Friday, February 08, 2013

Just Tell Me That You Want Me

For the second time in a few months, I have been listening to Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” over and over again.



The first go-around, I was inspired by the very solid Fleetwood Mac tribute album that came out this summer. This time, I’m only slightly embarrassed that my inspiration was the pilot to The Americans, which uses an extended version the song over an action sequence. The A.V. Club posted a short piece about the song — less so about its effectiveness in The Americans than its overall intriguing strangeness. An excerpt:
It’s a song at odds with itself, the various voices all tugging at the tune in different directions until everything unites when the vocalists scream the song’s title, an enigmatic moment that means… what, exactly? This relationship was doomed to begin with? These people are going to kill each other eventually? All love has violence inside of it somewhere?
Good points, I guess, and it seems entirely likely that this song is another musing on the complicated romances existing between the members of the band, an angry spirit that maybe didn’t get exorcised on Rumors. Or it may not mean anything. That seems to be what Rolling Stone was getting at in Stephen Holden’s original review of the album. Holden writes, “But Buckingham’s most intriguing contribution is Tusk’s title track, an aural collage that pits African tribal drums, the USC Trojan Marching Band and some incantatory group vocals against a backdrop of what sounds like thousands of wild dogs barking. ‘Tusk’ is Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Revolution 9.’” I’m still thinking about it. What’s with the title, which was apparently meaningful enough to also become the name of the album? Could it just be a penis reference? And if the song is just about relationships and penile thrusting, what’s with weird breakdown — at the 1:53 mark in the above clip — where the drumming cuts off the chorus? Is that musical cock block? And why film the video in an empty Dodger Stadium?

I’m genuinely curious to hear what any of you have to say. At the very least, some Fridays are good for listening to Fleetwood Mac.

2 comments:

  1. "Tusk" is about paranoia and sexual infidelity, I think. The verses are suspicious about a significant other (or two? I wonder if there are two people being cheated on and at one point one is talking to the other), and then the chorus explodes with frustration at being lied to -- DON'T say that you love me, because it's obviously not true. Then again the speaker can't totally let go, so if they can't have their significant other's love, then they'll settle for sex.

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    1. Okay. I'll buy it. So what is the tusk supposed to be then? Is it just a penis?

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