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The Beatles "Blackbird" or Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird"?


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Initial post: Mar 17, 2013 12:30:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2013 12:35:47 PM PDT
Here's another close one (at least for me), but I think I have to go with "Blackbird" by a nose or two. Make that a beak or two... :)

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 12:37:11 PM PDT
Another choice between two five-star classics. But I have to go with "Songbird". Christine McVie, in spite of all her hits with FM, is still an underrated vocalist, she just melts your heart on that one. I also really love "Why" from the "Mystery To Me" album, that's another masterpiece that sort of prefigures "Songbird".

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 12:57:34 PM PDT
Hinch says:
Easy choice. Blackbird! Songbird isnt bad but not one of my favorite FM songs and I'm not a big fan of Christine's songs, although SB *is* one of her best.

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 1:14:21 PM PDT
J. Coco says:
"Blackbird".

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 1:31:02 PM PDT
Songbird for me..achingly beautiful and poignant..

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 1:43:34 PM PDT
I like Blackbird but Songbird is just beautiful. I love Christine's songs. Michael, I also like Why from Mystery To Me. Another lovely Christine ballad is You'll Never Make Me Cry on Tusk.

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 1:51:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2013 1:52:15 PM PDT
@Stephen Delia: yes, "You'll Never Make Me Cry" is another superb track. "Oh Daddy" and "Show Me A Smile" are also really great. I prefer the warm, slightly melancholy Christine of those songs over the peppy pop mistress of "Over My Head", "You Make Lovin' Fun", "Hold Me", etc. (although those songs are still catchy and good, I feel that as a songwriter she only equals the depth of Buckingham and Nicks on her melancholy ballads).

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 2:06:27 PM PDT
Blackbird is essental to making The White Album so great. Songbird, not as much for Rumours. imo

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 2:08:45 PM PDT
Christine's best writing is on "Tusk" and "You'll Never Make Me Cry" is so emotional you can almost hear her tears falling as she sings those words.

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 2:26:45 PM PDT
Exile, you got it!

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 2:33:29 PM PDT
For Exile and Stephen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEQxwiQZuog

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 2:49:03 PM PDT
Jevrick says:
Songbird.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 3:05:23 PM PDT
Hinch says:
Those 3 'peppy' songs are some of my favorite FM songs, esp 'Hold Me' from MIRAGE. Besides 'Gypsy' it's my favorite song on that album.

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 3:13:42 PM PDT
Jevrick says:
Some of McVie's best songs come from the Bob Welch period. "Why" has been mentioned. "Come a Little Bit Closer" is a gem. Then there's "Remember Me" and "Spare Me a Little of Your Love."

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 3:45:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2013 3:51:48 PM PDT
@Hinch: "Those 3 'peppy' songs are some of my favorite FM songs..."

I still like them--a lot--but they are a bit lightweight for my ears compared to other FM classics. Buckingham and Nicks knew how to make equally catchy and spirited pop songs, that also had some emotional resonance; McVie only seemed to be able to do so, IMO, on her ballads. Although given "Go Your Own Way"'s poor performance in the "Go All The Way/Go Your Own Way" matchup thread, I guess not as many people would agree with me as I would have originally thought. I think overplay is likely a factor in that.

The McVie song I really enjoy on "Mirage" is "Only Over You". The vocal harmonies are sublime.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 3:49:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2013 3:49:24 PM PDT
@Jevrick: If "Remember Me" or "Just Crazy Love" had appeared on one of the B/N-era albums, I have no doubt they would have been hits. They definitely set the template for her later hits. But I still prefer her ballads.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 4:15:16 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 18, 2014 8:49:17 PM PDT]

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 4:17:25 PM PDT
B L T says:
Easy, "Blackbird"

"Blackbird" or It's A Beautiful Day's "White Bird" would have been a tougher choice for me.

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 4:22:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2013 4:30:09 PM PDT
@Jevrick: "I disagree she didn't display any emotionalism on her uptempo songs."

