CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Brendan Briggs

Brendan is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. In 2022, he released his first album "Dive" under the name "Arctotherium".

“The Mother We Share” is a very metaphorical description of dealing with painful things from the past. The lyrics focus on how people can cultivate hope by gaining a broader perspective and leaving negativity behind. In addition, this song manages to touch on how our hard experiences shape us as individuals.

This track was written in the very early days of Chvrches as a collaborative effort. According to the band, a lot of production and reworking went into the song before they were satisfied. However, eventually, there was an “aha” moment in the studio, and the track fell into place. It may not have been an all-at-once inspiration, but it certainly got the job done.

In this article, we’ll perform an analysis of these unusual lyrics to decipher their hidden meaning. We’ll also take a look at the songwriting story and the human themes that make this track accessible to anyone. Without further ado, let’s get started!

“The Mother We Share” Lyrics Meaning

The lyrics begin by addressing an unknown individual. The narrator says she’s never “cursed” their name or taken their side – she’s been neutral. When this person is around, the narrator keeps her thoughts to herself and her “lips shut tight.”

However, the narrator believes that the relationship between the two must end soon. They’ve “come as far” as they’re “ever gonna get.” When the other person realizes they “should go,” the pair will be free to grow individually.

Next, the chorus continues addressing this unknown person. In it, the narrator facetiously requests, “Come in misery, where you can seem as old as your omens.” Basically, the narrator is poking fun at their downtrodden mentality. This is because it is being used as a crutch to seem more mature.

The following lines are where the song gets confusing. The narrator says, “The mother we share will never keep your proud head from falling.” As a result of this line, many interpreters understandably believe that the song is about two siblings from a troubled home. In reality, Chvrches have denied this interpretation in multiple places. While Chvrches do intentionally keep their lyrics “open-ended” to avoid being “prescriptive,” the odds are that a less literal interpretation is what they had in mind.

So what is this less literal interpretation? In my opinion, the key is in the last line of the chorus. The narrator states that the pair’s shared mother won’t keep “our cold heart from calling.” “Heart” is singular, not plural. To put it plainly, I think she’s talking to another aspect of herself.

In this interpretation, the narrator is the main part of the self. The person she’s speaking to is the negative, suffering-fixated part of herself, and the “mother” they share is the narrator’s past, troubling experiences. These experiences figuratively gave birth to the positive and negative parts of the narrator because they shaped her identity.

This is why, in verse two, the narrator says she would “always be free” if she “told the truth.” Just like the narrator promises to “cover” her other aspect, all people often cover up their pain. This is untruthful, and speaking the truth is what frees us from trauma.

The last new section of lyrics is the bridge, which seals the deal for me. The narrator sees that her negative aspect still knows the usual escape routes (“where we could go”), but is no longer satisfied with them. When this transformation takes place, the negative side puts their “head in my [the narrator’s] hands” as a “souvenir.” In other words, the narrator keeps her negative side’s head.

So, in summary, “The Mother We Share” is a symbolic account of the process of getting over past difficulties by liberating yourself from negativity and untruthfulness. The message of hope, I think, contributes a lot to the song and raises its potential for more popularity.

The Story Behind “The Mother We Share”

This song is the debut single from the debut album of Chvrches, so they really had to put their best foot forward. Accordingly, the band has described the songwriting process as full of reworking, editing, and experimenting. As any musician knows, you can quickly paralyze yourself by overdoing this phase of creativity.

Luckily, there was an “aha” moment in the studio when it all came together. After hard work and consideration, the vision started to become a reality. Funnily enough, this parallels the song’s theme of not getting stuck in loops (pun intended) of the past.

Evidently, the fanbase appreciated the result. “The Mother We Share” charted on the Top 40 of the UK singles chart and made a serious splash for Chvrches. The critical reception was also exceptional, and the song has continued to generate a wealth of interpretations from listeners. All in all, it can only be considered a success.

The next time you play this catchy tune, let these pieces of background information bring it to life!