Christine McVie Remembered In Five Songs I (For The Most Part) Don’t See/Hear The Punters Talking About…

Photo: Raph_PH. CC-BY 2.0.

I didn’t know she was almost eighty.

I didn’t know her mother was a faith healer.

I didn’t know Fleetwood Mac released twenty-seven albums total, and she plays on all of them except one.

I wonder if she believed in her mother’s work.

I didn’t know she didn’t have any kids. I didn’t know she was twice divorced. I hope she was close to somebody at the end.


“Over & Over (2015 Remaster)”: From Tusk, 1979

Tusk along with Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden, got me through long afternoons (I was drunk most of the nights), after my best friend and my lover ran off with each other. For ages I’d tell you this ‘un had resonance, sweetness, but no…certainty. A light snack to lead off a double album of conundrums, Lindsey Buckingham’s song the plums in the pudding. You rely on the pudding. But you spoon for the plums.

Except–and I have no rational explanation, maybe her death, maybe my idiocy, maybe its status as an essential headphone track–it seems whole and spiritual now, from Buckingham’s lazy strums, to Mick Fleetwood’s what-the-hell double-time gallop towards the end. Trapped in its own loop, and in ecstacy.

“Everywhere,” from Tango In The Night, 1987

Aerosolized. As a means to spreading it around so far as possible. Solid verses, hinting at impatience, but when she goes sailing into that “ohwhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa,” we hear the modus operandi: Aerosolization as a delivery system for the impeccable.

I love the video, too, since the band members only come out gradually–manifesting visually, how for all her power she relied on them for her own delivery system. A fairy tale should rightly be Steve Nicks’ bailiwick, but I’m smiling since I only just now thought of that.

“Think About Me” (2015 Remaster), from Tusk, 1979

I seldom praise lyrics, with the thought that her true brilliance lay in applying melody, harmony, and arrangement, to transcend the mundanity of (mere) words. Here, though, I’m caught on how she just plain dumps the early line, “I didn’t mean to love you/Didn’t think it would work out”–something someone might say to a friend about someone new, between drinks, between cigarette drags, between coffee cups. Further, “What can they say/It’s not against the law”–resignation to new pleasure.

Not much else sparkling lyrically because not many more actual lyrics. But Buckingham grabs on and they harmonize on a plea for attention, the title of the song indeed. So maybe it’s more complicated than it looks on the surface. Like everything the hit machine milled.

“Carnival Begin,” from Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie, 2017

This one, too, seemed incomplete, uncertain, at first. Buckingham seals the deal, though, with his harmonies and background vocals mysterioso: New love as carnival, but carnival as uncertainty, translucent curtain of the barker and the shapes, sexual and/or scary, on the tent side. Note “carnival begin” and not “begins”–something not inevitable, but something she wills, hopes for. She wants to pay the barker and pass him.

“Hold Me (Christine’s Demo Version)” and “Hold Me (Early Version),” final version on Mirage, 1982

“I dunno what it means,” she laughs at the beginning of her own demo–and Stevie’s supposed to be the mystic, right? The carnal, over time, though, gets squeegeed out of her design. On the demo she’s frankly frisky, even as her voice plays hide-and-seek with the stereo channels. She “would/could” get held right, and the pulsing piano slams it home.

The “early version” finds Buckingham buzzing on guitar, and Stevie Nicks (of all people) double-teaming the lust. Feel free to paint your own pictures.

We know how it ended, of course–Nicks out on harmony, Buckingham in, for a symbiotic intimacy–soothing, but a little cooler–that stood out on a strong set.

How great she art, though, for us to hear greatness even when she dunno what it means.

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