The enduring strength of Stevie Nicks' 'Rooms on Fire' - Music News


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The enduring strength of Stevie Nicks’ ‘Rooms on Fire’

Everyone loves Fleetwood Mac, to the point where they’re becoming just as embodied in the culture of millennials as they are in generations before us. You can stop anyone in the street and they’ll have a favourite song by Fleetwood Mac, and likely a personal connection to it to boot. Fleetwood Mac’s lyricism transcends time and generational boundaries, as it’s all real, it’s not farfetched and every single person can relate to their words. Not all of us have ended up in a band with our lovers, gone through the worst of patches together, all whilst fueled entirely by the best cocaine available, but the problems and issues raised in ‘classic’ Fleetwood Mac albums, like Rumours, Tango in the Night and Tusk, are innately personal. Now, this isn’t going to be yet another thinkpiece about Fleetwood Mac written by someone born long after what most consider their prime, rather it’s going to be a focus on one particular member- Stevie Nicks.

Stevie Nicks is almost synonymous with Fleetwood Mac, in truth she is the enduring icon of the band, if not for her talent or witchy proclivity, but for her manner of worming her way into every generation’s pop culture. You’ll catch her this season on American Horror Story, as well as being portrayed by Thorgy Thor in Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 earlier this year, which is also the source of ‘WORK, STEVIE  YOU BETTER WORK!’, a meme I’m a big fan of.

Stevie has become a vision of the best era of music, she’s become the face of talent for some. For me, she’s a musician I highly revere and have begun to respect above all others, not just as she’s talented beyond belief, but because even when she seems some distant figure, we can feel like we know her. I learn more about her each day, through her discography that I’ve been trawling through, or via various interviews over the years, many revealing intimate details of Fleetwood Mac’s touring life and the wild ride they’ve been on.

From Stevie’s perspective, it’s all so different. Imagine joining a band with your boyfriend, everything is peachy, and as you hit success, things personally take a huge downturn and everything is difficult. From then on, your entire life is oft boiled down to a brief ten or so year period that defined the rest of it. In this sense, Stevie’s life has always reminded me of Carrie Fisher’s. Both hit fame young, both battled addiction and are often remembered and celebrated for a small period of their career and lived a lives unlike almost anyone else on the planet.

And that’s why ‘Rooms on Fire’ is my spotlight choice today. In her own words, Stevie describes the song as being about ‘a girl who goes through a life like I have gone through, where she finally accepts the idea that there never will be those other things in her life. She will never be married, she will never have children, she will never do those [that] part of life.’ And is too inspired by her brief relationship with Rupert Hine, as Stevie took their connection to be plainly obvious to all around whenever they walked into a room.

Despite being one of Stevie Nicks’ most popular songs to this date with streamers, according to Spotify plays at least, ‘Rooms on Fire’ has not been performed live since 1999. Maybe she’s moved past this era of her life, but the passion and emotion that this song invokes will live on. I truly believe this very well could be one of the greatest love songs ever written, it’s deep and meaningful, without the overly sappy, hopeful or depressing tone that many take. It’s an honest account of a famous woman accepting that she can never have the life many dream of, and for a fleeting moment, she meets someone with whom she can imagine this life with. Of course, Stevie never really did settle down, never had children, and is still living the rockstar life, currently on tour in the US with a few Europe dates next year.

‘She had trusted many, but been unfamiliar with almost everyone but you’

Stevie’s vulnerability make ‘Rooms on Fire’ the complete song it is. Everyone has put her on a pedestal her for years, as a superstar, as someone living both their dreams and their truth, but underneath the surface, below the sheen of rock and roll fame is someone wondering if all this is worth the cost of love and familial bonds.

Whatever the case, Stevie Nicks remains as one of the most iconic figures in music. She is currently nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s looking like she’ll succeed as she’s number two in the fan voting round, leaving all else below her far off.

David Thomas
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