3. This is the angriest version of this song I have ever heard. Not that the Etta James version, which has become an aural shorthand for the first bloom of lifelong love, is as tender as we collectively remember it, but even her version has a warm shiver down the spine, an incandescent bulbs in a dark park on a summer night softness. This version, if it were used in a movie, would play over a slow pan around an immaculate apartment in the process of being smashed to bits — dishes crashing to the hardwood floor, a vase of flowers shattering against a wall, shards of mirror half buried by white shag carpeting, drywall dust and the smoke of old photos burning in a silver trash can — always a step behind the person doing the destroying, until you round a corner and there is your stalker ex sitting on the bed with a knife, and you get murdered, and the movie is over. This is not a love song, when Stevie Nicks sings it. This is an ownership song.
Whether it was a choice or just all she was able to do, I don’t know. I remember my mom — who is not big into Stevie Nicks, I also vividly remember being sixteen and sitting in a car while Stevie’s “Silent Night” played on the CD player and my mom did her best, worst, bleating imitation; I believe it ended when I finally screamed “JUST SKIP IT, THEN!” and I honestly cannot recall ever being angrier than that — I remember my mom stopping to listen to some Stevie song I had playing, and announcing, “Say what you will, but she can emote.” This was a year or so after the “Silent Night” incident, and I probably replied with a snotty “See?" and an extemporaneous dissertation on the depths of feeling that Stevie Nicks could convey, but the thing is, my mom wasn’t really right: Stevie can emote, but only a limited number of emotions. Anger, fear, loneliness, longing, arrogance, dismissal, and whatever you call that feeling where you realize things are changing and you can’t stop them, and you resign to depend only on yourself, because yourself is the only thing you can control. Sometimes she can combine them, can alchemize so that they resemble love or tenderness, but they aren’t really — there’s always a barrenness to her voice, a sound like salting the earth. Nothing will grow here, not unless she lets it.
You tell people you loved Stevie Nicks when you were sixteen, and they think of angels and dreams and dripping chiffon. Which is not necessarily wrong — all the storms and dragons and life-and-death were as real to me as anything else back then. But what really mattered to me was how flinty she was, how hard.
in the past three years i’ve built an army of main bitches
when i first got to know them, i became obsessed. i’ve had a similar phase with a lot of other people (and I mean A LOT), but never like these three
i can empathize with them, be moved by them, relate to them, love them in a way i’ve only loved people i know in real life before. these women speak to me, and i can only be sad for those who don’t have shining stars like mine