| Reviewer: TonyMonterey
I always thought the words were an afterthought to the drums and the laugh. I thought he was singing about someone that is leaving him against his will and he was begging them to stay and telling them they would be sorry... then they leave anyway.
"Ha ha Ha.." (go ahead and leave me) "Oh!" (They left!)
But I got slammed in college for saying i thought Maya Angelou poems made absolutely no sense and stunk. So what do I know.
i at first it was about abortion, but i now think is a tormented soul that is running from the pain of loosing his mother and finds solace in drugs and a prostitute. because he cant have her or his mother he goes insane.
I 1st heard this song at a mate's place and it was in the wee early hours of the morning...just hanging and listening to good music...& it did provoke my 'analysis' in my mind about what the song 'really meant' or was 'really about'...I personally prefer the 1983 Genesis "Three into One" Wavelength 3-LP vinyl radio show interview evidence of PC in his own words stating what the song is about.
However, overall, I agree with Reviewer OJ who writes "It is what you need it to be"...which is exactly why I chose the radio interview 'evidence' - it's what I 'want' or need the song to be about, for me...and anyone else's opinion is their business...I think there are no serious laws or rules being broken by individual interpretation and don't understand why each reviewer above INSISTS on being "RIGHT" - man life's too short to quibble...& in essence, I agree with Anon 3/31/08 - The song is excellent for late nights;) Leave it alone.
The song like all songs can be what ever you want it to be. It is written about the young man and the older woman... but in many ways why is the older woman so important to him - is his "lover" a replacement for his mother, perhaps the mother he lost. Sorrow and Joy are intertwinable. Tears for his lost mother and joy of the woman who has replaced her. Mama could easily also be a drug. Drugs tease, drugs please, drugs make you you cry and leave you wanting always to reach the high again.
Generally speaking the song is about loss or more apropriatly something that cant be obtained. The boy may want his dead mother back. The boy may want more than sex with the prostitute. the boy may want peace from the drugs. Perhaps he seeks all three.
A second reveiw a few years later | Reviewer: Brett | 3/20/11
Songs are filled with what you bring to them.
This one is supposed to be... I don't know. Exciting. For me it is tragic. "You taunt you tease"...My own mother commited suicide. Thats how that seems to fit.
Although it also has another meaning for me now too. I had a bad fight with my girlfreind. Now my eyes are burning.
I give these details just to show that many songs are more about the listener than the artist.
Mr Collins said ..... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/9/09
The song's theme involves a young man's longing for a particular prostitute. The song is remembered by many fans for Phil Collins' sinister laugh. On the DVD The Genesis Songbook, the band and producer Hugh Padgham revealed that the inspiration for the laugh came from rap music pioneer Grandmaster Flash's song "The Message".
From 1983 Genesis "Three into One" Wavelength 3-LP vinyl radio show interview:
"Our manager, when he first heard it, thought it was about abortion, the kind of feeling of the, you know, the fetus, if you like, saying to the Mother 'Please give me a chance, can't you feel my heart, don't take away my last chance', all those lyrics are in the song but in fact what it is, is just about a young teenager that's got a mother fixation with a prostitute that he's just happened to have met in passing and he has such a strong feeling for her and doesn't understand why she isn't interested in him. It's a bit like Niven in 'The Moon's A Balloon', I don't know if you've read that book, he's very young, just come out of cadet college or whatever, and he meets this quite, you know, 45 year old prostitute who he has a fantastic time with. He's special to her but it definitely can't go any further than what it is and that's really what the song is about, with sinister overtones." - Phil Collins.
the best song!!!! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/3/09
people have a bad sterotypical view of teens im a teen and i love this song and that wicked laugh is brilliant its the best song in the world it truley is a master piece argh one bad thing im hooked ;)bad thing no its good lol
read them again | Reviewer: Alocke | 8/8/08
"But I can hardly wait
oh To touch and to feel you, mama
Oh, I just can't keep away": he's feeling her up, mmmm and can't keep away.
"So get down, down here beside me.": hardly open for interpretation. It's not "lie down" as a mother would do...
"But it's getting so hard, ooh": Are you really still wondering what the "it" stands for? You must be too young to know about the facts of life. It continues into:
"My eyes, they're burning, mama
And I can feel my body shake
Don't stop! Don't stop me, mama": And I think Mr Collins had made a pretty correct description of an orgasm if you ask me.
Thank you Anonymous for sharing the fact that Collins apologized for the lyrics. He has reason to :-)
By the way, I like the song even more now I know how racy it really is!
Reading too much into it... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/31/08
The song does not even vaguely sound as if it recants any type of tragedy because it doesn't. I have never heard Phil Collins claim that it did. I saw Genesis several times back during the '80s and to witness Mr. Collins singing this song is to see someone recalling a very sensual moment. While you may have lost your mother or had an abortion and hearing this song brings out those emotions, it does not mean that you identify with this song because it is about abortion/death...you are stretching and giving new meaning to something that does not need your interpretation. The song is excellent for late nights;) Leave it alone.
If it's not about a whore... | Reviewer: Anonymous (2) | 1/26/08
Then why did Phil Collins apologizes for the “dirty song”?
At the Genesis concert in October 2007, this is what Phil said about the song in a joking manner after sing it; “ I would like to apologizes for the last song. Absolutely disgusting! Disgusting filth. Smut. Very rude lyrics. I do apologize to all the young members in the audience.” After that he goes on to talk about “young virgins” and goes into the song "Ripples". To me, it just confirmed that the song is about a prostitute. In the lyrics, it talks about how "He can’t keep her but she’s always there”. And what about the “Taunt and Tease”? I really can’t see this being about an abortion or a thirteen year old losing their mother. The lyrics just don’t seem to mean that. To me at least.
Its not about a whore | Reviewer: brett | 11/30/07
It not about a whore but a boy who lost their mother at theirteen and is cracking at the seams from the pain. You can disbelive me like evryone else but you havent felt the pain, not like I have.When you crack at the seams you disapear-like I refuse to do.
I can identify | Reviewer: Brett | 11/30/07
Anyone who thinks that this song is about a whore obviously never lost there mother at thirteen years old this is a song about someone who's mother died and is cracking at the seams from the pain. I geuss I can understand if you dont belive me cause I wonder about my own sanity but then evrybody does.
the official meaning concerning this song is about a teenager obsessioned by a whore.
I don't think that's the best genesis song:
not as much as firth of fifth,musical box,home by the sea or cinema show.anyway it's a great song : its birth was casual,based on a drum machine pattern by mike rutherford and some reharsal in their studio. the sardonic laughter by phil just came out before the rest of lyrics.
its about a prostitute | Reviewer: Ziggy | 7/22/07
Its fairly well accepted to be about a young guys relationship with an older woman prostitute. It was thought to be about abortion by some, but its not. Its never been officially stated that it has anything to do with abortion, its just one of those urban myths.
Mama... | Reviewer: Amelly Jones | 6/29/07
There are no other Genesis songs as "Mama" is... It's the best song ever in their discography... I love Genesis when the vocalist was Peter Gabriel, but I think Phill was better composer... I love mama...