Album: Scissor Sisters
. . .
Here’s another band that had a song that I really loved, but until I started doing my patented Half-Assed Research for these posts, I had no idea of the extent of their career and popularity.
It turns out that Scissor Sisters was an American band that was much much bigger in the rest of the world than they were here. To the point where their biggest single, 2006’s “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” was a top 5 smash all around the world, topping the charts in a bunch of places, but it didn’t even chart here at all, though they did have a few big dance singles here.
And, of course, dance-pop isn’t exactly my jam, so the the only song of theirs I’m really familiar with was the irresistible “Take Your Mama,” which I probably came across on one of the early 2000s alternative TV shows I would tape in order to trawl for new music.
“Take Your Mama” starts with an acoustic guitar/piano duel that’s kind of a combination of George Michael’s “Faith” and “Freedom 90” while lead Sister Jake Shears tells us the true story about coming out to his mother, who doted on him.
When you grow up, livin’ like a good boy oughta
And your mama, takes a shine to her best son
Something different, all the girls they seem to like you
Cause you’re handsome, like to talk and a whole lot of fun
But now your girl’s gone a missin’
And your house has got an empty bed
The folks’ll wonder ’bout the wedding
They won’t listen to a word you said
And while Shears might be deflecting a bit by writing in the second person on the verses, it also kind of universalizes his experience, and definitely makes the chorus a great piece of advice: show your mother that being gay is awesome by immersing her in your life for an evening.
Gonna take your mama out all night
Yeah we’ll show her what it’s all about
We’ll get her jacked up on some cheap champagne
We’ll let the good times all roll out
And if the music ain’t good, well it’s just too bad
We’re gonna sing along no matter what
Because the dancers don’t mind at the New Orleans
If you tip ’em and they make a cut
Of course, what sells it for me is that the chorus goes full Elton John, cribbing from “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” and features guitars curling around the lyrics, as Shears thinks its such a good idea he’s absolutely insisting during the second half of the chorus.
Take your mama out all night
So she’ll have no doubt that we’re doing oh the best we can
We’re gonna do it
Take your mama out all night
You can stay up late ’cause baby you’re a full grown man
All in all it adds up to a song Elton John could have written about coming out in 1975, had he bothered to ask Bernie to write lyrics for him.
In any event, “Take Your Mama” was the third in a run of six straight top 20 singles in the U.K. for Scissor Sisters, but it didn’t do diddly in the U.S.
“Take Your Mama”
“Take Your Mama” Live at the Brit Awards, 2005
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