Name even *one* where the primary sentiment wasn't "I'm in love and it feels great". Not that there's anything wrong with that--it's the stock-in-trade of most pop--but I wouldn't exactly call that emotional depth, at least not the way Christine writes them (she partly makes up for it in the ultra-catchy melodies and immaculate arrangements of her hits, however). By contrast, even when Stevie Nicks wrote songs ("Sara", "Leather And Lace") expressing the same idea, they wound up having more poetry and depth.

"Most of Fleetwood Mac's hits were McVie songs that weren't ballads."

This is true; exactly half of their top 20 hits (8 out of 16 total) were hers.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 4:45:48 PM PDT
Jevrick says:
Michael, OMG how can you say that? You've never been in love, have you? It's true, most of Christine's songs are love songs or relationship type songs but that doesn't mean they have no emotional depth. I remember her saying in an interview that she is an introvert and she doesn't write confessional songs ala Joni Mitchell and that is her choice. As far as Nicks is concerned, her lyrics are poetry but they're also gibberish, meaning nothing to a lot of people except herself. I wouldn't call that depth. I'm not knocking her, she's always been in her own little world, and that's fine for her. Her audience is fascinated by her but not all of them understand her. Anyway, you asked me to name one song by McVie that isn't a love song. Here's seven:

Homeward Bound
Bad Loser
Keep On Going
World Turning
Sugar Daddy
Oh Daddy
Hollywood

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 5:14:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2013 5:35:39 PM PDT
@Jevrick: "You've never been in love, have you?"

Don't be melodramatic or insulting. Personal experience in the subject matter of a song has nothing to do with an appreciation (or lack of) for the artistry of its composition. I'm gay, but I still happen to think Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" is a piece of dog-turd. If being in love is supposed to automatically make me like a song about being in love, then I would be required to like thousands and thousands of pop songs dealing in that, wouldn't I?

Like I said, the subject matter is fine but it's overused in pop, and it also depends on *how* such a song is written. I pointed out the differences between Christine's approach and Stevie's approach to the same "I'm in love and it feels great" subject matter, for a reason. I personally feel that "Sara" captures the wonder, mystery, and overwhelming nature of being in love, more than "Say You Love Me" does (and I like SYLM).

"It's true, most of Christine's songs are love songs or relationship type songs but that doesn't mean they have no emotional depth."

True--her ballads have emotional depth. Her pop songs--not really.

"I remember her saying in an interview that she is an introvert and she doesn't write confessional songs ala Joni Mitchell and that is her choice."

She's being too modest--her ballads like "Why" and "Songbird" are very confessional. She can be confessional when she wants to be. But I'm not just looking for "confessional" as a subject matter, a song doesn't have to be confessional to be well-written (case in point: anything by James Brown). It's just that I feel with Christine, she tends to write better when she is baring her soul a little, and for some reason she only chose to do that on her ballads.

"As far as Nicks is concerned, her lyrics are poetry but they're also gibberish, meaning nothing to a lot of people except herself."

Gibberish on the surface, maybe, but there's plenty of actual meaning there. It just takes more than an easy split-second to understand them--and I'd consider that one of Nicks' primary strengths, not a weakness.

"Anyway, you asked me to name one song by McVie that isn't a love song."

No, I asked you to name one of her *uptempo pop hits* that wasn't a love song (and not just a love song, but a song specifically about how great it is to be in love). The seven songs you listed do not fit in that category, only proving my point. Also, "Sugar Daddy" is ostensibly about a different kind of man, but its chorus ("but when it comes to loving, he'd better leave me alone, because I got you baby, and you give me all the love I need") goes right back to "I'm in love and it feels great".

