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Doing What I Can

Lyrics

Written by Lindsey Buckingham.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Hayley, Lauren, Janet, Stewy, Ali, Mo, blackcat, Barbara II, and Joanne.


Sometimes considered "Big Love Part II," Lindsey Buckingham's 'Doing What I Can' is an intense description of post-Fleetwood Mac blues, depression (both personal and creative), and a feeling of both resignation and perseverance.

This song, from Buckingham's first project after leaving Fleetwood Mac, 1992's Out Of The Cradle, is a guitar-driven song with a beat behind it that is reminiscent of the songs off of his 1984 (and previous) solo album, Go Insane. The song is filled with an often-confusing lightness/darkness imagery.

Falcon sits
Out on grey rock
Slow death shakes
The ticking of the tock

The falcon may represent a force in Lindsey's life that is waiting for him to falter-to make a wrong move, and is waiting for the opportunity to prey on the weak (Lindsey). Lindsey feels time going by slowly, as if its purpose is to make his decline into depression both agonizingly slow and painful.

I go to sleep
Things left undone
I go to sleep now
And fly into the sun

Sleep is an escape for Lindsey, as when he sleeps, he feels at peace with himself. Sleeping for him is an escape from the anxiety and other emotions he feels. Lindsey has stated he is a perfectionist to the maximum degree and the line 'things left undone' means that he has too much on his mind and he feels that he will become a failure if he does not have completion. As an antithesis to this failure, is the symbolism of the sun as a positive force, representing something warm and bright. A new day. He will face this new day when he arises.

Oh, the sun is bright
But not too bright to see
When the darkness comes you've got to fly into the light
And what will be will be

Again, the sun is positive and bright and emits a happy feeling. When a person is depressed they feel as if they will never be happy again, no matter what. Lindsey sees the light, he sees he is capable of being happy again, but it's hard to find that light. It doesn't shine bright enough. He knows that it all comes down to making a choice for yourself, and when depression comes you need to find your way to happiness, and is willing to take the result of his struggle no matter what it is.

Oh, the sun is hot
A man is just a man
When the darkness comes you've got to do with what you've got
I'm doing what I can

Lindsey is just a man. He is nothing more, and nothing more should be expected of him. He is doing what he can in life and not wanting to have anything else expected of him.

Laughing in my sleep
Dancing on the stone
Waiting here for something
Something I don't know

Again, Lindsey is happy, even carefree, in his sleep. The stone could be another word for the 'grey rock' at the beginning of the song. If so, Lindsey is "dancing" (celebrating) over what remains of his former predator's perch.

Deep in the darkness
I go to sleep
I pray the lord
My soul to keep

Lindsey sleeps at night and hopes that the darkness doesn't become part of him. He wants to fly back into the light. The 'I pray the Lord/My soul to keep' is significant in that it means he doesn't want to the dark to get him when his guard is down.

Oh, the sun is bright
But not too bright to see
When the darkness comes you've got to fly into the light
And what will be will be
Oh, the sun is hot
A man is just a man
When the darkness comes you've got to do with what you've got
I'm doing what I can

Lindsey is simply doing what he can to be happy. He looks to the sun to keep him safe, and knows that you should never let the darkness get to you.

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

Copyright 1995-2001, Martin and Lisa Adelson
All Rights Reserved.