Landslide. Great song. Not least because it doesn’t’ easily give up much to exegesis. When you can learn all there is to know from one take of a work of art – whatever medium – it may be enjoyable, but also either shallow, pandering, or pornographic.
Music and lyrics must weave fine fabric of course.* More importantly however, the former must find that resonance rooted in our evolution that signals the presence of emotional and/or existential truth. Then we find ourselves motivated to search for understanding.
It is sort of like a shared dream. The words draw meaning from that mind from which they emanate as well as that upon which they fall. There’s an overlap, but not a complete one. Each mind has its own constellation of chemistry, experience, and complexes.
Ms. Nicks has offered different, even slightly contradictory, sources of inspiration for this song. For me, this makes it all the more interesting – oracular even. While you’re working to figure out where it came from in her, you’re trying to figure out why it fits with you.
“I wrote it for Lindsey – for him about him. It’s dear to both of us becaue it’s about us. We’re out there singing about our lives”. “It’s about a father-daughter relationship”. “It meant the whole world could tumble around us.”
As I piece the background together, the pair tasted a moment of success, but were quickly set back to waiting tables and cleaning homes. Buckingham left Nicks in Aspen for a spell while he took a few gigs with the Everly Brothers. Left alone to ruminate among the jagged peaks, Nicks conjured up all manner of pitfall and possibility.
She left to visit her folks for a bit for second opinion(s). Dad told her to give it more time and that he and her mother would be there for her whatever fate might befall. “Cool, I can do that”. Father then fell ill and underwent successful surgery.
Then back to Aspen with Buckingham, where they somehow found themselves in a beautiful house with a piano and – voila – out it poured. “Landslide I wrote on the guitar and it’s another one that I wrote in about five minutes”. Like how it takes only a few seconds to win the Olympic gold in the 100m dash. That and a gift, work, and inspiration.
Mountains can indeed be a place to see something about oneself. French alpinist Gaston Rebuffat said that they brought “before him a mirror of stone or ice, a mirror which helps us to get to know ourselves…” Same with relationships. Love is not always long requited. Bad shit will happen in both the physical and emotional realms.
The issue is how one handles what comes. Will he/she struggle past the mother and father complexes catalyzed in every youth – only after which can really begin the process of individuation? Or will they first lead to a twelve step program? Acceptance of the very real possibility for anxiety is preferable to giving up to depression and rage.
Well, children do indeed get older; I’m getting older too; and amazingly enough it does feel like time is making me bolder. Be interesting to see what happens next.
*And well woven such fabric can even cover up mixed or run-on metaphors…
**Covers. There have been a few. Dixie Chicks below. Their three part harmony is wonderful and I love myth and metaphor, but I prefer the video on top. The one below – not without some beautiful images – is too florid for me.