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Rockabye (Clean Bandit) (& Creole)

A dancehall song about all the struggling single mothers in the world.

Featuring Jamaican dancehall singer Sean Paul and British singer Anne-Marie.

The black singer sings in Creole English, so grammar and pronunciation differs quite remarkably from standard English and makes it difficult to understand.

Call it love and devotion
Call it the mom’s adoration (foundation)
A special bond of creation, hah
For all the single mums out there
Going through frustration

Clean Bandit, Sean-Da-Paul. Anne-marie, sing, make them hear

She works the nights, by the water
She's gonna stress, so far away from her father's daughter
She just wants a life for her baby
All on her own, no one will come
She's got to save him (daily struggle)

She tells him "ooh love"
No one's ever gonna hurt you, love
I'm gonna give you all of my love
Nobody matters like you (stay up there, stay up there)
She tells him "your life ain't gon' be nothing like my life (straight)
You're gonna grow and have a good life
I'm gonna do what I got to do" (stay up there, stay up there)

So, rockabye baby, rockabye
I'm gonna rock you
Rockabye baby, don't you cry
Somebody's got you
Rockabye baby, rockabye
I'm gonna rock you
Rockabye baby, don't you cry
Rockabye, no (Rockabye-rocka-rocka-rocka-bye) (oh)
Rockabye, yeah, yeah (Rockabye-rocka-rocka-rocka-bye)

Single mom what you doing out there?
Facing the hard life without no fear
Just see and know that you really care
'Cause any obstacle come you well prepared
And, no mamma, you never shed tear
'Cause you have to shed things year after year
And you give the youth love beyond compare
You find the school fee and the bus fare
Hmmmm more when paps disappear
In a wrong bar can't find him nowhere
Steadily you work flow, heavily you know so you nah stop
No time no time fi a jeer

Now she got a six year old
Tryinna keep him warm
Trying to keep out the cold
When he looks her in the eyes
He don't know he is safe when she says

"Ooh love"
No one's ever gonna hurt you, love
I'm gonna give you all of my love
Nobody matters like you

So, rockabye baby, rockabye
I'm gonna rock you
Rockabye baby, don't you cry
Somebody's got you
Rockabye baby, rockabye
I'm gonna rock you
Rockabye baby, don't you cry (Bidda-bang-bang-bang, alright then)
Rockabye, no, oh (Rockabye-rocka-rocka-rocka-bye)
Rockabye, yeah (Rockabye-rocka-rocka-rocka-bye)

Rockabye, don't bother cry
Lift up your head, lift it up to the sky, yo
Rockabye, don't bother cry
Angels around you, just joy your eye


Now she gotta a six year old
Tryinna keep him warm
Trying to keep out the cold
When he looks in her eyes
He don't know he is safe when she says

She tells him "ooh love"
No one's ever gonna hurt you, love
I'm gonna give you all of my love
Nobody matters like you (stay up there, stay up there)
She tells him "your life ain't gon' be nothing like my life (straight)
You're gonna grow and have a good life
I'm gonna do what I got to do" (yeah)

So, rockabye baby, rockabye (Rockabye-rocka-rocka-rocka-bye)
I'm gonna rock you
Rockabye baby, don't you cry (Rockabye-rocka-rocka-rocka-bye)
Somebody's got you
Rockabye baby, rockabye (Rockabye-rocka-rocka-rocka-bye)
I'm gonna rock you
Rockabye baby, don't you cry (Bidda-bang-bang-bang, alright then)
Rockabye

Rockabye don't bother cry
Lift up your head, lift it up to the sky, yo (Rockabye!)
Rockabye don't bother cry (yeah yeah)
Angels around you, just joy your eye (Rockabye!)


Rockabye don't bother cry
Lift up your head, lift it up to the sky, yo (Rockabye!)
Rockabye don't bother cry
Angels around you, just joy your eye











DEVOTION= /dɪ'vəʊʃən/ Feelings of strong love or affection (for a cause, person, etc) marked by dedicated loyalty.

ADORATION= /ædə'reɪʃən/ Deep love or esteem; fervent and devoted love.

BOND OF CREATION= Emotional tie between a mother and her son.

