Every night that goes between I feel a little less As you slowly go away from me This is only another test Every night you do not come Your softness fades away Did I ever really care that much? Is there anything left to say? Every hour of fear I spend My body tries to cry Living through each empty night A deadly call inside I haven't felt this way I feel Since many a year ago But in those years and the lifetimes past I did not deal with the road And I did not deal with you I know Though the love has always been So I search to find an answer there So I can truly win Every hour of fear I spend My body tries to cry Living through each empty night A deadly call inside So I try to say Goodbye my friend I'd like to leave you with something warm But never have I been a blue calm sea I have always been a storm Always been a storm Always been a storm I have always been a storm We were frail... She said "Every night he will break your heart" I should have known from the first I'd be the broken hearted But I loved you from the start Save us... And not all the prayers in the world Could save us
Rough outtake version appears on the Tusk Reissue (2004)
I think she's talking about Mick here, at least for part of the song if not all of it. They had a brief affair; it ended quickly, but amicably. I think she's talking about the end of that in the first stanzas - she "feels a little less" as he "slowly goes away" - but did she "ever really care that much"? Was it just rebound? Still, she is lonely - her life is filled with "empty nights". She hasn't been lonely for a while, but now she feels it even more, because she's on "the road" and isolated.
And here's where I feel the song switches to Lindsey - because she starts talking about how she "did not deal with you I know" - and I know that Stevie is always talking about how she and Lindsey never really resolved their feelings for one another (see Angel), but "the love has always been." And, again, she's talking about winning, as she has so many times in talking about Lindsey even as far back as Long Distance Winner and Races Are Run on Buckingham Nicks. She wants to split amicably with him, too, but she can't "leave [him] with something warm" because she's not the type - she's a "storm." The last few lines especially sound like they're talking about Lindsey as she says "I loved you from the start" but it couldn't work, no matter how hard they tried - "not all the prayers in the world could save us." And she did wind up with a broken heart, even if she was the one to leave.
This is maybe more of a generalized interpretation, rather than relating it directly to Stevie & Mick or Stevie & Lindsey. I think this is one of the most subtly powerful songs Stevie has ever written. I think it is about a relationship that was doomed from the beginning, and that the singer has realized this. The singer is almost in a zombie-like state following the demise of the relationship ("My body tries to cry" - as if it's supposed to be a mechanical reaction to sadness, but that she is too distraught to even respond mechanically). To me, the singer has become more distraught over her own realizations than of the ended relationship itself...she is realizing that, from the very beginning, the relationship was destined to fail, and that the memory of her loved one is receding at a painstakingly slow rate: "As you slowly go away from me, this is only another test." The reference to "another" makes it sound like there have been other relationships that have ended this way...that this is just another "test" of the singer's ability to stay sane. But in the same song, she is realizing that her sanity may have been sacrificed long ago, due to her inability to truly deal with love: "But in those years and the lifetimes past, I did not deal with the road." She is at the end of her rope; the line "A deadly call inside" is particularly powerful because not only does the word "deadly" make her emotions seem all the more grim, it is all happening inside of her...there is no release from inner struggle.
She makes a final attempt to console herself, or to blindly convince herself that she never "really cared that much," but then is left speechless upon that very thought: "Is there anything left to say?" The question of her caring is ironic because the song, as a whole, is an obvious example that she does, indeed, care very much.
The singer's true epiphany occurs in the third verse. She knows what she must do - she must "try to say goodbye," and the goodness of her intentions wants to leave her love "with something warm" - a feeling, perhaps, that things could end amicably; she has a strong desire to provide the ultimate act of love by leaving her love in a contented state. So she is aware of what she must do, but realizes here that she is unable to do it. Why? Because her sea of emotions is too vast...too uncontrollable...she realizes that she has an external locus of control. "I have always been a storm" - implying she was like this before, but had suppressed it or masked it in the face of a loving relationship. She is "telling" this to her love, presumably for the first time, but we still get the sense that she's really just telling it to herself. And ultimately, the relationship was destined to fail because of this one element...almost like a classical tragedy. The singer is coming to understand that she will never be able to make the failed relationship work in her mind - she simply has too much unreciprocated love in her. At some point, the other person stopped giving to the degree that she gave.
