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That's Alright

Lyrics Real Audio

Written by Stevie Nicks.

Contributors to this interpretation included: Jessica Morgan, Rhiannon, Violett, Pepper, Eliza, Alexa, Janet, and AJ.

Stevie Nick's roots lie in country music. The grandfather she idolized was a country singer who used to take a young Stevie to his gigs to perform with him. A great many of her demos have a country sound. Only after the producers get a hold of them do they turn into the rock & roll numbers we hear on the albums. During the first part of Stevie's tenure in Fleetwood Mac, none of her country songs made it onto an album, or they were changed and lost their country feel. Her first solo album, Bella Donna, dabbled a bit in country with songs like 'After the Glitter Fades'. Mirage represented the first album on which Stevie was permitted to put one of her country songs on the way it was intended. That song was That's Alright.

That's Alright started out as a demo called Designs of Love that came from the Buckingham/Nicks era. Stevie tried to get the song on each of the three Fleetwood Mac albums before Mirage, but it did not fit with what the band wanted to do. In an interview around the time Mirage was released, Mick noted that Designs of Love (That's Alright) had just sort of been forgotten for a while, and they decided it would be good for that album. Stevie retorted with, "Maybe you forgot about it, but I didn't. I never forget any of my songs." Many people thought the song was about Lindsey Buckingham, and that Stevie probably insisted that it be on Mirage for a reason. The reason may have been to send a message to Lindsey.

Meet me down by the railway station
I've been waiting
And I'm through waiting for you
The train sings the same kind of blues

Using the railway station gives the song the feeling of taking place years earlier, as well as its country flavor. And, in many old movies, dramatic and romantic moments take place at train stations. It could have been an airport and have still had the same significance as a metaphor. Usually being at a place like that means that someone is leaving, maybe you, maybe someone you love. Stevie might be referring to the times when she and Lindsey fought and she wanted to move on. Or, it could be at she is about ready to give up on music, and she is tired of supporting Lindsey while he does what he wants to do. Either way, she's packing up, saying goodbye, and moving on down the line. The whistle of the train sounds as sad as she feels.

Well I don't know why I always trusted
Sometimes I think I must have
I must have been crazy
Crazy to wait on you, baby

It makes her mad that she trusted in the relationship. She might have thought that thing would turn around, but they never did. Stevie seems like the kind of person who relies on an instinct to tell her if she is with the right person. Perhaps her instincts failed her this time. She tells herself that she must have been crazy, because that is the only way she would have stayed with him this long. She may feel foolish, she may feel used, or she may just feel angry.

Well I turned around and got pushed down, baby
Now I decided yesterday that I would leave you
I'm alright...

Without being aware of it, she was being used and taken for granted. One day, she turned around and all of this became clear. He has let her down, and she chose not to tolerate it anymore. She tried one more time to reconcile with him, but he blew her off. Maybe he pushes her around (not physically, but in other ways), and she has become fed up with it. So, she made the decision to leave him. She has to tell everyone (including herself) that she's alright. No one can know that she feels sad.

Please, I've been takin' my time
You know, it's been on my mind
I hope you find a love
Your own designs of love
That's alright...
That's alright

It has taken her a long time to decide to leave him. It is useless to try to talk her out of it. She's been considering it for quite a while. Obviously, he does not see love the same way she does. She does want him to be happy and to find someone to be with (a sentiment she has expressed toward Buckingham in a number of other songs). She is telling him it is alright for him to do that, rather she actually thinks so is uncertain. Others thought that she might be taking her time to get over Lindsey. She thinks about it a lot, but still wishes him well.

I believe, I believe that I know you
'Cause we've been a long time,
Now I've got to show you, that I
Well, I never did believe in time
You know, changin' anybody's mind

She knows Lindsey, what he is like, how he acts, what he might do. She knows this because she has been with him for a long time, as his friend and his girlfriend. But, he probably knows her just as well, for the same reasons. And, after a long time together, their relationship could be largely habit. Just because they have been together so long does not mean that they need to stay together. So, she has to work a little harder to make him believe that she isn't going to change her mind. She has never thought that time will change a person's mind. And, she knows time won't change the way he is.

Now, I can't define love like it should be
That's alright,
That's alright

Stevie can't put into words exactly what love should be like. She'll know it when she sees it. She realizes she wasn't Lindsey's "love like it should be," but she thought before that she was. Once again, she is telling everyone, including herself, that it's alright.

Please, I've been takin' my time
You know, it's been on my mind
I hope you find a love
Your own designs of love
That's alright, yes
That's alright

The chorus is repeated, as in most songs. This time the word "yes" is added between the two repetitions of "That's alright." Maybe she says this because she has finally decided that, yes, it IS alright.

That's Alright represents Stevie Nicks returning to her roots in country music. The song was very different from any song she had recorded with Fleetwood Mac in the past, and very different from her other two songs on the Mirage album. It shows us that Stevie Nicks, who must turn her songs over to a producer (with Fleetwood Mac, the very man she wrote many of her songs about, Lindsey Buckingham), is unafraid to let them do something different or unusual, but is also unafraid to express what she wants her songs to be.

Transcribed to HTML by Marty Adelson.

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