Song of the Week
Stevie Nicks wrote this song in 1974 during a difficult period of her life. She was working as a waitress and growing tired of living in poverty while making her album. Her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham was taking a downward turn because of this lack of money and she was at a breaking point. The song itself is about facing challenges and big changes in life. This song is a mystery for a lot of people and I am excited to dive into it with you today!
The song starts with its famous chorus. “I took my love, I took it down / Climbed a mountain and I turned around / And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills / When the landslide brought me down.” In the first line she is admitting to herself that her love with Buckingham is failing and it’s partially her fault. The mountain seems to be an analogy to life; a long uphill journey. Seeing her reflection in the snow is her realizing who she has become. The realization that she is in a relationship she doesn’t want to be in and a job she doesn’t want to be doing. She did write this song in Aspen which is covered in snow which explains the snowy hill analogy. Realizing this for her emotionally must have been devastating as she compared it to being hit by a landslide.
The first verse is as follows. ” Oh, mirror in the sky / what is love? / Can the child within my heart rise above? / Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? / Can I handle the seasons of my life?” The mirror in the sky I think she is referring to is asking the universe or whatever religious or secular figure she would ask unknown questions to in the sky. She is questioning her entire life and her strength to push through the rough parts. These are things many people ask themselves throughout life. Is she in love with Buckingham or does she even know what love feels like? She also mentions the child in her heart referring to her past self most likely meaning someone who is happy, fun and has hope for the future. She is looking inside herself to find this person but is lost and unable to find her way back to them.
In the second verse she goes deeper into the reasons why she hasn’t made the changes she feels she needs to. “Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’ / ‘Cause I’ve built my life around you / But time makes you bolder / Children get older / I’m getting older too.” When you are in a routine with someone and bound by things like poverty or making an album together is hard and terrifying to walk away. She would have to give up her livelihood and music career to be free. The time makes you bolder line is saying that the longer you are in a situation like this the easier it seems to make the change. Her saying she is getting older is her saying she feels she is almost ready to do just that. There is also a hint of existentialism and realizing her life is passing her by. She is the only one who can make these changes and she does not have all the time in the world.
The rest of the song is a repeat of those lyrics but I would like to point out one last thing she does at the end. She brings the song full circle and lets people know that they are not alone if they are feeling this way, relating to the audience. “And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills / Well, the landslide will bring you down.” She brings you onto that snowy hill with her and says the realization is good to have but it will hit like a wall of snow. At least Stevie Nicks is right there with you.