“Lifeforms”- What does UK band Daughter’s song say about the pain of abortion?


“Daughter” is an indie folk group from London, England. The band is made up of lead singer Elena Tonra, drummer Remi Aguilella and guitarist Igor Haefeli.  Their debut album “If You Leave” was released in March 2013 through 4AD‘s record label. The album found success in the UK and went to #16 on the top charts. The UK Online magazine Outline published an interview with Daughter’s lead singer Elena. The interviewer, Alex Throssell summed up Daughter’s music as “haunting, ethereal, and achingly beautiful. Throsell also said their music manages to appeal to both incredible happiness and deep sadness.

Listeners and fan’s find Daughter’s music relateable. Elena sings about relationships and the problems that affect us all. Perhaps that’s why Daughter chose to address an issue countless women can relate to. The song Lifeforms is about unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

In a review from the Guardian, Malcolm Jack describes Lifeforms as a “savage musing on unplanned pregnancy, abortion and abandonment that grimly concludes: “Clean up the dirt you leave behind.”

Scenewave’s positive review of the album said,” The lyrics of each song cut to the bone; Elena isn’t afraid to sing about love, loss, hurt and even abortion in “Lifeforms”.

GIGWISE’s Flora Neighbour said in her review , “The track ‘Lifeforms’ draws the album darker with Elena contemplating an unexpected pregnancy, abortion and the ultimate sense of abandonment, via the lyrics ‘you’ll always find another womb to grow’ and ‘find the children lost at sea’ – you would have to be robotic not to feel affected by this compilation of hardened tales of loss.”

I find Neighbour’s review most telling. “You’d have to be robotic not to feel affected by this compilation of hardened tales of loss.” That resonates with me because I know abortion is ultimately a great tale of loss. The loss of a child, the heartache of a mother, the lack of protection from a father. Sometimes abortion even leads to the loss of a relationship, as a partner may leave the other after the decision has been made. Even when a couple stays together their may be a sense of loss between them which could lead to disconnection and division. A man once told me his wife’s choice to get an abortion against his will cost them their marriage. He shared, “after she killed our child, the love in my heart died as well.”

There are million of stories in our world from people who’ve experienced abortion. When these stories are told through music, drama, dance and other forms of art they cut straight to our hearts.  It doesn’t matter if this story is Elena’s own, or one she created for the song. Notice the reviewers aren’t arguing about the right to chose abortion or not. Rather they’ve been brought into the pain of the song. The same listeners who may not believe abortion truly hurt’s women, will through the lyrics of a tragic song empathize and agree with the pain abortion brings. That’s the transcending power of  music to move the soul.

Music allows us to enter into the world of another and feel their emotions as if they were our own.This is why it’s a powerful tool for social change, especially when it come’s to justice movements. Many argued for slavery and against civil rights for Black American’s, but no doubt those same people found it hard to drown out the inspiring songs declaring, “We shall Overcome” and “Amazing Grace”. Those songs birthed from pain brought forth victory because they didn’t just debate an issue, they showed the humanity of the people affected by those issues. A Negro mother’s spiritual song was a window into her world of pain. Daughter’s song Lifelines gives us that same invitation, to see life through the window of a woman affected by abortion.

These are the lyrics I found most compelling:

Well you can try to sink down deeply
And find the children lost at sea
Find the children who discretely
Be killed in infancy

To stop them holding you and screaming
That you’ll lose your wildest dreaming
Still reminding me what I feel

I welcome you to read the lyrics, listen to the song and share your thoughts.

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