Here’s some music for the end of the week, straight off the iPhone set to random shuffle:
- Daughters (John Mayer, Heavier Things)
- Custard Pie (Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti)
- Far East Medley (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Live Art)
- Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley, Elvis 30 #1 Hits)
- On Your Shore (Enya, Watermark)
- Treasure of the Broken Land (Mark Heard, High Noon)
- When It’s Good (Ben Harper, Diamonds on the Inside)
- You Send Me (Steve Miller Band, Fly Like an Eagle)
- When Love Comes Around (Alan Jackson, Drive)
- Big Things Too (Veggie Tales, Veggie Tunes 2)
I have to focus this time on the first one in the list, John Mayer’s “Daughters”. People have many different opinions about John Mayer, not all of them good, but I’m a big fan — and mainly because of this song. Mayer has a sort of reputation as a womanizer but his insights on girls and parenting in this song are totally on the mark.
I’m a dad with two young daughters myself, and having become a dad relatively late in life (we adopted our first when I was 33) the transition from freewheeling academic to family man hasn’t always been easy. I first heard this song on the radio one day coming home from work, after having a particularly difficult night and morning with my oldest (and at the time only) daughter, who was just 2 at the time, and feeling like being a dad was some sort of punishment for a sin I’d committed. Then I listened to this all the way through, and I was simply blown away. Something about the simple, sparse instrumentation — just acoustic guitar, light percussion and piano, and voice — highlights the sense of grace and vulnerability shared by the daughter in the lyrics and by young girls everywhere, including my own kids. When Mayer says to dads about their daughters, “You are the god and the weight of her world“, he speaks the truth. And that afternoon, I knew it, and I’ve never seen my daughters quite the same way since. That’s a good thing.