Monday, March 4, 2013

Track of the Week: Lykke Li, "Silver Springs"

There are rare cover versions that match or surpass the originals, and I'll put Lykke Li's cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Silver Springs" in that category.  It's one of my favorite tracks of the past year, and one I can't stop playing, despite its painful associations.

The original is one of the great outtakes of all time, dropped from the Mac's classic Rumours at the last minute due to the limited running time allowed on vinyl.  That album was famously marked by personal turmoil in the band, including the breakup of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.  Buckingham got his version of events committed to wax and turned into a hit song via "Go Your Own Way."  I hear "Silver Springs" as Nicks' response, one based more in pain rather than bitterness, a pain too raw to be fodder for the charts.  That might be the real reason, beyond album length, that this song wasn't included on the record.

I think "Silver Springs" is one of the best songs ever written from the point of view of a jilted lover, and the line "I could have loved you but you would not let me" tears into my heart.  Lykke Li's cover builds wonderfully to the emotional climax, and when she sings about how her old lover will be haunted by her memory forever, you believe it.

However, the song doesn't resonate with my experience being jilted, but rather how I cruelly treated my first love back in college.  I didn't cheat or anything like that, but I did withdraw my emotional commitment in a snap, in what must have felt to her like an emotional mugging.  I've gone on to find my one true love, but the ghosts of loves past and the sins of the heart I committed still haunt me from time to time, especially when I hear this song.

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