The Penguin Lyric Interpretations


Return To
The Penguin

Frozen Love


Written by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Carlene, Spirit, AJ, Lauren and Silver Springs (and thanks to Keith, Paul and Anusha for the songwriting discussion).

In interpreting any form of poetry, whether it be musical or otherwise, it is important to not only consider how the words reflect the writer's experience but how those words speak in a general, universal way to the rest of us. "Frozen Love," a track from the 1973 album Buckingham Nicks, is a song where the haunting imagery allows for a lively discussion of the personal relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, but, when disconnected from their love/hate saga, it firmly stands on its own as a poignant testament of how we all, at one time or another, want to preserve that perfect love.

Most Fleetwood Mac fans are familiar with how the song "Frozen Love" changed not only the fortunes of struggling musicians Buckingham and Nicks, but of the band itself. After hearing the final track from Buckingham Nicks as a demonstration of a recording studio's facilities, Mick Fleetwood was sold on the talents---at least initially---of only one-half of the duo. "We're a package deal," Lindsey is said to have told Mick when he was asked to join Fleetwood Mac. The fact that Lindsey did not abandon Stevie to join the band is relevant when the couple's competitive nature is understood. In a 1984 BBC radio interview, Lindsey explained how their relationship worked: "Stevie and I, even when we were lovers, we never were really best friends. [W]e've always competed...ever since we started going together back in 1971. [There was always] tension on a musical level...even though we were excellent lovers, we were competitors as well." So why then didn't Lindsey leave Stevie behind? When approached as a play-by-play of Stevie and Lindsey's relationship, "Frozen Love" answers the above question. More realistically, when viewed as a poem without referencing the performers' personal baggage, the lyrics smack us in the face with a truth to which we all can relate.

The difficulty in deciphering "Frozen Love" lies in the fact that we don't know who wrote which lines. In a separate discussion, it was determined that Stevie wrote the lyrics, but, having been so impressed with Lindsey's blistering guitar work, offered him songwriting credit. For the sake of discussion, let us assume this is the case.

You may not be as strong as me
And I may not care to teach you
It may be hard to keep up with me
But I'll always be able to reach you

The first verse, sung by Lindsey, sets the tone for the song. It may be a reference to their "competitive spirit" where Stevie acknowledges Lindsey's talent and his role as "leader" of their duo. Nonetheless, he sings, "I'll always be able to reach you." If these words are true to the couple's relationship, it is apparent that despite their musical differences, they intend to be there for each other. A contributor expressed this idea succinctly: "I'm telling you now that although we are going in different directions, don't ever doubt that I love you." A year later, when Lindsey was asked to join Fleetwood Mac, he essentially repeated the sentiment expressed in this first verse ("We're a package deal"). Mick's offer of employment was not a consideration if it did not involve Stevie. In a more general interpretation, this verse speaks to the idea that, in a relationship, there is oftentimes one person "stronger" than the other, one with all the answers who always seems to make things right. It is human nature not to want to relinquish that power: "I may not care to teach you." By revealing our secrets, we fear that our loved one is not so dependent upon us anymore; we want to feel needed so we try to keep that "edge" in the relationship. This verse offers a nod to this notion. When a dependency (emotional, musical or otherwise) is mutually understood between two people, the relationship does not suffer because the status quo is maintained.

And if you go forward, I'll meet you there
And if climb up through the cold freezing air
Look down below you; search out above
And cry out to life for a frozen love

The promise to be together no matter the circumstance is reinforced in the refrain. As far as Stevie and Lindsey's quest for stardom is concerned, the lines appear to be an affirmation that if they "make it," it will be together. The "cold freezing air" may be a reference to troubles which undoubtedly make the journey difficult; but again, one does not have to look far for comfort. There is, however, a pause for concern in that it is hard to determine what is "frozen love." The possibility exists that it could be a negative reference, but it was overwhelmingly decided that the phrase refers to love being frozen in time. This interpretation remains consistent with the tone initially established in the first verse and the first line of the refrain. As Stevie and Lindsey's voices intertwine around each other's, they are reminding themselves that, when the going gets tough, they must remember the time when they had that constant, "perfect love." It was discussed that in desiring a frozen love, it is essentially a wish to "keep their love the way it was then." This idea can be relevant in our own lives and relationships as well. What could be a stronger emotional boost than to recall the days when a relationship was at its best? Wouldn't we all like to freeze that time and live happily ever after? And, most importantly, what would it take in us---what price would we pay---to honestly keep that strong love alive in our relationships?

Life gave me you; the change was made
And there's no beginning over
You are not happy, but what is love?
Hate gave you me for a lover...

Curveball thrown. The differences between the couple were already established and accepted...they desired to seek strength in their what is this? Sung by Stevie, this verse is the cold blast that makes you sit up and take notice. In watching Stevie and Lindsey's turbulent relationship grow darker on the screen before us, we can almost hear the reel snap at the stinging words "Hate gave you me for a lover." Each contributor noted that the first two lines are Stevie's way of reminding Lindsey that since they have known and loved each other, there is no turning back and their lives have been changed forever. As described by one contributor, "There's no way to start this relationship over, what's done is done." We, too, can appreciate this reminder; our lives are affected by those we have known (and loved) along the way, whether it be for better or for worse. We cannot change the fact that those experiences help to make us who we are. The third and fourth lines, however, become problematic. These lines are reminders of the "intensity of their relationship and that love/hate thing we all love to analyze so much," explains a contributor. Another idea raises the notion of happiness and love being one and the same. Stevie Nicks, as writer of this saga, would have us believe otherwise. "Is that what love's all about, making you happy?" she seems to ask Lindsey. Perhaps the troubles previously endured (the "freezing air") were not as easily overcome as we had thought. We can envision the scene: a young, brooding, unhappy Lindsey Buckingham obsesses over his music as his equally young and ambitious girlfriend, because her dream is inexorably linked to his, cannot offer him the comfort he desires. Stevie, in interviews years later, has said as much while discussing her relationship with Lindsey. The last line hisses its sentiment as Stevie, in a dark moment in the relationship, reminds her lover that hate brought them together. It is such a strong statement that it is hard not to wonder if the entire song is negative despite its few glimmers of hope. This line feeds perfectly into Lindsey's revelation, eleven years later, that he and Stevie were never "best friends" but were "excellent lovers." Could this line have been born from the couple's professional competition (i.e., "I'm going to be a thorn in your side forever"), thus becoming a possible precursor to Stevie's "Silver Springs"? Again, this song demands that we look to our own relationships. Do we equate love with happiness? If one is not happy, does the love disappear? One contributor paraphrased another Stevie Nicks song which mentions the mingling of "passion" and "anger"; can the two coexist and a relationship still flourish? "At what point does it become too much?"

And if you go forward, I'll meet you there
And if you climb up through the cold freezing air
Look down below you; search out above
And cry out to life for a frozen love

After the refrain is repeated and Lindsey performs a guitar solo, which is as biting as Stevie's lyrics, the couple sing again this refrain which originally sounded so positive. Does it remain so after listening to Stevie sing about not being happy, their destiny ("like it or not") and the "hate" which seems to drive them? Perhaps it does. It may represent the healing she and Lindsey are reminding us not to lose sight of. We are aware that maintaining any type of relationship is difficult and that many factors play a role in those relationships; the challenge is to understand and accept those differences and, when everything seems unbearable, to recall the best days of the love that is forever frozen in time.

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

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