Monday, March 28, 2005

Drowning in the sea of love, where everyone would love to drown

"['No One Will Ever Love You'] is an attempt to be Fleetwood Mac's Tusk rolled into one song, concentrating on the Stevie Nicks theme in the lyrics. It's all oblique lyrics. All of Tusk is oblique lyrics referring to unexplained romantic situations."

So says Merritt in an interview with Daniel Handler, documented in the 69 Love Songs booklet. Although not nearly as popular as its predecessor, the gazillion-selling Rumours, Tusk is gradually being recognized as the gently outstretched masterpiece it is. Camper Van Beethoven covered the album in its entirety, the band Ida performed most of it for an amazing show last May, and other notables have declared their admiration for it. It's an odd album, with some wandering, laid-back Californian tunes, punctuated with curious (sometimes markedly lo-fi) Buckingham moments and Stevie Nicks's long hair/long dress earthy mysticism.

"No One Will Ever Love You" isn't exactly the whole album rolled into one song (I hear no marching band or cardboard box being beaten), but it certainly does capture the wistful, mellow tone of roughly half of its songs. The Magnetic Fields' distillation of Fleetwood Mac has the trademark metronomic drumming, the milky guitar flourishes, and the forementioned ambiguously romantic lyrics. (Though, perhaps, the line "When things go wrong, I sing along; it is the nature of the business" is a clever nod to Fleetwood Mac's intra-band relationship turmoil that was reflected in the album Rumours.)

Regarding Mick Fleetwood's drumming, Stephin said, in a semi-contentious interview with Salon:

"One of my favorite drummers is Mick Fleetwood, who keeps incredible time, but is always doing interesting variations on the beat, and in the most repetitive songs, he never seems to play exactly the same thing twice, and yet he sounds very simple, so I think he's a genius..."

Earlier, Merritt tore the interviewer apart for claiming that Björk was innovative because of her use of non-rhyming lyrics and unusual phrase structures. After Stephin recalled Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," the interviewer wrote:

Then, with deep sarcasm and great pleasure, [Merritt said] "I would say that Stevie Nicks is an important precursor to Björk, perhaps surpassing her in artistry."

I didn't want to leave anyone out, so this week I have posted three songs from Tusk: one by Christine McVie, one by Lindsey Buckingham, and one by Stevie Nicks, in that order.


Blogger David Jennings said...

Ernest, you like being mischievous with your ID3 tags, don't you? Rarely have I seen Fleetwood Mac described as 'Death metal' or 'noise'... But thanks for another great installment!

2:15 PM  
Blogger Ernest said...

Heh...thanks! By the way, everybody should check out David's excellent site for 69 Love Songs.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Ernest said...

Wow...according to this page, there were plans for Stephin to write an entire book about Fleetwood Mac's Tusk.

10:47 PM  

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