The divorce rate in the United States hovers around 50% and quite a lot of children are conceived out of wedlock. This means there are more homes than ever that have one or both biological parents missing. I personally was a kid who bounced around from family members, to friends, and back because of my lack of parental figures. Needless to say, I started gravitating towards music by and about people who shared similar struggles. For this week’s 3 Of The Week, I’ve decided to focus on songs about growing up with their father missing. I’ve hand-picked three songs across the past decade that aptly illustrate the struggle of trying to find yourself without the assistance of the man who gave you life.
1. “All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues” – Senses Fail
Senses Fail vocalist Buddy Nielsen has never been shy in talking about his dislike of his father and his outright anger for his abandonment. I could honestly fill multiple editions of this theme with Senses Fail songs, but I chose what I feel is one of the most painful. On the second to last full track on the band’s second full length Still Searching, Buddy exudes a pain that so fresh that it is a bit of a difficult listen. The track ends with Nielsen’s plan to end his family name forever by jumping off his apartment building and his visualization of what that moment will look like: “Falling down/as windows pass I start to cry and/curse the day my parents laid/in a bed of hopelessness where love was made/Please mark my grave ‘Unknown.'” The most troubling yet beautiful part of this song is that it’s not hard to visualize Buddy sitting on his New Jersey apartment roof writing down these words.
2. “Stumbling In Your Footsteps” – Get Scared
Post-hardcore upstarts Get Scared produced a masterful work with their debut album Everyone’s Out To Get Me. A track that instantly hit me upon first listen was the second to last track (noticing a trend with that here), “Stumbling In Your Footsteps.” Opening with a haunting piano tone before adding Nicholas Matthews’s pained but hushed vocals. The track eventually explodes into one of the most powerful choruses on the album. Lyrically, the song features lines that could be printed on a manuscript of what effect losing a parent has on someone emotionally. The line “Please come home again, let me show you we’re good enough for your love” is the most revealing for myself personally. There’s such a loss of self-worth when a parent chooses not to be a part of your life, and this song captures that loss and sadness perfectly.
3. “Father’s Day” – Ice Nine Kills
Ice Nine Kills has been slugging it out in the underground since 2006. In 2013, they signed to newly-formed Outerloop Records and released The Predator EP, a five-song glimpse into the bright future of INK. The album’s second track, “Father’s Day,” is an angry lash-out at a drunken father who broke apart a family. I relate to this in a overwhelming fashion as my father too is an alcoholic who has never been able to right his life for the sake of himself or his kids. Lead front throat Spencer Charnas spews some serious venom in the track with lines such as “A part of you is a monster/you’re not flesh and bone” and “Father you are the failure that I see/you are the monster inside me.” INK dwells more on the anger associated with having a parent walk away from you, which is an important part of the spectrum to experience and eventually try to let go of.