by MOLLY LAMBERT
Music is a drug. Science has officially demonstrated that music produces the same effects in the brain as powerful euphoric (psychosexual) experiences. The way drugs have an emotional effect on you (why do you think people take drugs?) you are using music as a substance to produce certain emotional effects. That is why you listen to some songs a million times and others once. Individual experiences are subjective.
In YouTube comments people end up telling you the memory of their most vivid experience of the song. That's why people love pop music in movies so much (done well), because we have all had moments that happened to be perfectly soundtracked. It is another fourth wall. Do you point out how well the music is soundtracking the experience, or does pointing it out automatically stop the existence of the moment?
In the ideal experience you can't point it out because they're inseparable. It's not something you can really set up on purpose. It has to be accidental. The urge to combine all pleasurable experiences is strong, that's why George Costanza wants to eat a sandwich and watch sports during sex. But too much purposeful attempting is an impediment to true enjoyment, the way it can be hard to have fun on your birthday.
In college Tess and I would occasionally go on drives. Providence is so small it literally sometimes feels like you live in your own mind. The point was never where we went, it was hanging out in the car together, which is why that Dayton/Faris Volkswagen Pink Moon ad blew everyone's mind ("HEY THAT IS WHAT I AM LIKE TOO!") and cornerstone of the enduring appeal of On The Road (uh...in theaters soon?) and Westerns (you're out on horses together someplace. Westerns and War Movies are male romances).
One time we were driving back from the Legal Seafood by the airport, probably really high (jk @probably), heading towards downtown Providence on the highway as the sun was setting. I don't know which came on first, Mr. Blue Sky by ELO or the fireworks (Patriots?) In my memory they occurred simultaneously, but that is because that's how it felt. We both just turned to each other like O___O O___O and felt like plastic bags.
Tess and I have always been obsessed with found poetry. In high school we would talk forever about why the way certain headlines were phrased was so funny. We were especially obsessed with British teen magazines because of their regional slang and lack of shying away from stories about graphic sexual trauma ("I Have Two Wombs!")
I remember reading an interview with The Spice Girls in Seventeen where they asked Baby Spice if she was a virgin and she giggled demurely and said "I might be!" and then a British one where she graphically recounted losing her virginity to a much older man when she was thirteen. American magazines were trying to protect us from full grown child woman Baby Spice's sexuality, and I felt really baffled as to why.
Every time I hear "With Or Without You" I think about when Tess and I would sit on her bed together listening to it in the dark. Theoretically it was about the love we had for some imaginary boys we didn't know yet, but it was just as much about the love we had for each other. It was the desire to meet somebody of the opposite sex that we could feel the same kind of connection with that we automatically always felt with one another. If this sounds so incredibly gay, I mean it is. Straight female friendships don't have the same kind of enforced homosexuality panic as straight male friendships.
Tess and I are both obsessed with Tony Soprano because we identify with him so deeply, although I identify slightly more with Christopher Moltisanti. Tess finds Tony Soprano attractive, but I do not. I think Don Draper is attractive, but Tess thinks his legs are too short (I have literally no idea what she is talking about). She likes Pete Campbell. I think she's nuts. There are no universal metrics of measurement for anything. Taste is subjective. That's why people define themselves through it.
The Sopranos also always got into how we listen to songs to remind us of how we felt when we heard them at specific times. Tony's obsession with seventies rock spoke to his nostalgia for youthful times when he was brutal and all powerful, not yet locked in by any commitments or responsibilities, with his whole awesome life ahead of him.
We were obsessed with Fleetwood Mac's The Dance and spent a lot of time speculating about what exactly Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were thinking about during that performance of "Landslide" and whether Lindsey's wife got mad at him afterwards for basically having a taped emotional affair with his ex-girlfriend on a stage.
Tess and I forward the best spam e-mails we get; realty scams, letters from Nigerian princes, lotto alerts, some pure gibberish. Sometimes inside the text, lurking between the ridiculous typos and half-translations, there is a phrase that catches something. It is always all the more astonishing for being lodged inside of so much junk.
The best are often the e-mails from mail order brides. They prey on the deep human need for connection with sentences like "I'm tall and nice looking girl i saw your profile today, then i decided to drop you some words just to say hello and how was today, i will like to known more about you, and also i will like to tell you about me, please i will be very happy." There's something so touching about it. Hello and how was today.
Sometimes YouTube comments get trolled, but a lot of them are a sort of virtual oasis. A global pangea, an internet commune, a place where people share genuine feelings and thoughts and memories without anyone being a snotty dismissive asshole. People all over the world sharing the experience of listening to a specific song (I told you I'm an optimist). It is the isolating experience that becomes a connective one.
