The Spice Girls thank their mothers for guiding them in the right direction in the gentle “Mama.”
Serene strings and a peppy acoustic guitar begin the single. Celebratory drums along with the strings and guitar accompany Emma Bunton. A record scratch cues Bunton to start singing.
She didn’t get along with her mother when she was younger. She believed her mom was holding her back. When she snuck out of the house or lied about where she was going, her mom found out. She rebelled and broke her parents’ rules everyday. She apologizes for being out of control as a teenager. She since has become close with her mom, which she thought wouldn’t ever happen. (“She used to be my only enemy and never let me free/Catching me in places that I know I shouldn’t be/Every other day I crossed the line/I didn’t mean to be so bad/
I never thought you would/become the friend I never had.”)
Mel B, Mel C, Victoria Beckham, and Geri Haliwell join in for the chorus. They didn’t know then that their mothers were only protecting them . As adults, they are grateful for the rules. They tell their mothers they love them. (“Back then I didn’t know why/why you were misunderstood/So now I see through your eyes/all that you did was love/Mama I love you, Mama I care/Mama I love you, Mama I care/Mama I love you, Mama my friend/My friend.”)
Mel B has the second verse. She admits her mom was correct about certain things. She was a reckless. Without her mother, she wouldn’t have learned her actions have consequences. (“I didn’t want to hear it then but/I’m not ashamed to say it now/Every little thing you said and did was right for me/I had a lot of time to think about/about the way I used to be/Never had a sense of my responsibility.”)
After the chorus is sung twice, a choir “oohhs” and sings “mama.” Then, the chorus is sung again with the choir.
The sweet “Mama” addresses the difficult relationships mothers and daughters have as teenagers. However, it also seems the two reconnecting and becoming friends after much heartache. The only major flaw is the addition of the choir at the end. It’s only there to provide depth and flesh out the vocals. The choir, in its short cameo, shows up the Spice Girls with the strong vocals, giving the single some much needed punch.