In Hear This, The A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, because it’s “Love Week” here at The A.V. Club, we’re picking our favorite songs to put on a mixtape.
Fleetwood Mac, “Think About Me” (1980)
Most people make mixtapes to express that slightly nauseous, excited feeling—akin to being first in line for a really scary-looking rollercoaster—that is the early stages of a crush. But if you’re like me and process most of your feelings through song lyrics, you’ve also made “You’re great but I need some space” mixtapes, “I’m using my crush on you to distract from some issues in my life I just can’t face right now” mixtapes, “Fuck you, I never want to see you again” mixtapes, “I like you purely on a sexual level” mixtapes, and even “Where is this going?” mixtapes.
The last, appropriately, leads us to Fleetwood Mac. Once, after the painful and protracted breakup of a long-term relationship, I decided to put myself out there and landed face-first into one of those “casual, open things” everyone is so into these days. Sometimes this was great, and we had a good time together (and separately). And sometimes I couldn’t look at Facebook without melting into a viscous, yellow puddle of anxious insecurity. So, as people tormented by their feelings are prone to do, I was listening to Tusk one day when “Think About Me” came on. And the chorus struck me like a slap in the face:
“I don’t hold you down / Maybe that’s why you’re around / But if I’m the one you love / Think about me”
A pretty simple request, right? Basically, Christine McVie—who wrote and sings the song—was a “cool girl” when Gillian Flynn was still learning her ABCs. “Hey,” the song says. “No pressure. We’ve got a nice upbeat rock tempo and a catchy chorus. We’re just having fun here.” McVie’s voice blends sweetly with those of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, and she lets his fuzzed-out guitar share equal space with her electric piano. But scratch the surface of the lyrics, and a bitter sarcasm begins to well up: “I believe that you really want me / But it’s not easy, just to give in,” she says, like “cool girls” do when we insist no, really, I don’t need to be your “girlfriend.” Just, you know, maybe text me back?
And that’s how the No. 20 song on the Billboard Hot 100 for the weeks of April 26 and May 3, 1980—a minor hit by anything less than Fleetwood Mac standards—came to anchor a mixtape with some pretty wild ups and downs, just like the situation. I never sent it, because that would have been too “intense.” But trust me, the transitions were killer.