Song of the Day #3,381: ‘Three Kids No Husband’ – Brandy Clark

Time to get deep on Day 19 of the 30 Day Music Challenge, as we are asked to offer up ‘A Song That Makes You Think About Life.’

I had a hard time coming up with a choice for this challenge off the top of my head. So I started going through the artists in my YouTube library alphabetically hoping something would hit me.

I made it to only the B’s before that happened.

Brandy Clark is a phenomenal songwriter and performer whose two albums are just perfect in their simplicity and emotional impact. As soon as I scrolled to her name, I knew I’d have to go with the song ‘Three Kids No Husband’ from her sophomore record, Big Day in a Small Town.

This song makes me think about life because it describes one so unlike my own. Every time I bemoan my existence because the sound occasionally drops out on a DVR recording of an HBO show, I’d be well served to think about the woman in this song.

Clark does a masterful job of drawing this character through small details. Can’t you picture her smoking by the loading dock and trying “not to pick the polish off her nails?”

Clark says the final lines calling the woman “a real life hero” are always met with a standing ovation in concert. Consider this Song of the Day selection me getting to my feet.

She’s got three kids – no husband
And she’s two weeks late on last month’s rent
She’s waiting on the child support
And he keeps swearing that it’s coming
But if she knows him she knows where it went
And that pile of bills ain’t pay themselves

It’s been a 40 hour week and it’s only Tuesday
And there’s homework and dinner to make
Somebody wants a lullaby, somebody wants a different channel
Somebody’s dealing with their first heartbreak
And the dishes in the sink ain’t gonna wash themselves

She lights a cigarette out on the balcony
When she gets a couple minutes to herself
There’s how you plan it out and how it turns out to be
And a broken home, it ain’t no fairytale

She’s got three kids – no husband
And hair net job at a diner on Main
She knows damn well she don’t make the best cup of coffee
But she’s quick with a smile and good with names
Those lunch tickets ain’t gonna tip themselves

She smokes a cigarette out by the loading dock
And tries not to pick the polish off her nails
She thinks about a guy who’s been coming in a lot
She starts to dream, and then she stops herself

She’s got three kids – no husband
So she’s a mom and dad and a taxi driver
When the baby’s sick she’s an up all nighter
A hand, a shoulder and a referee
A real life hero if you ask me
Cause those kids ain’t gonna raise themselves

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,381: ‘Three Kids No Husband’ – Brandy Clark

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I’m going to go with the first song to pop into my mind when I saw the category, which is The Beatles “In My Life.” I have long maintained that this is my favorite Beatles song, though there are a few others that could vie for that distinction.

    As I grow older, the lyrics become even more poignant. It’s amazing to me that Lennon penned this song in his twenties as it seems like a sentiment one would express far older. Clearly, Lennon was wise beyond his years and, unfortunately, he did not live long enough to truly inhabit the life he describes.

  2. Peg Clifton says:

    Wow Clay those lyrics are poignant. I will go with the first song that popped into my head–It Was A Very Good Year by Frank Sinatra. Funny I just played that album (September of my years) last night so it’s fresh in my mind.

  3. Rob says:

    This topic is a bit of a tough one. There are a few songs that make me think about life. Certainly “In My Life” by the Beatles fits that bill perfectly … but Dana wisely selected that already. I’ll go with a song that never fails to stop me in my tracks … “Cool Change” by the Little River Band. It reminds me to slow down, take a deep breath and count my blessings.

    As an aside, I was recently asked to perform at a dear friends “Celebration of Life” after she had passed away. The family asked for “Halelujah” as it was her favorite song, and asked that I choose an additional song that would fit the bill. I selected “In My Life”, and after my brother and I played it, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. That song connects with everyone. You are absolutely correct Dana, Lennon expressed feelings well beyond his years when he penned that song. It has always been one of my favorite all-time songs.

  4. Maddie says:

    I’ll throw it to Billy Joel for this one:

  5. Amy says:

    I, too, immediately thought of a Billy Joel song – “Vienna” – that always makes me think about life. That one asks for a very personal reflection on life, while the other song that occurred to me – John Lennon’s “Imagine” — asks for a more global perspective. Having just watched Jason Aldean’s take on Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” in the poignant cold open of last night’s SNL, I’m going to opt for the song that promises that “I’m not the only one…”

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