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Second Hand News


Written by Lindsey Buckinhgam.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Lauren Leichter, Ann, Anusha, Ava, Becky, Blackcat, Calamity, Drew, Erik, Joanne, Juliana, Kelley, Marlene, Meghan, Miss Scarlett, Patti, Phil, Rhapsody, Ryan, Silver, Stacey A, and Tracey.

In the recently produced "Classic Albums" showcase revolving around the making of the album Rumours, Lindsey Buckingham states that "'Second Hand News' was considered to be the front-runner for the opening track on Rumours, and in doing so, keeping with the pop element since it was a pop album."

Aside from being a classic pop song, it is no accident that "Second Hand News" found its place as the first song on Rumours. It is this song that sets the stage for the mood that surrounds Rumours, an album that was created around feelings of hope and heartbreak, resignation and love. Although the uplifting music of "Second Hand News" traps the listener into a world of make-believe happiness, by the end of the song, Lindsey's painful lyrics and emotional guitar solo transcend the song to the silent emptiness that precedes the next chapter of dreams lost to a world of loneliness.

Lindsey says that the uplifting dance music of "Second Hand News" consists of "Scottish-Irish-Folk" influences and to get this effect, he opted for more of a dance beat. While creating this song, he had heard "Jive Talking" by the Bee Gees and "pulled a couple of textures from that." Where initially, there was going to be a guitar solo, Lindsey felt that the "presence would be better served with the use of a vocal," thus creating the "bam's," as the vocal part, reinforced by the guitar to give it that classic pop element. According to Lindsey, musically, that is the "essence of the song."

Although the music to "Second Hand News" is quite optimistic, the lyrics paint quite a different picture - one of sadness, bitterness and resignation. This is not the first time that Lindsey creates optimism around the music of his songs to clearly disguise his feelings, specifically those that revolved around his relationship with Stevie Nicks. We see the hope-filled confusion that surrounds "Monday Morning," the bittersweet angst in "Go Your Own Way," and the relinquishment and eventual surrender in "Second Hand News."

At first listen, "Second Hand News" seems to be about Lindsey lashing out at Stevie with such words as "I ain't gonna miss you when you're gone," however, by looking more deeply at the lyrics, the song, although somewhat simplistic in its verses, tells the tale of Lindsey's feelings of unrequited love.

I know there's nothing to say
Someone has taken my place
When times go bad
When times go rough
Won't you lay me down in tall grass
And let me do my stuff

The imagery within the first two lines are quite sad and display feelings very suggestive of resignation. Lindsey is allowing himself to accept the fact that his relationship with Stevie is now over, and in his eyes, he has been replaced, possibly by another relationship, and probably by the fact that Stevie wanted to exhibit her independence. Regardless of what the reason was, the saddest part of a relationship is not always when it ends, but when you realize that it's really, really over. Here, Lindsey has acquiesced.

The lyrics "lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff," definitely suggest intimate feelings. It is both sad and ironic that Lindsey wanted to hold onto his relationship with Stevie, even if it was only physical. As well, these lines also encompass what signifies Lindsey's world. His music, his love and his emotions. You can really feel the imagery of nature come into play here, as Lindsey, in order to provide space for himself and his world, succumbs to these peaceful surroundings.

As the song continues, and for the following verses, we see that the "stuff" Lindsey is referring to seems to slowly change more towards the latter statement than one of any physical nature, although he goes back to the physical element once more before he finally acquiesces. Lindsey creates this transformation within the song by changing the lyrics from "laying me down" to "let me go down," thus emphasizing that he has really moved on and away from his relationship with Stevie Nicks. He is "playing it the way he feels it."

I know I got nothin' on you
I know there's nothing to do
When times go bad
And you can't get enough
Won't you lay me down in the tall grass
And let me do my stuff

Lindsey may have felt that Stevie's expectations of him were unreasonable. It is entirely possibly he did not quite understand why the relationship was ending, however, he has come to the realization that there is nothing more he can do. Lindsey's continued resignation surrounding the ending of his commitment with Stevie signifies his complacency and acceptance over the fact that it's over.

One thing I think you should know
I ain't gonna miss you when you go
Been down so long
I've been tossed around enough
Couldn't you just
Let me go down and do my stuff

Now, Lindsey has turned his feelings of resignation to sarcasm, which can be likened to similar imagery from the song "Go Your Own Way," where Lindsey has stated that the song was his way of "making fun of something that was painful on other levels." Although Lindsey may be telling Stevie that he won't miss her, underneath this sarcasm emerges feelings of unresolved sadness, disbelief and rejection as Lindsey tries to show his pride. This verse continues to suggest that the relationship co-existed around a roller coaster of emotions and Lindsey wants to get off this ride.

I know you're hopin' to find
Someone who's gonna give you piece (peace) of mind
When times go bad
When times go rough
Won't you lay me down in tall grass
And let me do my stuff

In Lindsey's eyes, he is not living up to whatever expectations Stevie placed on him. Reluctantly, he wishes her "peace of mind" in finding that "big love."

I'm just second hand news
I'm just second hand news.

Lindsey is just second hand news. He is no longer number one. He feels he has been replaced and he will try to be at peace with his thoughts and feelings. It is highly ironic that no matter how hard Lindsey tried to find harmony within himself and his relationship with Stevie over time, he could not really put aside his feelings for her for another 12 years. He was finally able to do his "stuff" on his third solo album, Out of the Cradle.

In summary, "Second Hand News" is the story of unrequited love. The feelings in these lyrics can be compared to the pages of a fondly remembered love story that have been re-read years later, only to be recycled again by something thought of as better, since as time passes and things change, what was once cherished is now tossed away.

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

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