Like a Motherless Child
by Moby

Album: Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Like a Motherless Child" was released as the lead single from Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt. The title of the album is a reference to Billy Pilgrim's epitaph in Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five. Moby explained to HMV.com:

    "When I was in high school I loved Kurt Vonnegut. I read, I believe, all of his books while I was in high school and college, and then just recently I had run out of things to read, so I started going back to some of my favourite books from my childhood and I re-read Slaughterhouse-Five. I came across that quote and there was just something about it, the sort of utopian simplicity of it really struck me."
  • Los Angeles-based singer Raquel Rodriguez performs the hook, which is paraphrased from the African-American spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child."
  • The song's moody black and white music video was directed by Rob Gordon Bralve, best known for the 2013 Stones Throw Records documentary Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, and the 2017 comedy-thriller movie Espionage Tonight. His other credits include the music clip for Jonti's "Sleeping and Falling." Moby told Billboard about the visual:

    "One of the things I love about music and music videos: you have an ability to create a sort of discreet world. When you listen to a record or a song or watch a video, you're stepping into someone's world. And that's sort of what I was trying to do with this video. And I worked with the cinematographer, he also worked with James Cameron. He's really good at what he does. And in a way, some of the other videos I've made, the videos themselves have been quite political.

    The song is quite personal and emotional, and maybe this is not a great thing, but I wanted this video to draw attention to that. The French concept of mise-en-scène, where what you see onscreen represents the emotional tenor of the music, I wanted it to do that somehow. So there are these outdoor shots that are so isolated, and that's really the theme of the song as well. I wish I had something smarter or more relevant to say, but that's all it."

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