News editor Isabella Grosso ruminates on her relationship with Fleetwood Mac’s album “Rumors.”
Replay: ‘Rumours’ is the Album That ‘Cast a Spell’ On Me
My whole life has been filled with music. For most of my upbringing, my music taste was completely curated by my parents — from Motown to ‘80s new wave.
Then I discovered Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours.”
The 1977 release is the first album I discovered on my own in my early teenage years. It’s also one of the first I truly resonated with. My deep love for this album grew every time I heard Stevie Nicks sing to Lindsey Buckingham with a broken heart.
Apart from each track’s captivating rhythms and lyrical mastery, I am also completely invested in the stories behind “Rumours.”
As the album was being made, Fleetwood Mac was falling apart. Nicks and Buckingham were freshly broken up, which inspired most of their lyrics. Concurrently, keyboard player and vocalist Christine McVie and bass guitarist John McVie’s marriage had dissolved into a divorce in 1976.
I found such joy in songs like “Second Hand News,” the first track on the album, which reflects on the recent breakup that Nicks and Buckingham were going through.
The track “Dreams” was one that carried me through my first semester living in a college dorm. I was searching for any form of comfort while in quarantine, as Loyola had just welcomed students back to campus in spring 2021. The song held me as I navigated college life as a first-year.
The track features the booming vocals of Nicks, the group’s lead vocalist, as she seemingly steers through life without Buckingham, the group’s vocalist and guitarist. Though the song is a bit somber, I found comfort in its lyrics.
“Thunder only happens when it’s raining,” Nicks sings. Her sentiment I often remind myself of when I get stressed or overwhelmed with smaller things in life.
It’s a constant reminder not to look for thunder when there is no rain, or rather, not to get overwhelmed by problems that don’t exist yet.
“Don’t Stop” and “Never Going Back Again” both have the ability to turn any gray day blue. They all feature bright instrumentation and optimistic sounding lyrics — even if they are rageful in meaning — which can make anyone want to get up and dance.
The first track I ever heard from the album was “Go Your Own Way,” an upbeat tune about choosing your own path in life. I first heard it as a snippet in the background of “Forrest Gump,” as the titular character and his fans ran across the United States.
Hearing Nicks’ whaling vocals coupled with Buckingham’s rock guitar lead me to instantly fall in love — cementing the album as a staple in my life.
While some songs were instantly captivating, others took years for me to fully resonate with — one of which being “Songbird.” This was a track I always found myself skipping in high school, not yet appreciating its slow pace and soft lyricism yet. But, when I turned 20, the song’s impact evolved as I entered adulthood and made the track so special to me.
“Songbird” features lead vocals from Christine McVie, which add a softness underutilized across other parts of the album. The love song’s message is simple — which is what I appreciate most about it. The relatability of the track and its ability to convert the beauty of loving relationships is what makes it so special to me.
After the album made its first impression on me with “Go Your Own Way,” the next track I hyper fixated on was “The Chain.” The track’s mesmerizing lyrics are written by Nicks about a likely resentment toward Buckingham. Paired with his guitar, it makes for a wonderful ‘70s rock tune.
“And if you don’t love me now / You will never love me again / I can still hear you saying / You would never break the chain,” Buckingham and Nicks sing bitterly.
Though the band members were fueled with anger and sorrow, their catharsis helped solidify an immaculate album. You can hear the rage in Nicks’ voice with each belt of “The Chain” and you can feel the dejection in Christine’s voice in “Songbird.” The album is a whirlwind of emotion, something which makes it all the more meaningful.
Mysterious tracks like “Gold Dust Woman” further beautify the band’s complex works. I always viewed this song as Nicks’ cry for help — she was trying to balance a horrible breakup and life in the band while also dealing with their struggles which eventually led to their separation. The tension that builds through the song with her worn vocals and the strained guitars in the background convey an obviously drained Nicks facing mental afflictions.
“Well, did she make you cry / Make you break down / Shatter your illusions of love? / And is it over now, do you know how? / Pick up the pieces and go home,” Nicks sings
As if the original album wasn’t enough, when I discovered the deluxe version and subsequently discovered my now-favorite track on the record, “Silver Springs,” the second song on the album, the first being “Songbird,” that took me turning 20 to fully understand.
“Silver Springs” is a song written and sung by Nicks and is easily my favorite on “Rumours.” Nicks is coming to terms with her ending relationship and insinuates Buckingham will never find anyone like her, making it the ultimate breakup song.
“Time cast a spell on you, but you won’t forget me / I know I could’ve loved you, but you would not let me / I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you / Give me just a chance / You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you,” Nicks sings.
Nicks yells at Buckingham through these lyrics. Her vocal sternness is so severe it can be felt far beyond the song itself. Those lyrics are some of my favorite in music history.
“Rumours” will always have such a special place in my heart. Though it is one of the first albums I found on my own, I have my parents to thank for giving me my appreciation for music from that era. Without them, I don’t know if I would have ever come to have the deep love I have for “Rumours” and Fleetwood Mac.
“Rumours” is available on all major streaming platforms.
Featured image by Ryan Pittman / The Phoenix