The end of the song is quite moving because the singer has now realized the state of things, and her thought process becomes disjointed. She now understands that they "were frail" - not because someone warned her that "'Every night he will break your heart'", but instead because of her own emotional state: "I should have known from the first I'd be the broken-hearted." But this doesn't mean that she never loved him...in fact, these emotions, this song, these reflections, all point to the fact that she loves him very, very much, and that she would be unable to truly shake that feeling. She reminds herself that she loved him "from the start"...and then she offers a cathartic plea..."Save us..." but knows herself that nothing, not even "all the prayers in the world," could ever save them.
The fact that the song is called "Storms" is also worth noting. Not only is the singer a "storm", but the entire piece is a collection of storms, hence the pluralized title. The very fact that she is reflecting so much on the failed relationship is a storm - it is a restless, unpredictable, slightly dangerous, unruly descent into self-discovery. It is a collection of intense, forceful thoughts that needed to take place. And it is a collection of thoughts that her love would not quite understand the severity of, nor the depth of - in fact, he'd probably hear it and think she was crazy; this is yet another "storm." The song is an intimate journal of self-actualization which can only be truly understood by the singer herself.
Finally, there is an apologetic tone in this song - the singer apologizes for not dealing with things properly, for her vulernability, for her inability to say goodbye in a calm manner, for writing these words at all...for being a "storm." She is frozen on the outside, but forever turbulent on the inside. It is the utmost demonstration of someone who simply loves too much...who has too much emotion, who cannot escape her own inner trappings. The conflict is not in the relationship; the conflict is within. And the inner storm presents a bleak outlook - tragically, nothing can be done to "save" much of anything.
I think this is an extremely evocative song, particularly for anyone who has ever found himself/herself in this position. This is a brilliant moment of recognition...an epiphany.
For some reason every time i hear this song Lindseys name pops into my head.I personally think that this song was about really relizing that he was REALLY gone, that he was not hers anymore.
"Every night you do not come
Your softness fades away"
That to me sounds like you know, the first few days after they broke up. He would no longer come to bed with her and the softeness she felt during his presence was fading away and she would never really feel it again. So basically in my opinion this song is just about adjusting to life without him as a lover and moving on with more important things.
GREEN OWL speculates:
And the lovely and incomparable Storms Did I ever really care that much/Is there anything left to say? created an image of Nicks and Henley at the end of their relationship as well as Nicks and Fleetwood coming to an understanding about the fact that they would never work out because of Lindsey's touchiness.
i have always thought that the song was about her relationship with lindsey....especially with the lines" but in those years and the lifetimes past, i did not deal with the road/ and i did not deal with you i know, though the love has always s been." and " and so i say goodbye my friend, i'd like to leave you with something warm".. to me she is trying to say that while she loves him, she had a hard time dealing with the relationship and always being on the road and touring and being in the band.
I feel this song is mostly about Lindsey. All of the lines about this lover being seemingly absent instantly reminds me of her response to the lyrics, "Packing up, shacking up is all you wanna do" , to which she said she wasn't shacking up with anyone and how Lindsey prefered fall asleep with his guitar. "Every hour of fear I spend
My body tries to cry
Living through each empty night
A deadly call inside"
makes me think of this especially. The part about, "She said
"Every night he will break your heart", I feel is about Christine.
I love this song...It's probably my favorite next to my namesake "Sara"...
I believe that this song was about Stevie and Mick's brief affair, and I believe the line
"Every night you do not come, your softness fades away..." means every night that Mick would not come to see Stevie the rarely seen soft side of Mick would slowly go away till there was no more...If you listen to the line in "Sara"..."And he was just like a great dark wing...Inside the wings of a storm...." which Stevie says Mick was the inspiration for, there is the tie-in that "Storms" is about Mick. I also think Stevie refers to herself as a storm, and hence the sexual reference in the line from "Sara." And I have to agree with Leigh when she says that the line "She said every night he will break your heart..." was Christine warning Stevie, since she had known him longer than Stevie did.