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I'm So Afraid

Lyrics Guitar Tabs

Written by Lindsey Buckingham.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Sarah G., Ann, BN, Hayley, Janet, Joanne, Lauren (double thanks), Leah Kindsey, Leigh, Ryan Brown, and Villavic.

The only way to remotely understand Lindsey Buckingham is through his music and actually being at one with it. From the opening drum beats, to the last high pitched wails, "I'm So Afraid" is a very powerful song. Is it depressing? Is it not depressing? Read the lyrics without the music. It is sheer poetry. Read the words with the music. It is sheer perfection. But what makes this song? Could it be what was happening to Lindsey at the time? Maybe. Could it be what had happened earlier in his life? Maybe again. Lindsey sounds depressed. He sounds alone and he sounds afraid. Yes, we target that, especially the "slip and I fall and I die" line. I guess only Lindsey knows what he was feeling at the time. He's had such a long journey since 1971, around the time the song was actually written.

Within that year he had mono and had more than ample time to do whatever he wanted. But really he didn't. Confined to the comforts of your own home, when you are away from home, you want to be home. When you're home you want to be gone. Lindsey was trapped. With his sickness, he couldn't just stand up and say, "Hey, I'm going to the mall, see ya later!" It doesn't really work this way. So he lays on the floor and practices his guitar and writes some songs. One of the outcomes: "I'm So Afraid."

I been alone
All the years
So many ways to count the tears
I never change
I never will
I'm so afraid the way I feel

Obviously, he's not at peace with himself. He's searching for something, but do we know what? Did he know what? More than likely, he was trying to reach the musical height he wanted. Lindsey is a perfectionist. He's said so himself. But let's look at this from a different angle. "I've been alone all the years." If you have brothers and sisters or step-brothers and step-sisters, you can understand that you're not always getting the attention you deserve, you get used to that. But when you're in a band, like Lindsey had just finished a stint with, (Fritz) you want attention. You don't want to be that guy playing the guitar. Stevie got the attention with that band, and that made the other guys feel left out or alone. But Lindsey doesn't think he will ever get the attention he knows he deserves, hence "I never change, I never will."

Days when the rain and the sun are gone
Black as night
Agony's torn at my heart too long
So afraid
Slip and I fall and I die

Of course the rain and sun aren't physically gone. They will never be gone. But to Lindsey, they are. If you've ever been depressed, you know that you're completely numb. You don't feel anything but sorrow, pain, and self-pity. He feels alone, as we know already, but to the point where he thinks he's the only one in the universe. "Agony's torn at my heart too long," explains that he's beyond the snapping point. He's scared. "Slip and I fall and I die," is his way of telling us that he in fact did reach a breaking point. Maybe with mono, maybe with Stevie, maybe with his music. If he were to slip, fall, and die, since he feels alone in the world, would anyone know? Would anyone care?

I been alone
Always down
No one cared to stay around
I never change
I never will
I'm so afraid the way I feel.

These lines hit you like a brick. Short and to the point. Again, this leads me to believe he's been alone in his own little world. "Always down," signifies that he's not feeling very sunshiny. "No one cared to stay around." That's the one that really gets you. People come into your life, people leave your life. This is what has happened to Lindsey. Maybe siblings, maybe band-mates, maybe girlfriends. "God knows what," as Christine has said before. "I never change, I never will." He's telling himself, again, that he's not going to change, he can't. "I'm so afraid the way I feel." Would you not feel afraid if, 1) the doctors didn't know what was going on with you, yet you still felt awful. 2) You're not getting the musical credit you deserve, and 3) If you were depressed and couldn't snap out of it. I know I would feel afraid. No doubt Lindsey did too, that's what this means to me.

Days when the rain and the sun are gone
Black as night
Agony's torn at my heart too long
So afraid
Slip and I fall and I die.

The rain and sun are still there, just not to Lindsey. It is "black as night," in his soul. "Agony's torn at my heart too long," tells us he is finally admitting this not only to himself, but to us. "So afraid." Of himself? Of his music? Of what? Mr. Buckingham knows. "Slip and I fall and I die." Maybe he doesn't die physically, but his spirit does. His spirit in his music, his spirit in his social life, his spirit and belief in himself.

This song has always been one of my favorites. Maybe it's not the most uplifting and most beautiful songs in the world, but it gets Lindsey's point across. And it does it quite well. When we're sitting in the car listening to it or watching it on video, we just sing along. But do we really think about the words. I don't. I'm just singing them. But actually sitting down and ripping the song up bit by bit and deciphering it, that really makes you think. So deep, so profound. Wow. It is my understanding also, that a lot of people have never heard this song. People that don't have the Fleetwood Mac album, Fleetwood Mac Live, and The Dance haven't heard it before they had these albums. They don't understand. How can they if we don't?

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

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