I would give all of McVie's major uptempo pop hits from the classic FM era ("Say You Love Me", "Over My Head", "You Make Loving Fun", "Think About Me", "Hold Me") a solid four out of five stars, but there's a breezy, easy-listening, bubblegum-chewing quality to them that prevents them from being the kind of classic that floors me. Her pop songs are masterful in one sense, but slightly lacking in another (this is also something I feel about The Hollies' catalog--bright, shiny, catchy, spirited, but lightweight pop, solidly enjoyable listens but nothing that really makes my jaw drop). The one exception I can think of is "Don't Stop", which in spite of super-incredibly-massive overplay thanks to the Clintons, was in fact an uptempo number with a bit of emotional edge.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 5:30:36 PM PDT
Grandpa Tom says:
Exile:

You posted "..."You'll Never Make Me Cry" is so emotional you can almost hear her tears falling as she sings those words."

Very true. Brown Eyes is amazing, also. Jevrik mentioned another wonderful Christine compostion, "Spare Me A Little Of Your Love" off Bare Trees. I will add "One More Lonely Night" from the Live (1980) 2-disc album recorded during the TUSK tour.

My vote is for:

SONGBIRD

Only, if you haven't yet, check out Eva Cassidy's (RIP) performance. As incredible as Christine's performance is, Eva's will bring you to tears. Her version is quite possibly as beautiful as music can get.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFFo1pu4q7Q

All the Best,
GT

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 6:30:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2013 6:47:26 PM PDT
Jevrick says:
"If being in love is supposed to automatically make me like a song about being in love, then I would be required to like thousands and thousands of pop songs dealing in that, wouldn't I?"

Never once did I imply that. You're manipulating my points to suit your own ends. If you don't hear the joy and elation in McVie's singing these songs then I can't make you agree with me. These songs have plenty of emotion, and it doesn't matter how overused this subject is. It's timeless, and McVie's expression of this timeless emotion has resonated with many people. So what if she doesn't use all the fancy words that Nicks uses. That's actually a good thing because maybe for Christine being in love isn't such a "mystery." You cannot say her songs are emotionless without calling her a fraud. Do you think she's a fraud? All you hear in her songs is "Top 40 single" and that's too bad because I think you're missing out.

"Name even *one* where the primary sentiment wasn't "I'm in love and it feels great". Not that there's anything wrong with that--"

And that's exactly what I did. You didn't say anything about it being a hit or not. Who cares anyway? Your point was that Christine McVie never wrote any songs that weren't love songs which is flat out wrong. And if you say that wasn't your point then you have a funny way of making your point. The emphasis in "Sugar Daddy" is on material needs: cash, whiskey, fine dining and fine transportation. Yes, the line "I got you and you give me all the love I need" is in there but in the fadeout she sings repeatedly "I'm not asking for love." I stick by my opinion this isn't one of her love songs.

"Gibberish on the surface, maybe, but there's plenty of actual meaning there."

And no two people will listen to a Stevie Nicks song and come to the same conclusions. "Sara" is a good example. There is meaning in there, but it's what you take from it and apply to yourself. Nicks keeps a lot of secrets too and doesn't always reveal the meanings of her songs. She has revealed a little bit about "Sara" though. "Sara" is about a real person named Sara, not someone Nicks was in love with. It's also about Mick Fleetwood, who ironically ended up marrying the real Sara. Unless you've been channeling Nicks' spirit you can't claim to know what all her songs are about.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 8:00:31 PM PDT
Hinch says:
''White Bird'' Great song! Haven't heard it in many years.

Posted on Mar 17, 2013 8:04:46 PM PDT
I think that Stevie Nicks and hristine McVie are both very different kinds of songwriters and it is that variation they helped FM be the great group they were. (and of course Lindsay's songs too) I think Christine writes better ballads. I think Stevie writes better lyrics. I enjoy Christine' s uptempo songs as well. Say You Love Me and You Make Loving Fun are great songs! Also mentioned was two other gem's, from Bare Trees, (one of the groups best albums) Spare Me A Little Of Your Lovin. And One More Lonely Night on the live album (but a studio recording) You might like one over the other and personally I like Christine's songs a little better than Stevies but ultimately within the frame of Fleetwood Mac they give the group very nice balance.
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Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  24
Total posts:  81
Initial post:  Mar 17, 2013
Latest post:  May 29, 2013

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