Say You Will
2003 | Pop
Spotify | Amazon
“When the night is cold and still. -- When you thought you'd had your fill. -- This is not a test, it's not a drill. -- Take no prisoners, only kill.”
- The song hit #80 on the Billboard Hot 100, #10 on the Adult Contemporary and #16 on the Adult Top 40 charts.
- The radio edit replaces the line "only kill" with "break their will." The latter lyrics are used during live performances.
- The song was going to be on Buckingham's solo album, Gift of Screws. but his label told Buckingham to use all of his material for the Fleetwood Mac album Say You Will instead.
THE HOT TAKES
In the broader context of the song, I find the reference to painting one's face especially fascinating. War paint is the obvious connection here, and yet we are told that the only brush we need is the one that "never leaves a trace." I thought a lot about what that could mean. It seems to me that the the public is expected to don war paint, champion the aggressive wars of their rulers, but never let this corrupt our public image. In other words, we must all be bloodthirsty on their behalf, but not explicitly. Go along with the plan, but be civilized. Quite the strange place we've reached as a society, isn't it?
Fleetwood Mac is one of my very favorite bands. This song is not at the top of their sizeable catalog for me, but it’s listenable. I think this song is about the United States and it’s desire to rule the world through force with no thought for the lives of those in the crosshairs. It is a bit timely with all of the Iran business that’s been happening recently. The US has thousands of nuclear weapons, and is the only country to ever use atomic weapons on another, yet it feels it has the authority to tell every other country in the world what they can and cannot have in their arsenal. The premise being that it’s all about safety. Most people just accept this premise and never ask who the hell made the US the arbiter of what is safe and ok, and what is not. If a person believes it does, they are predicating it on the false belief that the US has some sort of inherent virtue that gives it some kind of authority that others do not possess, nor have access to. In short, the US has become the bully nanny of the world, and those of us who care about liberty should fight this line of thinking wholesale.
I'm not sure where this one came from but someone suggested it for the list. Buckingham originally said it was directed at US propaganda and not war per se but changed his tune over time. The way I understand the song it's examining the lies we tell ourselves to justify our foreign adventurism. It reminds me of neocon logic. The logic that despite any truth says we are the saviors of all people. We need to go and show them all how great freedom is by liberating them from their own tyranny and bringing them into our own. I assume it's supposed to mirror the desensitizing barrage of kudos and language used to make us believe we're doing something good for the nations around the world. We are not. After decades of intervention I've seen, there has only been death and making the poorest on earth more poor if not dead. There is no peacekeeper no matter how much they tell us thats what is being done.