Music "for parents"

We all have parents. Everyone of us have a father and a mother. We love them and they love us.

At times we spent with them most of our lives. At others, instead, the time with them was terribly short.

Often they have been our pillar, they protected and supported us against difficulties. On other occasions they have been the cause of our discomfort and we have been the source of their anxieties.

It is doubtless, anyway, that the relationship between one and his or her own parents is a special relationship, made of love, tensions, arguments, reconciliations and mutual assistance. A complex and irreplaceable relationship, which, when interrupted, seems always to have been too short.

But the time spent with our father is the best of times, like the song written by Mike Portnoy. Released in his last album along with Dream Theater, Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009), Best of Times was written by the drummer in memory his father, passed away during the making of the album, due to cancer.


«I didn’t want to focus on something dark and depressing, I didn’t want to focus on the last six months of his life before dying, I wanted to focus on our 41 years together before that.»


Dream Theater - The Best Of Times Lyrics

The piece begins with the soft ticking of a clock, accompanied by the keyboard of Jordan Rudess, joined by the violin of Jerry Goodman, called for the occasion, and the guitar of John Petrucci. After the instrumental intro, the electric shock overwhelm the atmosphere, in a crescendo that finds its outburst in the strong rhythm of the song.

James LaBrie’s voice sings the words of Portnoy, who remembers the best times spent with his father, the summers together, the hours in front of the tv, the record store, the chats on the phone.

The atmosphere becomes quieter in the final section, where Portnoy remembers the change of the last period and all the father’s advices, that he will bring with him for the rest of his life. He thanks his father for the inspiration, for the smiles and for the unconditional love that carried him for all the path covered, conscious that the spirit of his father will accompany him every day.

The final, moving guitar solo, slowly fades out.

A little treat:  the demo version of the song, sang by Mike Portnoy:


The best Of Times ( Mike Portnoy Vocal Demo)

Likewise, even if it is of a completely different genre, Momma Hold My Hand by Aloe Blacc, from the album Good Things (2010), is moving as well. Dedicated to his old mother, the song tells about the relationship between mother and son, facing an imaginary road to cross.


Aloe Blacc - Momma Hold My Hand

Aloe Blacc, accompanied by the piano, tells about the infancy and about the mother, always ready to help him and to give him her hand to find the way back home. He tells about the adolescence, with that desire to move away and to find his own path that sometimes lead up to push away even the dearest people. Then the adulthood, with all its challenges and trials, in which even an adult man needs the reliable support that only a mother can give. Finally, the overturning of roles, the old age that begins to make way. Now, it is no more the children that need help to cross the road, but the old mother, who can always rely on the son for help and assistance.