Like beauty, sappiness exists primarily in the eye of the beholder, a truism demonstrated perhaps most clearly in songs about being a parent.
To people without children, the subject has led to countless instances of emotional extravagance run amok. Yet to moms and dads, raising kids can seem so profound that it justifies — indeed, necessitates! — the kind of language those very moms and dads might otherwise be inclined to dismiss. (Pop & Hiss expects we might be in for some of that language soon from Kanye West, who as you may have read became a father early Saturday.)
In honor of Father's Day, then, here are three songs by dads, each of which risks sounding like an embarrassment among non-parents — and like a laser beam of truth to those with young ones.
John Lennon, "Beautiful Boy"
Lennon's ode to his and Yoko Ono's son Sean doubles down on the wide-eyed sentiment in its lyric with a touchy-feely, ersatz-calypso vibe.
Brad Paisley, "Anything Like Me"
The country star's written loads of deeply felt songs about parenthood, but this one gets at the mixture of joy and agony that only one's children can produce.
Will Smith, "Just the Two of Us"
A decade and a half before he starred in the ill-fated "After Earth" with his son Jaden, Smith duetted with his older son, Trey, in a rewrite of Bill Withers' early-'80s gem. This project worked out better.