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Meaning of ‘Rockabye’ by ‘Clean Bandit’ feat. Sean Paul, Anne-Marie

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Released: 2018

Features: Sean Paul, Anne-Marie

‘Rockabye’ by Clean Bandit, featuring Sean Paul and Anne-Marie, isn’t just a catchy pop tune – it’s an anthem for single mothers worldwide, expressing the struggles, strength, and love that come with raising a child alone. Through an electrifying blend of catchy rhythms and empowering lyrics, the track celebrates these women who, despite hardship, strive relentlessly to provide a better life for their children.

The song kicks off with a powerful assertion – the relationship between a mother and her child is a special bond, a mom’s adoration. Clean Bandit and co. aren’t shy about acknowledging the ‘frustration’ faced by single mothers, making clear the song’s target audience and theme right from the get-go. When they mention ‘foundation’, they’re talking about the base, the root – a mom’s love is the foundation of all her efforts.

The lyrics then dive into a vivid narrative, painting a picture of a mother who ‘works at nights, by the water.’ These lines aren’t just about physical distance (‘gone astray, so far away’) – they underscore emotional distance, shedding light on the sacrifices made by mothers who must work far from home or under tough conditions to support their children.

Despite her hardships, the mother’s resolve is unwavering – she ‘tells him, “Ooh, love, no one’s ever gonna hurt you, love”.’ These comforting words underline the protective nature of a mother’s love. The phrase ‘ain’t gon’ be nothing like my life’ points to her determination that her child will have a better life than she did.

Moving towards the chorus, ‘rockabye’ is a term derived from ‘rock-a-bye baby’, a classic nursery rhyme that mothers often sing to soothe their children. Here, it represents a universal symbol of parental care and comfort. The repeated refrain ‘Rockabye, baby, don’t you cry / Somebody’s got you’ emphasizes the mother’s reassurance and comforting presence despite her own struggles.

Sean Paul’s section narrates the mother’s relentless resilience – ‘no, mama, you never shed tear’ and her determination – ‘any obstacle come, you’re well-prepared’. The phrase ‘find his school fee and the bus fare’ indicates the mother’s struggle to meet the basic needs and ensure her child’s education.

As we circle back to the chorus and the final verses, the song continues to echo the mother’s promise of safety and love, ending with a powerful image of upliftment and support – ‘Lift up your head, lift it up to the sky.’ It’s a call-to-action for single mothers everywhere to persevere and remain hopeful, reminding them they’re not alone in their journey.

By analyzing ‘Rockabye’, we uncover a profound narrative of strength, sacrifice, and unconditional love, cloaked in an addictive pop melody. It’s a hearty salute to single mothers, their resilience, and inextinguishable drive to create better lives for their children.

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