Selected YouTube Comments From The Above Video For "Dreams"
Race should never play a card in music. But because I'm black I get a lot of weird ass looks for this being something I blast my system to. This song calms me in ways many can not imagine. Stevie Nicks is the shit and I will contest to any person who thinks different. Rock out Stevie, rock out.
Give me an mp3 with 5,000 songs of the 60s, 70s and 80s on it, a pocket full of batteries, my 66 babyblue Pontiac Beaumont, and a back seat and trunk filled with Cold Cokes and Icy Brewskis, and point me to the nearest highway. With a repertoire of great tunes like this one, I will cruise until the tires fall off and then just pull over into a little grove of trees and watch the sunset one last time as my life of pain and sorrow drifts off into a sleep of forever...what a way to go.
Great song!!! Thank you for this great video. Lee .... Santa Barbara , I love life and hope maybe one day you will know that you are a true friend. "Stevie Nicks" 'Rocks" No matter how old I get my heart will forever remain young! "Sand" Only a call away..... VA Angels
2 very hot women...and 3 guys who got laid like crazy during that decade. WoW.
I remember being small in my car falling asleep as my parents drove home from a long road trip to this song
Why is there even a dislike button on this song??
i used to watch my sister getting ready to go out partying whilst she played rumors over and over again and this song stuck out the most, one of my favourite songs ever
Songs are a snap shot of certain points in our lives. The emotions, moods, etc that are so strongly tied to our most memorable song (even those that are just favorites or well liked) will ALWAYS take us there. And nothing can ever take that away-never! I 54 yrs old, I use this as a tool (sometimes as a drug) to get me there. I am glad I am a human. 'nuff said
man this song makes me smile when I Hear it because it makes me think of life and that we all have to die at one point in time and this song makes those facts not scary....all I know is that i wont forget this song and that when im old il still be hearing this song and it will still make me feel how it makes me feel now.
My voice of singing will never be as great as i wish for it to be, but my father has something wrong with him the doctors cant give him meds for and he is slowly dieing but he told me he would like me to sing this song in the talent show and im learning this song just for him (:
Is there anything more beautiful than the sound of Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, and Lindsey Buckingham singing harmonies together?
i remember hearing this as a lil kid on sundays when my mom would be cleaning the house early morning. lol. AWESOME SONG!
the only reason i heard this song just now was cus a girl told me it was nice. i agree with her now. this is nice
I love this song so much she is the best of all i know that thunder happens when is raining love that when it happens
o i miss my dad his old music we enjoyed together
that's song are amazing! i never tired of listen!
This song is super dreamy. If this song was a girl I would be all over it.
I'm 12 and even I agree today's music isn't as good as anything made from the 60s to the nineties
awesome song, Guys are such dicks.
For as many women that get their hearts broken by men, there are still plenty of guys that get their hearts broken by women, I happen to know quite a few myself.
I'm getting her face tattooed on my chest
I miss that: a great song that is simple, tells a story, but that can magically contain one's perception of an aspect of life translated it into melody and lyrics. I do think that people who compose and write music are touched in a divine way.
Ok so I can remember the summer of 1978, I had just turned five, I was at my friend Monica's house...I pressed a button on her parents stereo and this song came on
cocaine's a hell of a drug
Hard to believe this woman is anywhere near 60 years old: time goes by like THAT.
hey stevie i agree on how u feel about the tech of the world i wish threre some way to be more of a freindly hand shake to say hello i dont need this texs its not good for us to know whats important to poeple and just be real face to face and say hi i love u steevie
It was 1977? Sometime back around then.....Living at South Shore...Lake Tahoe. Yep! Fleetwood Mac and a big ol' doobie......Work hard, play hard....Great music that transports me back to some friggin' far-out times..........Instantly...
its amazing how she wrote this song within an hour. This song chose her to share through out the world!
My dad got to dance with Stevie Nicks while he was security at one of her concerts......That lucky bastard! RIP dad..........xoxoxo
Such haunting song too. Dark, sexy, kind of sticks to you after sex on a rainy summer night. When it's over, it leaves you lonely, but interested and wanting more.
Stevie Nicks is pretty as hell in these photos. I would hop on it with out one seconds hesitation if I had the chance.
Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She twitters here and tumbls here. She last wrote in these pages about how to be a woman in a boys' club.
"As Long As You Follow" - Fleetwood Mac (mp3)
"Landslide (live)" - Stevie Nicks & the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (mp3)
"Dreams" - Fleetwood Mac (mp3)
"I'm So Afraid (live in 1997)" - Fleetwood Mac (mp3)
"Stop Dragging My Heart Around" - Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty (mp3)
"Rooms on Fire" - Stevie Nicks (mp3)