Recently my childhood friend Bennett, who is the author a great novel about teen shoplifting
, and I had breakfast — homemade egg sandwiches with bacon and cheese — and discussed my book in a totally not-contrived way.
Breakfast with Emily from Emily Gould on Vimeo.
One of Bennett's questions was about the book's title, And the Heart Says Whatever. Why is it so crazy? What does it mean? I had to reveal that it is a lyric from the uptempo Stevie Nicks ballad "Think About It," which is on her solo album Bella Donna. The actual line is repeated twice in the song, once as part of a longer sentence: "And the heart says 'danger'/ and the heart says 'whatever/ it is that you want from me...'" and once at the end, just by itself: "And the heart says 'danger'/and the heart says 'whatever'/'Think about it, think about it before you go.'"
(What, you don't sit around parsing Stevie Nicks lyrics all day?)
Anyway, Bennett's question got me thinking. Why do I like Stevie Nicks, and Fleetwood Mac, so much? I mean, besides the fact that she and they are awesome (I'm talking about the Rumours lineup, not the early British bluesy iteration of the band or the '80s-'90s Nicks/McVie/Buckingham-less versions). It does seem like an odd favorite band for a person who was born after they'd already recorded their best albums. While you can make a case for Tango in the Night and Mirage, especially the Christine McVie compositions "Everywhere" and "Little Lies," let's just be real that the overall takeaway, from that era of F. Mac, is that cocaine is good in the short term for creativity but not in the long.
The other day I was perusing their Wikipedia page, as one does, trying to unearth more information about the Tusk documentary, and I realized that their big Rumours-lineup reunion — that highly charged, A Mighty Wind-esque tour that resulted in the album The Dance — happened in 1997, when I was 16. Their VH1 "Behind the Music," which is the definitive and best "Behind the Music" of all time, obviously, was in constant heavy rotation on that channel, and the song "Silver Springs" was always on the radio.
Nicks had originally written "Silver Springs" for Rumours, in 1977, but it wasn't included on that album because of rising tensions in the band and maybe because it describes the end of her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham in such wrenching, unsparing (not to mention witchy and mystical!) terms. Then in 1997, the live version she recorded for The Dance became a huge hit — maybe because of the way she turned to Buckingham, her long-ago lover, in front of a stadium full of thousands of people, and sang, "I'LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN TILL THE SOUND OF MY VOICE WILL HAUNT YOU! YOU'LL NEVER GET AWAY FROM THE SOUND OF A WOMAN THAT LOVES YOU!"
Anyway, I don't want to get too self-therapeutic here, but that's the kind of thing that could potentially have a big impact on a 16-year-old, especially one growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland. Sixteen-year-olds think every song on the radio is about them anyway.