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Mother's Day Playlist: 15 Songs Dedicated to Mom
Written by YumCha! Editorial Team Tell a Friend
Mother's Day is almost here! We've curated a playlist of 15 K-pop, J-pop and C-pop songs to jam with your heroine while showing your love, gratitude and appreciation for her on this special day.
"Mama, you taught me kindness, care and love / Mama, you showed me hope, future, everything." AI sends thanks and smiles to all moms with the heartwarming Mama e! Released in 2013, the Japanese diva's self-written song is wonderfully comforting and uplifting while expressing love and gratitude to the toughest and kindest person in the world. AI's lyrics don't hold back on the words that matter the most as she joyously and wholeheartedly sings out "thank you" and "I love you." P.S. AI also wrote a song for "Dear Papa" in her 2022 album Dream.
The go-to Chinese pop song to express love and gratitude to mom, Beyond's classic "Really Love You" was released in 1989 in the legendary Hong Kong band's fourth album Beyond IV. This song needs no introduction for even the most casual listeners of Cantopop. Composed by Wong Ka Kui and written by Siu Mei, the inspiring rock song gives thanks for a mother's unwavering love and support that helps us persevere through the tough times. "It's your warm gaze that taught me to look forward with determination / Reminding me not to give up even when I fall / There's no way to explain how to repay your love / The vastness of love is infinite / Please allow me to say I really love you."
"To Mother," one of g.o.d's signature best hits, was the first-generation K-pop idol group's debut single from their 1999 album Chapter 1 produced by JYP. Performed in heartfelt vocals, the soulful, bluesy R&B tune looks back on a mother's devotion and love. "To Mother" tugs at heartstrings with its evocative lines about the trivial yet bittersweet memories we share with mom, as well as the things we took for granted, like in its most well-known verse – "I was so happy for having one jajangmyeon / But my mother didn't eat it for some reason / Mom said she hates jajangmyeon."
Featured in Girls' Generation's first mini-album Gee, Dear. Mom is a daughter's love letter to mom. The girls' angelic and sentimental voices promise to remember mother's words and wish to become a better person, even though they worry about letting go of her hand. The ballad touches hearts with its straightforward and affecting lyrics: "Wherever I go, I'll be a daughter to be proud of / I'll keep the wishes of my mother's love / As much as the endless love you've shown / I'll have a warm heart / I couldn't express it often because I was shy / Mom, I love you so much."
Who says songs dedicated to mom have to be all soft and sentimental? j-hope's solo track MAMA (from BTS's second full-length album WINGS) comes into the picture with a totally different vibe! Co-written by Primary and Pdogg, MAMA gives off a jazzy, old-school hip-hop vibe with a tinge of dreamy synth. In a funky and lighthearted tone, j-hope recalls the hard days and moments his mom went through in his younger days, and heartily asks her to trust him and lean on him now. MAMA may be quite a personal song to j-hope, but it also puts a child's gratitude into words in a fun and laid-back way that doesn't feel cheesy.
Words to live by: "Listen to Mom." Jay Chou shares his own recollections and realizations in this soothing and moving song off his 2006 Still Fantasy album. The song's opening line "Kid, do you have a lot of question marks?" has become a popular meme, but it's the lyrics that follow that kids should listen to. Written and composed by the Mandopop king in his quintessential blend of rap, R&B and ballad with a touch of lullaby, "Listen to Mom" is an ode to the mom who made him study when he wanted to play. Why listen to mom? When you grow up, you'll begin to understand that everything was for your sake. So remember: "Listen to mom, don't let her get hurt."
"You make me cry, make me smile, make me feel that love is true." Most Cantopop listeners would find this catchy line very familiar. Joey Yung's award-winning single "The World's Only," one of Hong Kong's most memorable advertising jingles of the 2000s, was featured in the singer's 2004 album Nin9 2 5ive. Written by Wyman Wong and composed by Punk Chan, "The World's Only" is a sweet ballad that celebrates mothers – their selflessness and sacrifices – and the sentiments sound all the sweeter in Joey's ethereal and tender voice.
Kariyushi58's representative 2006 song is a heartfelt and thankful letter to Anma, which means mom in Okinawa. A warm blend of Okinawan folk, reggae and rock sounds, Anma jauntily recounts a life story from birth on a summer afternoon, to a childhood memory of crying over not having a toy, to the many inconsiderate and rebellious follies of youth. Through it all, Anma selflessly loves and accepts, forgiving rash words that break a mother's heart and staying up in wait for the prodigal son to return late at night. The story comes full circle at the song's end with the arrival of a daughter named after Anma's favorite flower.
