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Mother Mother reflects about their death and growth

After+going+viral+on+TikTok+during+the+pandemic%2C+the+Canadian+indie+rock+band+Mother+Mother+has+released+their+highly+anticipated+album+under+the+title+of+%E2%80%9CGrief+Chapter%E2%80%9D+on+Feb+16.
Courtesy of Warner Music Group
After going viral on TikTok during the pandemic, the Canadian indie rock band Mother Mother has released their highly anticipated album under the title of “Grief Chapter” on Feb 16.
4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Mother Mother released their new album “Grief Chapter” on Feb. 16, following their 2021 album, “Inside.” The album was highly anticipated after the band found a resurgence of fans on TikTok during the pandemic. Now that the newfound attention to the band has subsided, “Grief Chapter” finds a way to entertain audiences without it feeling forced. 

“Inside” addressed the inner turmoil one goes through in times of self-isolation perpetuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Grief Chapter,” much like the title suggests, tackles the feelings of self-loathing, love, questioning religion and thoughts of death. 

The album opens with “Nobody Escapes,” which at first is deceptively upbeat as lead vocalist Ryan Guldemond sings about the inevitability of death. The lyrics are simple and straightforward with, “Every one of you, get down in the hole / Nobody, nobody escapes.” The song ends with haunting vocals provided by Jasmin Parkin and Molly Guldemond repeating the word “nobody,” sounding eerily like the cries of ghouls before the song abruptly ends. 

“To My Heart” is a song that is reminiscent of “O My Heart,” a song from 2008’s Mother Mother album titled under the same name. “To My Heart” starts off by expressing a desire to go back in the past and heal all the self-loathing and self-inflicted pain. The parallels between “To My Heart” and “O My Heart” are interesting because the newer song sounds like a reflection of the latter. While “O My Heart” places the blame on Guldemond for not being able to love anyone successfully, “To My Heart” provides perspective and suggests that it’s necessary for him to reflect on the darkest moments of his life.

The album continues with “Explode!” a song that sounds exactly like the title suggests. The song opens with the melody of a guitar strumming and drums rhythmically playing in the background, mimicking the sound of a ticking time bomb. “Explode!” explores the idea of finally finding peace in death. Guldemond laments how fast his life moves, and despite taking Xanax, a drug to help calm anxiety, he is still as high-strung as before. The song ends with the guitar and drums foregoing the rhythm they had before and instead loudly playing with no restraints as Guldemond is joined by Parkin to sing, “I’ll just explode / I’ll hold on until there’s nothing left to hold,” resulting in a satisfying release to the tension the song was building up.

“To My Heart” does a good job of calling back to Mother Mother’s older albums but feeling distinctively different, because even though the themes are familiar, the sound is different. The album doesn’t feel like the band is pandering to the audience that revitalized their career, instead taking the aspects that made them popular, like their unique voices and sound, and fully committing to it. 

“Goddamn Staying Power” is a standout on the album, with Molly Guldemond acting as the lead vocalist for this song. Her vocals and the background sounds of kids playing offer a peaceful interlude and pause to Ryan Guldemond’s darker themes. In “Goddamn Staying Power,” there’s an understanding that even if these feelings aren’t talked about in-depth, they are constantly there with the lyric, “There’s never an end to the old grief chapter” suggesting that these feelings don’t go away and that there is a comfort in constantly being unhappy.

“The Matrix” is the ninth track on the album and it marks a shift in the album. The song transforms from the prior nihilistic themes and advocates for living freely because life is too short to worry about people’s opinions.

In “End of Me,” Ryan Guldemond wonders if his funeral would be a grand event filled with people or if he’d go out without a sound and no one caring. The song is constantly after your attention, it’s loud and has applause distributed throughout the song and it ends with someone shouting “Play Hayloft!” the song that became popular TikTok and started the revitalization of Mother Mother’s career. 

“Grief Chapter” is very different however, where “End of Me” was loud and almost like a cry for help, “Grief Chapter” is quiet and reflective. Ryan Guldemond now showing acceptance toward everything he’s been through and that while he still has these traumas, they are ultimately in the past and his situation is different now. 

“Grief Chapter” examines themes that were present in Mother Mother’s older albums, like self-hatred, low self-esteem, violence, but provides self-reflection and forgiveness. In many ways this album is a reflection of the burst of attention they received from the internet three years ago, with many songs addressing feelings of being put in a box and forced to do what you don’t want to. The album takes you on a journey of self-acceptance and manages to find a happy medium between what made their older works so exciting and a unique sound for their new music. 

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