Wednesday, March 19, 2008

over & over

they call the first song on Fleetwood Mac's stunning and utterly obsessable 1979 album TUSK "Over & Over" because it reminds you that you have been listening to the album over and over and over for the past week and a half

really almost nothing else, as my possibly-suffering housemates will attest. thanks again to Holly for passing this on, it's clearly the Twin Peaks/Julee Cruise of my late winter/early spring 2008, and possibly the greatest album since the "Singles" soundtrack - as such, it will also receive the one-track-at-a-time, close-read treatment that it richly deserves. I'm not going to do every track, but I am going to do all the ones that really matter to me right now, which should cover the next couple weeks of posting for serious


fleetwood mac - over & over

I gotta admit, "Over & Over" didn't really register my first few times through TUSK, I kept getting derailed listening to "Sara" and "Storms" on repeat for hours at a time etc. with Christine McVie's typically mellow vocals, the easy-going melody, lazy tempo, etc it is kind of an 'odd' but in retrospect ODDviously perfect way to open an album full of so much darkness and emotional tumult.

this is an album about flawed yet inescapable relationships - as noted in Holly's useful introductory notes, pretty much everyone in the band was sleeping with each other and doing a lot of drugs and dealing with the catastrophic success of "rumours" and writing songs about each other, etc. the songs are full of multiple, often conflicting voices and desires, unanswered questions, naive hopes mixed with heartbroken cynicism, spun in unbreakable circles. and "Over & Over" lays it all out, in McVie's verses and their pleading questions

"could you ever need me? and would you know how? don't waste our time, tell me now"

"don't turn me away, and don't let me down - what can I do to keep you around?"

etc - that so quickly slide into the hopefully rising chorus:

"could it be me? could it really really be?"

before she suddenly, exasperatedly realizes that she's been here before, and had these same hopes dashed, "over and over" ("and over and over and over and over")

- yet the whole song, in its relative warmth and mellowness, kind of conveys that cautious, yet desperately-wanting-to-believe optimism of the "could it be me?", when you kind of know better but still think that maybe this time will be different, which makes it such an appropriate start to the album, a quick taste of the sweetness with clear forboding of the bitterness and sourness to come

ftr, thanks should probably be given to Alison in Sweden PhDista for encouraging me to give this song a closer look in the first place, it wasn't originally going to be blogged but, as usual, she's got a sharp eye for high-quality emotional details, esp when it comes to the Mac. credit also goes to Alison for popping my FM cherry way back on her summer of '01 mixtape, featuring "Silver Springs," which kind of blew me away (and then bitterly haunted me for months after our appropriately intense breakup, thanks!)


holly said...

The close-reading treatment is the only thing appropriate for an album so well suited to close listening. Early on in my Fleetwood Mac addiction, I would choose two songs per week, each played approximately 40 times per day. Eventually (this means 2 months later) I weaned myself off Stevie Nick's immediately satisfying masterpieces and learned to appreciate the more understated gems such as this one. I am excited that you are delving into this emotional jungle. I couldn't do it myself, I've found these songs can at times be too intense for analysis.

Stay said...

Hank here--it says "Stay" b/c blog started as a band blog. anwyway, thanks much for this primer. have needed to seriously reckon w/ the Mac for some time now. keep it up!

alison said...

i know i'm always leaving comments on your blog like 3 weeks after the post went up, but hopefully you will find it.

i was wondering - are you listening to tusk in its vinyl record form? i love the double lp because the format helps emphasize certain songs that "headline" their respective sides of the two records. so the first side starts w/ over & over, which obvs is great, then you get side 2 starting with "what makes you think you're the one," which is kind of a good response to the "could it be me?" question that is raised in over & over. side 3 starts w/angel that's enough and side 4 with honey hi which both really set the emotional tones for the mini-segments of the record that they introduce.

do you still have the summer '01 mix tape? i wouldn't mind listening to it sometime. i guess silver springs was "our song" although i think "hip to be square" was also on that tape which maybe better characterizes life these days.