The Penguin Lyric Interpretations


Return To
The Penguin

Never Make Me Cry


Written by Christine McVie.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Jessica Morgan, Joanne, Les, Becky, blackcat and Villavic. Also thanks to Mari for posting portions of Heroes and Villains about Christine which was very useful for this interpretation.

"My best songs I write in half an hour. Like You'll Never Make Me Cry, I wrote that in half an hour." --Christine McVie, Tusk documentary

Why do women stay in situations where they are not happy and fulfilled? Why are they willing to let the men in their lives walk all over their feelings? This seems to be something that Christine McVie has experienced many a time. While not appearing to be directed toward anyone in particular, the words of "Never Make Me Cry" allow us to see into her head and heart. With its beautiful vocal and soft music, "Never Make Me Cry" is one of Christine McVie's most emotional songs ever, and does not fit with the generally quirky mood of the Tusk album.

While Christine is sort of the mother of Fleetwood Mac, and their stabilizing influence, her life outside the band was somewhat lonely around the time they were working on Tusk, according to the Heroes and Villains book. Christine presents the picture of a level-headed, sensible and intelligent person. Though she undoubtedly personifies all those adjectives, many feel that she is also someone who very much wants a man to take care of her. She herself has said that she has rarely been without male companionship. She would not be the only woman who, in spite of possessing great talent, feels unfulfilled and needs a relationship. This often leads them to settle for relationships that are far from ideal. Sometimes it takes a while to realize you deserve better.

Go and do what you want
I know that you have the need
You know that I'll wait, as long as it takes
So go and do what you want

When someone is in love, or thinks that they are, they often let the person that they love hurt them; they put up with more than they normally would. The simple lyrics tell us that she is letting this man go off to do what he needs to do, whatever that may be. She is putting him first, which is clearly not a courtesy he pays her in return. When he wants to be with her again, she'll still be waiting. She's aware that she is not the most important thing in his life, but she loves him enough to tolerate his selfishness.

You'll never make me
You'll never make me
You'll never make me cry

Perhaps she is resigned to her man's behavior and has decided to be strong. She doesn't want to let him know that she is hurting. Or she could be telling herself not to cry anymore over this guy. He is not going to change, but she loves him, so this is her way of comforting herself.

I may not mean everything
But I'm happy to have your love
So don't worry baby, I'll be alright
And I'll never make you
I'll never make you
I'll never make you cry.

While she doesn't come first with him, she knows that he does love her. If he doesn't love her as much as she loves him, that is fine. He might be afraid of getting hurt himself, so he has held back. She just wants to reassure him that she won't hurt him. He is probably going to leave her. She'll be fine, and won't make him feel guilty about the decision to move on.

Maybe this is just how Christine feels about men in general, her preface to any new relationship. They all treat her badly, they all put themselves first, and they all hurt her in the end. Even though she loves them so much and only wants love in return, all she gets is tears.

Christine's songs on Tusk have a different mood than those on past Fleetwood Mac albums. There are not many happy love songs. She is now starting to write from the point-of-view of a woman who does not have such an optimistic attitude about love anymore. Maybe she is jaded, maybe she is just being pessimistic, but she has been through a lot. Her breakup with John and the painful recording of Rumours probably gave her some very negative relationship experiences. She has seen love fail firsthand three times in a very short period: her own, Stevie's and Lindseys, and Mick's. She might be starting to believe that love has to hurt, so she is willing to accept it because she wants to be loved. "Never Make Me Cry" seems to embody the way she was feeling at the peak of a new era for Fleetwood Mac.

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

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