In 2022, MIRROR's Keung To made his silver-screen debut in the Hong Kong box office hit Mama's Affair, a musical family drama centering around a working mom's mid-life crisis and mother-son bond. He lent his voice to the film's theme song "Rain or Shine." Penned by Alan Wong, Janet Yung and lyricist Chan Wing Him, the poignant Cantopop ballad expresses gratitude towards mothers who are always there for us, rain or shine: "Trapped in the dark, you're a sight to behold / Maybe we'll have to deal with regret and pain / Let love be a blessing / Learn to wait, rain or shine / It's like the sunrise, rain or shine."
"Oh rewind, a time that felt like a short breeze / In your time, you held me in your arms like a steady flower pot / Look here, there's only happiness left / Put everything down and hold this hand / I'll make you walk only on the flower road." Former I.O.I and gugudan member Kim Se Jeong delivers a heartwarming letter to every mother in her first solo single "Flower Way." Inspired by Se Jeong's emotional letter to her mother, Zico recreated it into sentimental notes and poetic lyrics in this K-pop ballad tailor-made for the singer. We may feel regretful for what we've made mom endure and give up in the past, but what's more important is to promise better days ahead for our beloved hero.
"Look at your feet, this is your path / Look ahead, that is your future." Released in 1998 as Japanese pop duo Kiroro's second single, Mirai e is a beautiful ballad about the path of life, and the mother who has held our hand and brought us down this path with love and care. Tamashiro Chiharu's crystal clear vocals against the simple stirring melody highlight the moving lyrics that gently recall life's uncertainties and a mother's tenderness that accompanies us as we walk towards the future. Let's walk slowly.
Kobukuro's gentle and emotional Tsubomi was written by Obuchi Kentaro in memory of his mother. Tugging achingly at the heart, the elegiac song recalls the warmth of love alongside spring imagery of clear May skies and flower buds ready to bloom again. Tsubomi was the theme song of the 2007 Fuji TV drama Tokyo Tower: Mom and Me, and Sometimes Dad based on Lily Franky's autobiography, which also inspired a blockbuster film. Out of Kobukuro's many soul-stirring hits, Tsubomi ranks as the Japanese folk rock duo's highest-selling single and their only song to win Grand Prix at the Japan Record Awards.
Mayday's songs have a way of sneaking up on you and hitting you right in the feels. At first this playful pop rock number from the Taiwan band's 2011 album Second Round seems like an ode to the washing machine. Unlike other appliances like the TV, coffee machine or fridge, the humble washer doesn't ever get attention or praise, but it keeps on doing its job without complaint over the years while weathering the elements on the balcony. Though the symbolism is apparent, Ashin's touching lyrics reveal the significance like a well-told story: "One day I suddenly wanted to help put laundry in the washing machine. That's when I discovered it's already broken... Since a long time ago, my clothes have all been washed by mom."
In 2015, veteran singer Yang Hee Eun collaborated with elementary school student Kim Kyu Ri for the single "Mother to Daughter" from the The Unexpected Meeting project. The two singers emotionally illustrate a mother and daughter's point of views in their relationship. Yang Hee Eun's verse shows a mom wanting to hold her little girl tight and wishing the best for her daughter. Kim Kyu Ri's verse expresses a teen's coming-of-age struggles and how she is unable to open up her heart easily. Soul-stirring and genuine, "Mother to Daughter" allows the listener to understand and connect more to a mother's heart through the storytelling of two emotive and pure voices.
Yui's 16th single to Mother off her 2010 album Holidays in the Sun album feels like an honest heart-to-heart talk with mom. The Japanese singer-songwriter, still in her early 20s at the time, set aside her usual guitar for a warm and bright piano-led number that shares familiar moments and sentiments between mother and daughter. to Mother ends gently with the casual yet meaningful "Hey, I'm happy, probably because you're here." Years later after becoming a parent herself, Yui actually wrote another song about a mother's love, Ubugoe, this time from the perspective of a mom.
Published May 12, 2023
Kim Se Jeong - Flower Way
Yang Hee Eun - Mother to Daughter
Published May 12, 2023