SINGLE MOMS= Single mothers. A single mom is a female parent without a partner; a person who has a dependent child or dependent children and who is widowed, divorced, or unmarried.

OUT THERE= in this context it means: in the world (everybody who is listening to this).

FRUSTRATION= /frʌ'streɪʃən/ Exasperation. A feeling of dissatisfaction often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.

CLEAN BANDIT (the name of the band who composed and plays this song), SEAN-DA-PAUL (the name of the Jamaican male singer), ANNE-MARIE (the name of the British female singer).

SHE WORKS THE NIGHTS= It indicates she does the kind of job that is performed outside the normal working hours, and by implication, not the most honourable job.

BY THE WATER= near the water (probably on the beach, in some touristic resort, or in New York, that part by the sea where night life is not very honorable). Also, in poetry, the waters often appears as a metaphor for danger (the se used to be dangerous for sailing).

SHE'S GONNA STRESS=  She is going to be nervous or anxious. GONNA = Going to.

FAR AWAY= At a distance.

HER FATHER'S DAUGHTER= That's herself, because every girl is, as they say, daddy's daughter (meaning that their father adores them). This expression here suggests it could be some out-of-body-experience, like she's working there but her spirit is far away. Or a reference to a long-past lost innocent childhood, when she was that cute baby, her daddy's daughter. Also notice that she doesn't pronounce the H in HER, so "from her" sounds /fromə/.     

ALL ON HER OWN= She has nobody by her side. This line reflects on the single mom and her individual struggle.

SHE'S GOT TO= She has to, she must.

DAILY STRUGGLE= A very strong effort day by day.

NOBODY MATTERS LIKE YOU= Nobody is as important as you (you are the most important person in my life).

STAY UP= To remain awake past one's usual bedtime; not go to bed (in this case, because she has to make money for her baby)

YOUR LIFE AIN'T GON' BE NOTHING LIKE MY LIFE= (gon' = gonna = going to) Your life won't be anything like my life (it will be totally different, much better). This is a very colloquial construction, using two colloquial verbal forms (ain't= isn't, gonna= going to) and a double negative (ain't / nothing), which is not correct in standard English.

WHAT I GOT TO DO= What I've got to do = what I have to do = what I must do.

ROCKABYE= It's the beginning of the most famous English lullaby (a song to make children sleep) You can listen to it here. To rock is to move something (the baby) from side to side, and in child language "go bye bye" means "go to sleep", so "rockabye" suggests the idea of rocking the baby to sleep.

DON'T YOU CRY= Don't cry. Using YOU with an imperative ("don't you" if it's negative) is an emphatic form.

SOMEBODY'S GOT YOU= Someone's holding you, taking care of you.

FACING THE HARD LIFE= Dealing with life, coping with the hard life.

WITHOUT NO FEAR= with no fear, without any fear (using a double negative is non stardard English, but common in Creole language)

OBSTACLE= /'ɒbstəkəl/ Something that obstructs or hinders progress.

SHED TEAR= To cry or weep, especially from grief.

SHED THINGS= Dispose of things, do without things.

THE YOUTH= The young boy.

THE SCHOOL FEE= The money you pay to send your child to school.

THE BUS FARE= The money you pay to travel by bus.

PAPS= (coll.) Papas, dads.

YOU NAH STOP (Creole)= You don't stop.

FI A JEER (Creole)= For a jeer (a jeer is a rude or mocking remark). But since this spelling is creative, I don't trust it much, it sounds a bit like "for you there".

TRYINNA= /trnə/= Trying to (informal contraction)

 

The song’s lyrics describe how single mothers bear hardships to raise their children and give them the best possible life.

Clean Bandit's Grace Chatto explained to Billboard magazine why the mother Anne-Marie and Sean Paul sing about is a pole dancer: "The song is about doing anything you can to give your child a decent life, and what you have to sacrifice and go through with to do that. In the song and in the music video we made, the mother works as an exotic dancer in order to fund the life with her child."

She added: "In the video, we did a take on it where we juxtaposed the mundane reality of being in a job you might not like, which is a theme we explore in a lot of our videos, and juxtaposed that with a kind of fantasy world with the joy that dancing can bring you. The mother character in the video that's spoken about in the song, you really don't know if she's fallen in love with pole dancing or if she's just living in a dream world."

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