Just A Little Close To Me: Figuring
Hello. There seems to be something in the air about Fleetwood Mac today.
I appreciate this because I've been thinking recently about how dearly I love Fleetwood Mac and how this love seems to be -- like my things about Motown and Morrissey and my attraction to the scent of bay rum -- one of those things in myself that is a signpost, a marker of something that I am.
As I am still kind of experiencing a quarter-life crisis, I find these markers valuable because they give me something to hang on to. But because I also eventually want to leave my quarter-life crisis, I am moved to try to understand this in terms beyond myself.
The Motown thing is about the fascination of glamour and style and collaboration, not to mention the endlessly (to me) interesting idea of singing about sad things in a happy way. The Morrissey thing is about productive self-absorption, and about being open with your esoteric sources of inspiration. Bay rum just smells like goodness. And Fleetwood Mac is a group that uses high skill to make interesting, yet accessible, things.
All of these boil down even further to a word I first used on this blog on March 4, 2012 and not often since then, a value I increasingly pursue in pop music and in life: authenticity. I felt afraid to use it the first time around because it seemed, I don't know, maybe self-evident? Maybe taking on something I didn't know if I wanted to or was ready to take on?
It's a slippery thing, but I think it may be the most important thing. The last time I wrote about Fleetwood Mac I said, "This blog is about relationships." I still think that's true, but I also think deeper down this blog is about authenticity: not only songs that exemplify it, but my own search for it -- stumblingly, and over time.
The song: Fleetwood Mac, "Never Forget"; 1979
"Never Forget" is interesting to me because it is off the 1979 album Tusk, their majorly ballsy follow-up to mega-hit Rumours. Nobody really liked Tusk at the time but now I think everyone probably loves it, just because it is very hard not to love. As an album, it's a little strange and off-kilter. The songs don't seem to be in the right order. And you're not really quite sure what it's about, thematically, at least not in the same way you are sure that Rumours is about love and its dissolution. (Maybe Tusk is about the dissolved pieces.)
And it ends with this song, written and sung by Christine McVie who may be the least appreciated member of the band (including by me). At her best, her contribution to Fleetwood Mac is this fatal sweetness, a sweetness that seems too much to be real. In this song, "the stars must be my friends to shine for me" and "just remember that love is gold" sometimes stick in my throat because, like it or not, I am still a product of my time and my time just does NOT get down with that kind of un-self-conscious dreaminess. (I wish it did, though. I read recently on some strange person's Internet blog [no, not this one] that soon we'll all become more comfortable with mysticism and move away from the obsession with logic, science, and reason. He offered no evidence for this naturally, but I believe it wholeheartedly because I want to.)
But whenever this song comes on, a little burble comes up in my heart and I feel like I should look up at the sky just to see what's going on out there. This is a decision I never regret.