentality.   “Mom” is all about a conversation between God and an unborn child that’s too scared to leave Heaven and go down to Earth.   God explains that there’s a woman waiting there who will make sure he’s never alone, and that she’ll start the work that’s needed to bring him back to Heaven when his life is through.

It is the most heartfelt and beautiful description of motherhood that I’ve ever heard captured in a song.  Maybe that’s because most motherhood songs have a tinge of regret and often grief, with childhood being over and the singer looking back on the mother that is only appreciated once her work is done.   This song looks forward to all that will come, instead.

I hope Garth Brooks and the songwriters get every award under the sun for this one, and that all those country fans who have come along since “The Dance” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes” were long in the history books will understand what all that fuss over Garth Brooks was about.

Grade: A




  1. THIS is what I was waiting for when I heard that Garth Brooks was coming back. This song and his performance of it are simply beautiful. I still haven’t been able to hear it without getting tears in my eyes. “People Loving People” was saccharine sweet, and it wasn’t nearly what I was expecting his first single to be like. This, however, is his true return to form.

  2. I’ll admit that when I first heard him sing this song on Good Morning America, I was kind of horrified. He was emotional and it sounded quite terrible to me. But when I heard the actual recording of it, I was sold! He says that this is possibly his favorite song after the Dance and I’ve even heard him say that it might rival “The Dance.”

  3. …i kinda miss the fluffy puppy, the home with the white picket fence, the brand new suburban in the driveway with dad putting a “new born son and future hero on board” bumper sticker on and john travolta as babysitter in those lyrics.

    this song elevates brad paisley’s “a lot like me” way beyond that comet with that little fridge on it, which landed more like an albatross than an eagle.

  4. Yes, it’s classic Garth, praise the Lord, etc. But no. No. Just … No. If “People Loving People” is saccharine sweet, this one just drips with pure corn syrup.

  5. Leeann I hate to disagree with you but this is sentimental crap- Garth Brooks style. Yes he is back ladies and gentlemen. And as overwhelmed by his own talents and songs as he hopes we are. This kind of song is meant to bring a tear to the eyes of mothers to buy his record. But it is not about real motherhood, natural motherhood, but Garth Brooks’ ideal of motherhood. And like many of his ideas it all based on his limited, see – how- deeply- I – can – feel idea of singing. Brooks believes that he can tap into feelings and make them universal. But he always fails in that department because he is limited by his unauthentic demand that a song move the heart. When he is good- which in my opinion is rare- it is because his voice and the song denote a feeling that just begs off- a little- from being preachy. But this song is preachy from the first line. It is not the performance , it is the song, which is only made more creepy by his performance.

    I have never missed the Garth Brooks’ version of ” look at me ma”. He has such a great voice that is wasted by the misguided desire to please. If he took a cue from his wife, he would pick better songs where his emotion and the story of the song would connect it to the listeners. But this song is all about pleasing someone. Willie, Merle, Waylon, Dolly, Tammy- they never tried to please me or pander to me. Pity Garth Brooks’s retirement didn’t offer him a better life lesson then to pick this song.

  6. I would like “She’s Tired of Boys”, but I cant stand the growl thing that he keeps sprinkling in his songs on this album. I feel like it ruined a few of the songs for me, including that one.

  7. Garths comeback has been a big disappoint. Lets hope Nash Icons does a much better job with Rebas comeback than RCA did with Garth. Not that they really had any say in what he did, cause he thinks he knows everything.

  8. Leann,
    I did and it has the same effect on me. It’s not the production or the delivery or anything in the music, it’s the lyrics. I find the comparison with “The Dance” insulting, for pretty much the same reasons as the ones CraigR listed. “The Dance” derives its power from the juxtaposition* of happiness and heartbreak where the former transcends** the latter. This one just lays it on too thick and it’s not just that Garth is trying to – as CraigR said – please someone, it’s that he’s trying to please everybody. And unlike CraigR, I don’t mind preachy, but there’s good preachy and bad preachy. For the former, think MLK. For the latter, think every Catholic priest I’ve ever heard and boy, now that I think of it, that just hits the mark: this song, in its fake sincerity and desperate attempt at an emotional appeal, is like a Sunday sermon written by a Catholic priest barely out of the seminary and I ain’t sitting in the amen pew.

    *You can take a boy out of academia etc. etc.
    ** I will stop now.

  9. You know, I can certainly see why people wouldn’t like this song and I’m, frankly, surprised that I’m not one of them. But I guess the recording sounds sincere to me.

    As far as The Dance goes, I used to love it, but I’ve gotten bored by it and wouldn’t mind never hearing it again. There! I said it! I feel free!:)

  10. Finally got around to hearing this. I think Kevin once said about Billy Dean’s “Let Them Be Little” that it is so sweet that it will give you cavities. Same thing applies here. I feel like I need to brush my teeth, or perhaps my ears, after listening to this in order to prevent decay.

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