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Dadrock No More: The Millennial Love Affair with Fleetwood Mac

Stevie Nicks performs with Fleetwood Mac at Talking Stick Resort Arena in 2013.
Stevie Nicks performs with Fleetwood Mac at Talking Stick Resort Arena in 2013.
Melissa Fossum
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I first realized what Fleetwood Mac meant to me when I was living alone in Washington, D.C., at 19 years old. I had an internship at an online magazine and I was supporting myself financially, staying in a run-down, cockroach-infested dormitory. I didn’t know anyone. I had never felt more isolated. I was searching for someone or something to understand me, to make me feel like I could make it.

I picked up my phone and played “Songbird,” off of the Rumours album. For the full three minutes and 20 seconds of run time, I cried while Christine McVie told me it was going to be all right, that for me there would be no more crying. After listening to the song over and over, I began to believe her.

Fleetwood Mac’s music does a spectacular job of crossing the spectrum of human emotion. While I listened to “Songbird” in my time of sadness, I listened to “Secondhand News” on my way to work as I passed by iconic museums and monuments, feeling like maybe happiness was in store for me. The album bends genres and feelings together to create a work of art that can be applied to any situation. “Don’t Stop” works for a presidential campaign, while “Silver Springs” will make you feel like you’re moving on from the worst breakup of your life.

I am not alone among young people in finding solace in their music. The band has 11.4 million monthly listeners on Spotify. According to Spotify data storyteller Eliot Van Buskirk, the band has seen an increase in their audience recently.

“Overall, the under-35 crowd is now listening to a whopping 58 percent more Fleetwood Mac than they did two years ago,” he says in an article on Digg.com.

Some younger people express their love for Fleetwood Mac in extremely permanent ways, like ASU sports journalism major Hailey Koebrick. She loves Fleetwood Mac because of their lyrics and storytelling talent. To express that admiration, she has a tattoo of an hourglass accompanying the lyrics “time makes you bolder.”

“I knew for a while that I wanted to get something related to ‘Landslide,’ just because I love that song and I love that line,” Koebrick elaborates. “It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

It’s not just the music that draws people in, it’s the story of how the music got made that intrigues many people. As millennial comedian John Mulaney puts it, Rumours was made “by and for people cheating on each other.” And if there’s anything people, and especially younger people, love is watching drama unfold; it’s why shows like Keeping up With the Kardashians have managed to stay on the air for so long. Sites like Twitter, where the 35-and-under crowd make up 40 percent of the users in the United States, fuel the spread of drama and “shade throwing.” And perhaps no one threw shade better than Lindsey Buckingham, even 40 years after Rumours was released: He’s currently suing the band for kicking him out.

Online, people write about their heartbreak and sadness, leaving it all on the table for the world to see, much in the same way Fleetwood Mac metaphorically cut themselves open and let the world take a peek into their pain. The older generation is often astounded by the things young people are willing to share from the safety of a computer screen. Fleetwood Mac let us into parts of their lives that were uncomfortable, saying things that many people would keep to themselves.

An Evening with Fleetwood Mac. 8 p.m. Wednesday, November 28, at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street; 602-379-7800; talkingstickresortarena.com. Tickets are $64.75 to $194.75 via Ticketmaster.

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