View Full Version : Song Analysis: Landslide by Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins
05-24-2001, 12:10 AM
I don't actually have an analysis to offer, but I'm hoping that someone else might. I have enough drama and comedy in my life and I'm just looking for a little bit of fluff! Does anyone have any ideas what the song is referring to? It was previously recorded by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and the lyrics start out:
"Took my love, took her down, climbed the mountain, I turned around, and I saw my reflection in a snow covered hill, till the landslide brought it down"
Is the song talking about aging (can you sail through the changing ocean tide, can you hand over seasons of my life?)??
ANY MUSINGS ARE WELCOME!!
05-24-2001, 01:18 AM
My roommate in college in 1977 swore it was about being addicted to cocaine re the "landslide" "snow" and "mirror" allusions.
This person has another opinion...
"LANDSLIDE - 1975
Presented by Debby Vincelett on September 2, 1998
"I TOOK MY LOVE, I TOOK IT DOWN
CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN AND I TURNED AROUND.
I SAW MY REFLECTION IN THE SNOW COVERED HILLS
'TILL THE LANDSLIDE BROUGHT ME DOWN."
These words from "Landslide" by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac have as much meaning to me today as they did 25 years ago when the song was first released. I was 25 years younger then and a lot has changed for me; but a lot has remained the same.
A while ago I was driving in my car with my daughter, Megan, who is 15. We were listening to one of her favorite radio stations so I was surprised when "Landslide" began to play. Almost simultaneously we said, "This is my favorite song."
I looked at her in amazement as we listened to the rest of the song and sang along together. We had bridged the generation gap with a song! When the song was over I asked Megan what the song meant to her.
She told me the woman was singing about her father, who had died. "I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills" meant that she could see her father's face in the mountainside. "Till the landslide takes you down," meant he had died. The landslide represents death - regeneration.
I thought for a few minutes about what the song meant to me…
"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 song asks about love and about the goals of one's heart. It is about changes in love over time. And it's about growing older and gaining maturity and confidence.
"WELL, I'VE BEEN AFRAID OF CHANGING
'CAUSE I'VE BUILT MY LIFE AROUND YOU.
BUT TIME MAKES YOU BOLDER
EVEN CHILDREN GET OLDER
AND I'M GETTING OLDER TOO."
And the song is about the breakup of a relationship, possibly a marriage. The woman has lived her life sharing a man's goals instead of concentrating her own. But now she is on her own and beginning a new life. The differences between Megan's interpretation and mine can also be considered similarities. We both see the ending of a relationship, a death of sorts or in the real sense - a LANDSLIDE. We are hearing the same words and yet getting a different interpretation, based on our life's experience - mine of nearly a half century, hers of only 15 years.
"OH, TAKE MY LOVE, TAKE IT DOWN
CLIMB A MOUNTAIN AND TURN AROUND.
IF YOU SEE MY REFLECTION IN THE SNOW COVERED HILLS
WELL THE LANDSLIDE WILL BRING IT DOWN."
I started thinking about the many changes that have taken place since I was Megan's age. Girls have opportunities today that were just dreams for the girls of my generation. A woman no longer is told she needs to marry have a meaningful life. My husband and I have always encouraged Megan to pursue whatever she wanted regardless of the fact she is female. She truly believes that she can do and be whatever she desires.
Last year Megan wrote an essay about her career goals. She said, "I hope to become a doctor because I want to help people. My parents have never told me I can't do something because I'm a girl. When I tell them my plans, they just say, "You're going to have to work hard, but you can do it!"
Will Megan ever deal with the female identity crisis I have struggled with all my adult life? I doubt it! Megan already knows herself better that I did when I was already married. Had my mother encouraged me I probably would not have married so young before completing my education and making my career decisions.
The girls of today have a level of self-awareness unknown to most girls 25 years ago. They have enough self-esteem to help them overcome barriers our generation was barely aware of. The woman's movement and feminism brought a level of equality; but it has taken over a generation to achieve. I believe the young women of today are on their way to greatness and I can hardly wait to see their achievements in this new century!
The Landslide - DEATH - has to happen before a rebirth can take place. I can see that regeneration taking place right before my eyes - In my own daughter's face.
"IF YOU SEE MY REFLECTION IN THE SNOW COVERED HILLS
WELL THE LANDSLIDE WILL BRING IT DOWN."
This seems like a IMHO question, but before it moves,
On Stevie Nicks's live (unplugged?) version, she introduces the song with "This is for my father", which would fit in with some of the analysis above.
Here http://members.tripod.com/~FMFanatic/main.html is another interpretation (scroll down):
Stevie Nicks wrote this song in Aspen, Colorado in 1974 before she and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac. This was at a time in her life when she wasn't sure if her musical career was going anywhere. I take the song to mean that she was afraid of the changes that were going on in her life. She had built her life around this musical dream and at this point, she was afraid that a "landslide" was going to bring her dreams down.
05-24-2001, 10:52 AM
Wow, what a great story about your daughter, It's kinda nice to hear that pop culture can have a positive effect, whatever the media may be, and whatever the doomsayers preach, our shared experiences bind us, even a song - oh yeah, and thanks for clearing up the lyrics, now I can go around singing(when nobody's around of course)with the full confidence of knowing I've got the right words, and not just what I think I hear!
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