Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Stevie Nicks: "I am drawn back again and again to the woozy narcotic of her sound"

Not Fade Away 1979: Sara, Fleetwood Mac
Richard E. Aaron

by Teddy Jamieson
Herald Scotland

Wait a minute baby
Stay with me awhile

This is where things get seriously biographical. In 1979 I turn 16. I'm obsessed by Marvel comics, Michael Moorcock fantasy books and Jenny Agutter. My musical tastes are .. umm indiscriminate. I like almost everything. But then there's so much to like.

Even in retrospect 1979 shapes up as one of the truly great years in pop history. The length of the list of other contenders below this isn't only down to nostalgia (although I'll accept it might be a factor - one that's likely to continue over the next few weeks/years). In 1979 we've got American punk, British post-punk, high-end disco, lovers' rock, the best of what was known as new wave, the last truly great single by Motown's greatest artist and the first great single by the star who would become the brightest talent of the decade to come (no, it's not Michael). We've got Bowie and Kate Bush, Chrissie Hynde (one of my favourite voices in pop) and Debbie Harry, weird synthy one-hit wonders from M and Flying Lizards and itchy electronica from Cabaret Voltaire and the Human League.

We are beyond punk by now. Suddenly all the rules and restrictions - necessary as they may have felt at the time - are gone. It feels like anything is possible.

And yet here I am choosing chiffon-draped, cocaine-fuelled soft rock. What gives?

Blame the 16-year-old me. The boy whose favourite comic was Master of Kung Fu. The writer of said comic, Doug Moench, was obsessed by Fleetwood Mac. He seemed to have his characters listen to Rumours every month. And I was soon indoctrinated. So much so that I rushed out to buy the Tusk double album as soon it came out and played it again and again and again and ...

I still like a lot of the album. There are tracks like Save Me A Place where the (undoubtedly expensively produced) DIY feel of the music and the lachrymose luminosity of the harmonies gets me every time. (On the basis of absolutely no evidence whatsoever I always want to say alt-country starts here).

But, really, what I tuned in to were the Stevie Nicks songs. And Sara more than the rest. I've written before in this place about how Nicks should be the antithesis of everything I like in pop. But I just can't help myself. I am drawn back again and again to the woozy narcotic of her sound, what the music critic Simon Reynolds once called her "grain-of-the-voice viscosity".

Check out the full article at Herald Scotland

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