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Waters:

Mother, do you think they’ll drop the Bomb?
Mother, do you think they’ll like this song?
Mother, do you think they’ll try to break my balls?
Mother, should I build a wall?
Mother, should I run for president?
Mother, should I trust the government?
Mother, will they put me in the firing line?
Is it just a waste of time?

Gilmour:
Hush now baby, baby don’t you cry
Mama’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true
Mama’s gonna put all of her fears into you
Mama’s gonna keep you right here under her wing
She won’t let you fly but she might let you sing
Mama will keep baby cozy and warm
Ooooh, babe 
Of course Mama’s gonna help build the wall

Waters:

Mother, do you think she’s good enough for me?
Mother, do you think she’s dangerous to me?
Mother, will she tear your little boy apart?
Mother, will she break my heart?

Gilmour:

Hush now baby, baby don’t you cry

Mama’s gonna check out all your girlfriends for you
Mama won’t let anyone dirty get through
Mama’s gonna wait up until you get in
Mama will always find out where you’ve been
Mamma’s gonna keep baby healthy and clean
Ooooh babe 
You’ll always be baby to me

Waters:
Mother, did it need to be so high?

 

The song verses use a simple folk structure. It begins with Roger Waters singing accompanied by a single acoustic guitar, with the following standard chord structure: I-IV-I-IV-V-IV-I. Gradually other instruments are added in a pyramid fashion.

The chorus uses a simular structure, but is sung by David Gilmour, whose softer, gentler timbre (compared with Waters) helps create the illusion of a young Pink and his mother interacting.

I’ve mentioned before that I see the story being told in retrospect by a highly unstable, unreliable narrator. Pink seems to externalize his problems, pointing fingers wherever he can. This childlike behavior is to be expected from an emotionally regressed character. In that light, while Pink shows his mother as stiflingly overprotective, we don’t really know what she was like. He portrays her as being unwilling to let him grow or mature (using the metaphor of birds- “she won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing.” Pink is emotionally dependent on her, wanting her to protect him from annihilation (“Mother, do you think they’ll drop the Bomb?”) and good old Freudian castration anxiety (“Mother, do you think they’ll try to break my balls?”) As Pink portrays her, she is only too willing to foster his dependency on her, which only adds to his inability to relate to others (i.e. another brick in the Wall).

The song ends with an aborted third verse, with one line showing young Pink still has ambivalence about his impending isolation: “Mother, did it need ti be so high?”

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