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Paper Doll

Lyrics Real Audio

Written by Stevie Nicks.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Leigh, Stephanie M, Joanne, Janet, Justine.

The song "Paper Doll" was released as a single from 25 Years- The Chain boxed set in 1992 and was written by Stevie Nicks. The song featured a video in which clips from the last 25 years of Fleetwood Mac were cut and pasted together. The song has a somewhat classic Stevie story line-- it's about someone in her life but we don't know and can't really decide who-- Perhaps the song is about Lindsey Buckingham, her ex-lover, who became part of Stevie's life once again in 1992 because of the fact that Fleetwood Mac sung at Bill Clinton's Inauguration. As the song continues on, it seems to gain a historical story line-- as if Stevie is telling the story of how she felt about Lindsey during her years in Fleetwood Mac. It seems as though the silver anniversary of Fleetwood Mac gave Stevie time to sit back and think about her past relationship.

You like a man with a future
You like a woman with a past
Well do you really believe that
She said to the faces in the crowd

This lyric could be Stevie talking about the old double standard that men aren't bound by what they do but that women get chastised for whatever their behavior is. Probably the most personal lyrics of the entire song, Stevie may also be venting at the fact that society as displayed her in less than perfect light; that no matter how many of her lovers have been drug addicts or womanizers, she continuously is the one the gets blamed or called names. "The faces in the crowd" line probably refers to society, possibly even Stevie's fans, or even just gossip hungry Hollywood types who can't wait to get a good story about who slept with who and which woman is a "slut."

And even if you did miss me
You never let me know
You prefer to be just a little bit
In and Out of love with me
and not to scream and shout
You prefer to be
Just a little bit in and out of agony

Whomever this song is about seems to have hurt her by keeping her guessing so much. But by saying that he is "just a little bit in and out of agony", she realizes that he is hurt by the decision that he has to make just as much as she is. She just wishes that he could open up to her a little bit more. These lyrics may be about Lindsey. While they had a long relationship, they both have made no secret of the fact that they didn't have fun all the time and several have made known the fact that Lindsey didn't enjoy letting go of Stevie very much in 1977. However, even if he did miss Stevie, he didn't seem to show it because he was probably being too mean to her at that time. Some lines in "Twisted", which Buckingham and Nicks recorded a few years after Fleetwood Mac recorded this song, may have some "Paper Doll" undertones in it. Lyrics such as "You like to be twisted, etc." reveal much of the same things that "just a little bit in and out of agony" does. They both have to have their highs and lows and that's why they get along and clash at the same time.

(Yesterday I was fascinated by someday else)
Yesterday I was fascinated by somebody else
(Yesterday I was fascinated by somebody else)
Yesterday I was fascinate by someday else

Because Lindsey did not reveal that he missed Stevie, or did not even seem to care about her, she stopped wasting her time on him and moved on to someone else. She then became a woman with a past.

Come on now...let the sad winds blow down
As the rain came...she refused to wear her coat
Deep in her heart she knew the song must go one

In the "Paper Doll" video at this point in the song, they show Stevie running without a coat from the video "Gypsy." By having no coat in the rain, Stevie is not conforming to anyone, she is trying to be as free as she can-- she is trying to be the Gypsy. The song can be both her own personal life or just the music she knew that she had to continue with after she and Lindsey broke up. Stevie and Lindsey were probably faced with a hard decision of staying with Fleetwood Mac or leaving the band after the break-up but Stevie decided that she had to stay and let the music lay on...she had to stand on stage every night and sing her songs to the man she used to love

He says well I have forgotten you
And your beautiful eyes
We were off the wall
We were mirrors of our former selves

Lindsey tried to tell Stevie that he had forgotten her both through his music and by the fact that he left her (and the band) in 1987. He also had been attempting to show her that he didn't care anymore by continuously having a girlfriend. But Lindsey has revealed that up until 1987, he wasn't able to fully deal with all his issues with Stevie and so he had never truly forgotten her. The final two lyrics deal with the changes that both Lindsey and Stevie overtook as a result of joining Fleetwood Mac. Their lives were bouncing around as they enjoyed the fast paced life style of being in a rock and roll band. They changed very much from their young, happy, innocent selves as they were brought deeper into a world of drugs and success and excess. Because of their fame, they became different people, more distorted images of their former selves than anything else.

Well you could have said no
You could have said well I just can't
Whoa we were off the wall
We were mirrors of each other
Passing by

When Lindsey left the band and when he started doing interviews for Out of the Cradle, he made a big deal of the fact that without him, Stevie wouldn't have been able to make hits of her songs because he mixed them together and meshed all the songs. Perhaps she got sick of always hearing how much he helped her. She wants him to make sure that he didn't have to do anything he didn't want to, that all she had done was ask and if he didn't feel like it, he needn't of done it. Lindsey also wasn't too thrilled with performing at the Inauguration because many rumours came about that the Mac was Back. Perhaps she's also telling him that he didn't have to be a part of the semi-reunion--they could have gone on without him. In the last few lines, Stevie may be speaking of how they were so perfect for each other but that their timing was very much less than perfect. If only both of them didn't play so many games, they could have continuously been a part of each others lives. So close and yet so far away. "Off the Wall" may refer how things got so crazy compared to how it was when they were in high school and much younger.

(Yesterday I was fascinated by someday else)
Yesterday I was fascinated by somebody else
(Yesterday I was fascinated by somebody else)
Yesterday I was fascinate by someday else

(Yesterday I was fascinated by someday else)
Yesterday I was fascinated by somebody else
(Yesterday I was fascinated by somebody else)
Yesterday I was fascinated by someday else

Well I was your Paper Doll
(Yesterday I was fascinated by somebody else)
Paper Doll
(Yesterday I was fascinated by somebody else)
Well I was your Paper Doll
(Yesterday I was fascinated by somebody else)
Paper Doll

Paper Dolls are thin and lacking in substance. Lindsey said she was lacking in substance by constantly saying that she would have been unable to make her songs beautiful without his help. Paper Dolls are also created and manipulated by other people. Stevie never says why exactly she and Lindsey broke up but she does sometimes hint that he was controlling. He created and manipulated her at times, she was his paper doll, he was like a puppet master. We as woman are paper dolls as well-- we are pretty, but we are fragile-- papers tear.

And it doesn't even matter
(I was fascinated by somebody else)
It was a real clear answer
(I was fascinated by somebody else)
I was fascinated by somebody else
(I was fascinated by somebody else)

Perhaps she's wondering why she even cares anymore. He left the band- he left her-- he didn't want to work through anything or even be her friend anymore. Perhaps at one point, Lindsey and Stevie privately attempted to rekindle their relationship and he ended it. She, at this point, is trying to show him that she doesn't even care anymore though the rest of the song reveals that she certainly does. And now she must go on, she had become fascinated by somebody else-- it might not even be another man, it might just be a different frame of mind, a different "her." She's thinking differently because she doesn't care anymore-- she's not going to be a Paper Doll anymore.

This song says quite a lot both about women and about Stevie. By telling her listeners that she is no longer going to be the "Paper Doll", she is telling them that they shouldn't be either. Instead of listening to the "faces in the crowd, " we should listen to what's going on deep within our heart. She wants us to stop being a paper doll and to let the "song" go on. Paper Doll is a song of hope as much as it is a song of remembrance.

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

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