Peter Blegvad wrote this song two decades into a music career that included stints in the bands Henry Cow and Slapp Happy. He told us the story of "Daughter":
As everyone knows, a parent's love for their child is partly narcissism. My daughter, Kaye, was 3 when I wrote the song - long enough for me to have recognized this fact in myself and seen it manifested in the behavior of other parents. It's natural, maybe even a crucial element, but the narcissism has to be watched, obviously. (Think of Dr. Evil and Mini-Me in Austin Powers
). The comedy of all that amused me, and I didn't think anyone had treated that in a song before. I was vaguely thinking of Stevie Wonder singing "Isn't She Lovely
" and Frank Sinatra singing "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)
" and I wanted to write something that would express that kind of love honestly but also hint at the complexities which come with that role and responsibility.
The chord sequence is uplifting, but "Daughter" is maybe more sardonic than I think some people realize. It's about unconditional commitment to the task of raising a child, but it's also about the vanity and narcissism of the parent.