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!

Lindsay Lohan – Edge of Seventeen (Stevie Nicks cover)

We’ll unpack the critical elements of the original song, starting with the aforementioned opening riff. It permeates the rest of the song, marking the urgency. This version has a few extra electric guitar plucks framing the iconic guitar line.  The first “just like the white winged dove” is a battle cry in both the original and in this cover. Admittedly, Lohan noticeably adds a little extra and overt sexiness to the traditional cooing “ooh, oohs” which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, in context, the 19-year-old Lohan was much closer to that edge of 17 than Nicks was at the original release, and she was fresh off of channeling an inner 16-year-old, Cady Heron, for her lead role in Mean Girls. Perhaps we can forgive a youthful teen navigating being sexualized (exhibit A).

This version ditches the subtle bass that keeps the tempo in favor of a muffled drum beat that escalates to full-scale rock band mode in the choruses. It replaces the punctuating piano with the occasional orchestral phrase. From the first to the last “all alone on the edge of seventeen,” we feel both women’s earnestness, and though Lohan’s voice is more forced at times and less mature than Nicks’s overall, it is still a powerful one.

Is this an ambitious song choice? Sure! Is everyone going to love the extra, heavy-duty rock elements in the chorus? No! But I respect Lohan for wanting to pay homage to Stevie Nicks (heroines are important!) and for picking a song that clearly resonated with her. I give her bonus points for branching out from the most popularly covered songs, “Landslide” and “Dreams.” And at the end of the day, I think we can all agree that this is a great song in general, nothing else matters.

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  One Response to “In Defense: Lindsay Lohan’s “Edge of Seventeen””

Comments (1)
  1. “Nicks not enthused, referring to Lohan’s drug and alcohol use.” Pot, meet kettle. Sheesh.

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