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Track Review

If every parent were as musically gifted as Sam Martin is, the world would be full to overflowing with touching tributes to babies not yet born. As it is, "Song for My Unborn Son" gives melodic voice to all the things dads and moms think but don't always know how to say, how to put down as poetry or prose.

Martin, who has written hits for Maroon 5, One Direction, Nick Jonas, David Guetta and Ziggy Marley, poignantly pours out his expectation and anticipation as he ponders the arrival of his and his wife's first child. "Can you hear me?" he begins quietly against the backdrop of gentle keyboard chords. "I've been singing to you/With every day, I'll be meeting you soon."

From there, Sam begins to envision the experiences he'll have as a dad, promising his unborn boy he'll always be there for him. "Someday you'll grow up to be your own man/But while you're small, I'll help you stand," the father-to-be promises. "And if you cry and cry all night, I'll wipe your eyes/If you're stuck and in the mud, I'll pull you out/If you're dealing with a hurt, I'll hold you, son/When you find an open field, I hope you run."

Sam's tenor soars in the chorus as he vows to love his son unconditionally ("I'm gonna love you anyway/I'm gonna love you anyway/I'm gonna love you anyway/I'm gonna love you any way you are." And the next verse describes seeing his little guy for the first time during an ultrasound ("I saw your heart beating the other day/Your mom and I are thinking 'bout your name/And when you're old, you'll get to do the same").

The 32-year-old singer told Mashable that the melody and chorus were spontaneously inspired by that moment at the doctor's office with his wife and child. "The lyric came right then—'I'm going to love you anyway.' I almost started crying just singing it over and over again. … It was a spiritual experience." And while the video mostly features Martin at a piano, it also gives us a glimpse of an ultrasound image, as well as smiling footage of the singer and his bride at their 2010 wedding.

Martin said he was trying to keep the song a secret from his wife, Joy, but she walked in on him unexpectedly while he was practicing it one day. "'You weren't supposed to hear that—give me 10 minutes!'" he said, relating the moment to Mashable. "She left and came back; I played it, and then both of us were just sobbing. Uncontrollably crying."

You may be, too, when you hear him. Especially for any parent who's ever looked forward to the arrival of a precious child, it's a quiet song that may very well be overwhelmed with the sound of sobbing. It's a potent, poetic reminder of the beauty, wonder and potential of life—outside and inside the womb.

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January 27, 2015

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Adam R. Holz

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