Friday, June 8, 2012

Fleetwood Mac - "Hypnotized" From the Album Mystery to Me

Truth be told, Fleetwood Mac and I have never really seen eye to eye. When I was growing up, at a time when Rumours was ubiquitous, the teenage metalhead and/or prog freak I purposely molded myself into wasn't part of their demographic. Not even close. And now that I more closely match that (older, white, politically liberal?) demographic, the ship that might have once done the soft California rock thing for me has long since sailed.

I may not hate them, but--with the one exception I'm getting to in my typically slow fashion--Fleetwood Mac's influence on my listening habits has been next to nil. "Rhiannon" and "Don't Stop" and the rest of the Mac's massive seventies radio hits have been like neutrinos, all around me, unavoidable, yet so wispy and insubstantial that they've passed through me inert and whole, colliding with nothing of myself, reacting with nothing at all I keep internal.

Words are funny things. Rotate them a quarter turn, and all their nuance changes. I dismiss Fleetwood Mac by saying they're "insubtantial," but 90 degrees away from insubstantial is "ethereal," and ethereal can produce a very nice feeling indeed.

"Hypnotized" is, I think, Fleetwood Mac rotated their own quarter turn.

It's the same kind of story
That seems to come down from long ago
Two friends having coffee together
When something flies by their window
It might be out on that lawn
Which is wide, at least half of a playing field
Because there's no explaining what your imagination
Can make you see and feel

Seems like a dream
They got me hypnotized

Now it's not a meaningless question
To ask if they've been and gone
I remember a talk about North
Carolina and a strange, strange pond
You see the sides were like glass
In the thick of a forest without a road
And if any man's hand ever made that land
Then i think it would've showed

Seems like a dream
They got me hypnotized

They say there's a place down in Mexico
Where a man can fly over mountains and hills
And he don't need an airplane or some kind of engine
And he never will
Now you know it's a meaningless question
To ask if those stories are right
'cause what matters most if the feeling
You get when you're hypnotized

Seems like a dream
They got me hypnotized

Cadres of English blues fans and Peter Green cultists probably curse the name of Bob Welch for the band's detour into Yacht Rock after Welch arrived.

Fine. But to me, Welch's standing as one of the seventies' premier songwriters is cemented by this song and this song alone. And if it's Yacht Rock so be it. Van Morrison and Stevie Nicks and scores of Druid metal acts have attempted to shine a light Into the Mystic, but none, I think, have illuminated that foggy inconstant world quote so well as "Hypnotized."

what matters most if the feeling
You get when you're hypnotized
Hell, there are books written on the subject that don't get it so right. I don't truly believe that Don Juan ever levitated or that space aliens created a lake in the Carolina woods or that a Mothman flew over Point Pleasant or that that malign spirits ever crept over the sandy floors of the Chase Vaults.

But there's a little dreamy fugue we all enter when just thinking about these fantastical and sadly unreal things, isn't there? If these things are not real, at least they can give us this wonderful, fleetingly-grasped, dreamy fugue state.

What's remarkable about "Hypnotized," its music, its lyrics, is it's another transport in.

The fugue, the trance, it's just like the daydream reverie you feel when Bob Weston's atmospheric guitar fills fly by. It's just like the slightly unreal shimmer that Mick Fleetwood's triple-time beats can bring to things, and it's just like the mysterious soft keen of Welch's and McVie's voices combining, just slightly offtune, just slightly outside the sad and boring reality we're all forced to inhabit.

RIP Bob Welch


TAD said...

Hey, welcome back!
I was pretty suprised by Bob Welch's suicide. I don't know much of his songwriting work with The Mac -- mainly just this song. But summa his solo stuff was pretty good -- "Sentimental Lady," more Yacht Rock, and a cover of an old Mac song. But his solo album THE OTHER ONE had a great 2nd side -- "Future Games" (another Mac cover), "Old Man of 17," "Love Came 2x," & a couple others -- good stuff.
I agree "Hypnotized" is nice & spacey -- love those choruses. & tho it's nice 2 hear, it's not even my favorite on that album. My fave is Christine McVie's "Why?" which I think is just heartbreaking, & gorgeous.
I'd also suggest Mac's catalog is well worth looking in2, from "Oh Well" & "Green Manalishi" all the way up 2 SAY YOU WILL. I've found good stuff on each album I've heard. I'd also agree with you that summa their hit singles sucked....
Glad 2 see you writing again. Can we Xpect more...?

Let's Find H-Man A Wife said...

Great, great song