Mother Mother Hayloft II: Is revenge worth it?


Image courtesy of Mother Mother on Youtube

The thumbnail of the Hayloft II Official music video

In all of us, there is a fervent fire. A fire that runs deep and boils our blood. That fire: revenge. Although most do not act on it, there is always a need to fulfill that desire, whether through a snide remark or a complaint to a friend. However, revenge usually doesn’t get physical. But what would you do if someone hurt your lover? If someone killed your lover? What would you do if that someone was your own father? 

For the past 14 years, this has been the dilemma for the protagonist of Mother Mother’s hit song: Hayloft. The Mother Mother fan base never found out the young lovers’ fate. That anticipation drove the indie band to finally tell their story in Hayloft II. 

Mother Mother is an indie rock group from Canada that has been well-known in Canada since their debut. However, their unique sound didn’t reach an international audience until the launch of Tik Tok in 2018, where samples of their hit songs “Hayloft,” “Burning Pile,” and “Verbatim” started being used as background sounds for viral videos. Tik Tok gave them a new breath of life with over 457.7 thousand videos under the “Hayloft” sound. With the release of Hayloft II this year, their playlist followers went from 14 million as of January 28th to 25 million on February 23rd. 

In a short documentary posted to their Youtube channel in 2021, the band’s lead singer and lead guitarist spoke on the Hayloft phenomenon.

“Back in 2008, radios weren’t interested in putting Hayloft on the radio. Now fast-forward 14 years, and it’s our biggest song,” said Ryan Guldemond.

If you are unfamiliar with Hayloft, you are in for a trip. First premiering with their 2008 O My Heart Album, the song was a staple of the bands’ unique sound. A mix of folk and bass, twangy A-minors, and strong layering drew in fans immediately. The audience is welcomed by a fast pace and tense riff that foreshadows the panic and rapid heartbeat of the two lovers. The young lovers with their legs tied up in knots are discovered by the barn owner up in the Hayloft. With the song’s main lyrics being “my daddy’s got a gun,” the audience is left to believe that the protagonist is either an onlooker or one of the lovers. However, one thing is certain: Pops is not happy, and he’s more than ready to shoot. With the ending lyrics being a repetition of the song, the lovers’ fate is never disclosed, leaving the already on edge audience with endless questions. What happened to the lovers? Who was the protagonist, and what was her role? Whatever happened to Pops? Fourteen years later, these questions were finally addressed with the 2022 “Hayloft” music video release. 

The new video completely changes the initial intent of the song. When originally released, the song’s lyrics were meant to flow with the rhythm. Da da da da gu gu gu da da da da gu gu gu, no real story yet, just rhyme scheme. The lack of storyline can even be shown in their original music video. Although that video is a product of its time, it feels very….lackluster… to say the least. Featuring the band in cutouts moving from side to side, it vaguely reminds me of a middle school video presentation–colorful but flat. Even so, the unique layering of chaotic vocals paired with audio faintly reminds the listeners of a barn captivated audience (I know it did me). The revisited music video is much more intense. Red and black flash across the screen. You hear panicked huffing and puffing, paired with visuals of the protagonist running in a blood-stained shirt. The mood has shifted. This video proves an excellent setup for the much more intense Hayloft II. 

Although played in the same A minor key, Hayloft II is wildly different from its original. The layering of vocals, vibrato guitar, and a sharp bassline give its listeners a cold and harsh welcome. The slower bpm adds to the intensity, providing build-up for the scene and leaving the audience hooked. The opening lines answer the decade-old question of “whatever happened to the young, young lovers?” One got shot, and the other got lost in drugs. She spiraled into madness in an attempt to cope with the death of her loved one at the hands of her father. The song serves as a voicing of the internal conflict within the protagonist. She longs for revenge against her father but constantly tries to fight the inner demon telling her to kill him. But then she snaps. “She really didn’t wanna make it messy. She really, really didn’t, but the girl gone cray.” She lost the battle against her conscience and her sanity. The song begins speeding up, the bass becomes louder, sharper even. A trilling of a piano can be heard. The only words that can be heard? “Hey pop, you die, you die.”

The chase is on. All other instruments go hush except for the drums accompanied by the intense reverb of the bass. Pops is running, the protagonist follows shortly after. Then all of a sudden, there is a scream, the song slows down. The chase is over. As if trying to decide whether or not to pull the trigger, the lines “she’s not a bad kid, but she had to do it,” repeat. Over, and over, and over again. Until finally, “she had to crack, she had to kill pop.” The end of the song feels like a sweet release. The sound becomes softer, angelic even. After so much internal conflict, she is finally at rest. This video finally concludes the story of the young, young lovers. 

The song’s intensity had me on the edge of my seat the entire time (not to mention the bass *chefs kiss*). For that, I give it a 10/10.