Sep 072020
 

What is there left to say about Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours at this stage? It is a veritable blueprint of what a perfect pop album should sound like, and the drama surrounding it is as iconic as the record itself. Unsurprisingly, its most beloved track and the one that’s spawned the most cover attempts is  Stevie Nicks’ incandescent “Dreams”…which makes sense, for beyond its general evergreen perfection, it’s kind of foolproof, with strong enough bones to withstand even the most experimental cover attempts. But that fact makes it even more impressive when someone takes on one of the deeper cuts (though I suppose in the case of the ubiquitous Rumours, we should just refer to them as ‘non-singles’)…like the dark queen-Grande dame that is “Gold Dust Woman.”

Lindsey Buckingham once famously referred to “Gold Dust Woman” as “an evil song,” and his sinewy groove of a guitar line supports that notion tenfold. Sinister and ominous, equal parts pop song and exorcism, Stevie herself explained later it was “My symbolic look at somebody going through a bad relationship and doing a lot of drugs and trying just to make it, trying to live. That song was about a very heavy, very bad time in my life.”

Composer, multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Julia Holter recorded her version of the song way back in 2012 (for a MOJO Magazine curated Fleetwood Mac tribute CD called Rumors Revisited). Up until last week the song had only been available as part of that compilation, but it’s now officially available through the streaming services. Holter added that she’d “always wanted to release it” and describes it as a “rough home recording with the raw energy of that time for me when I first started touring and playing my music outside of LA with a band.” It also happens to be one of the finest covers of the song ever recorded. Holter’s “Gold Dust Woman” is spare, hymnal and utterly spellbinding. There’s a quiet urgency to it, a chilliness that pulls it miles away from the smoky grittiness of the original, and it’s absolutely entrancing.

Apr 292020
 

In Defense takes a second look at a much maligned cover artist or album and asks, “Was it really as bad as all that?”

Edge of Seventeen

Lindsay Lohan is now a business woman and back to releasing music, Stevie Nicks is always relevant, and hey, clearly we need more drama in our lives, so let’s get “a little more personal” and talk about what may be a controversial cover of “Edge of Seventeen.”

Nicks wrote the original song, and it appeared on her debut solo album, Bella Donna. It only reached number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100, which seems inconceivable given its cultural legacy. And yes, part of that legacy is its opening riff being sampled in Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious.” Nicks making a cameo appearance in the music video is the ultimate stamp of approval. Alas, Lohan did not receive the same pat on the back. Lohan reportedly wanted to play Nicks in a biopic, but Nicks wasn’t enthused, to put it mildly, referring to Lohan’s drug and alcohol use (after this album, things started to go downhill for Lohan).

This song is not Lohan’s only cover; she also covers Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” (for the record, her song “Rumors” on her first album is just a coincidence, not a Fleetwood Mac cover). However, fans seem to be a little more protective of Nicks (or maybe they are just Hillary Duff loyalists). Despite this, a rare, on the road to recovery, Lohan sighting had people coming out and admitting that her cover might, gasp, not be that bad. Let’s investigate!

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Feb 212020
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Much has been written about the rise and fall of the Dixie Chicks. They were riding high with hit after hit in the late ’90s and very early ’00s, but after one on-stage comment in 2003, everything changed. We almost take for granted how music and politics intertwine now without rocking the boat too much. When Taylor Swift took a stance on a Senate race in her home state, President Trump remarked: “Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25% less now, OK?” and life went on. But twenty-ish years ago, when Natalie Maines said they were ashamed that then President George W. Bush was from Texas, the backlash was swift and severe.

However, it looks like the Dixie Chicks are finally ready for a comeback. After a European tour in 2016, a collaboration with Beyoncé in the same year, and a song with Taylor Swift on her latest album, the Dixie Chicks are focusing on their own new album, due this year. The album is being produced by Jack Antonoff of Bleachers, whose list of writing and producing credits include Taylor Swift’s album Lover, Lorde’s Melodrama, and St. Vincent’s Masseduction. I’m ready for some “Don’t Take the Money” energy on this album, and with a title like Gaslighter (teased here), I’m hoping for an explosive, patriarchy smashing, good time. #sorrynotsorry to all of the Earls out there.

I’m all for covers of the Dixie Chicks, but we’ll save that for another post (ok, here is one to tide you over). For now, let’s take a listen to the Dixie Chicks’ interpretation of classics from country and soul standards to modern hits.

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Feb 052020
 
molly sarle fleetwood mac

If you had to pick one signature song for Stevie Nicks, it’d be hard to argue against 1982’s “Gypsy” as the definitive representation of her legend. With its lace, paper flowers, bittersweet memories, and lush melody, it completely captures the glorious essence of everything Stevie. The song’s video supports this notion, featuring not only Stevie’s signature twirling dance (yeah, she has a signature move too) but the best “running out of the nightclub in high-heeled boots into the pouring rain and wailing ‘looooove’ scene” that’s ever been committed to celluloid. Continue reading »

Dec 022019
 
Angie McMahon Silver Springs

As far as pop music history goes, the exclusion of “Silver Springs” from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album is something of a travesty. It’s the quintessential “one that got away,” the woulda/coulda/shoulda-been classic in the band’s catalog. Its last-minute exclusion from the best-selling album came simply because they had one track too many, according to Rumours co-producer Ken Caillat. And, as an added bonus, apparently Lindsey Buckingham wasn’t too crazy about the sentiments expressed in the song. Its ultimate resting place was on the B-Side of the “Go Your Own Way” single. Continue reading »

Mar 272019
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

Stevie Nicks’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a historic one. She’s the first woman to be elected twice – once with Fleetwood Mac, and once for her solo career. Before Diana Ross, before Tina Turner, before Janis Joplin, before any other woman. We’ve discussed “Landslide,” her signature song that she brought to Fleetwood Mac; now we’ll pay tribute to what she accomplished after she emerged from their shadow. Continue reading »