Analyzing lyrics written by couples -- A psychologist looks at the words of couples who perform together

By Michael Endelman
Updated March 17, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST
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Fleetwood Mac

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Being in a band is sometimes like being married. And sometimes it is being married. Indie-pop keyboard-drums duo Mates of State (whose Bring It Back is out this week) are the latest example of a band balancing life on the road with life in the bedroom. We had NYC clinical psychologist Benjamin Michaelis, Ph.D., look at lyrics by Mates of State and other husband-wife acts and give his analysis of their relationship.

MATES OF STATE
”For the Actor” 2005
The Song Says: ”You put your life on hold as we interest one another/Two steps closer to the level I imagined/I remember when it poured and you sang to me in summer/It’s a fantasy.”

The Therapist Says: ”These lyrics sound like they were written about people madly in love, trying to make the passion last and the long-term relationship work despite life’s obstacles.”

Reality Says: They got hitched in 2001, had a kid in 2005, and are still the cutest couple in indie rock.

SONIC YOUTH
”100%” 1992
The Song Says: ”A 100% of my love, up to you true star/It’s hard to believe you took off, I always thought you’d go far/But I’ve been around the world a million times/And all you men are slime.”

The Therapist Says: ”Although this is very bitter on the surface, it actually seems hopeful. It’s as if the singer is saying ‘I know how tough it is out there, and once you figure it out, you’ll be back.”’

Reality Says: This year, SY’s bassist Kim Gordon and guitarist Thurston Moore celebrate their 22nd anniversary!

RICHARD AND LINDA THOMPSON
”Don’t Renege on Our Love” 1982
The Song Says: ”Remember when we were hand in hand/Remember we sealed it with a golden band/Now your eyes don’t meet mine, you’ve got a pulse like fever/Do I take you for a lover or just a deceiver?”

The Therapist Says: ”It sounds like one of these two people is being admonished about looking for love in all the wrong places.”

Reality Says: The U.K. couple split the same year the song was released.

FLEETWOOD MAC
”Go Your Own Way” 1977
The Song Says: ”If I could, maybe I’d give you my world/How can I? When you won’t take it from me/You can go your own way/You can call it another lonely day.”

The Therapist Says: ”Call a lawyer.”

Reality Says: FM’s John and Christine McVie were married in 1968, but separated in ’76, a year before Rumours came out. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were never actually married, but their longtime relationship came apart around the same time.

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