Old -vs- New: Fleetwood Mac and Si*Sé – The Chain

by Yvette Travillian

Against my better judgment I have been listening to Si*Sé’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”  on repeat for most of the year. The reason I say ‘against my better judgment’ is because I know damn well Fleetwood’s version is a rock classic and there aren’t too many chicks who are cooler than the awesome Stevie Nicks. But man… singer/DJ Carol C (of Si*Sé) has a voice that is so pure and evokes such a timeless sensuality – that I just can’t help but to fall in love with it every time I hear it.

Originally recorded in 1977, “The Chain” comes off Fleetwood Mac’s best selling album, Rumors. Although it’s classified as rock its smooth folk-like tempo, banjo’s and bass progressions gives it a much more laid back vibe then some of the other tracks off of Rumors. Written (for the most part) by the entire band (that’s Nicks, vocalist Lindsey Buckingham, Christine & John McVie and of course Mick Fleetwood) “The Chain” was an instant classic due to it’s powerful yet simplistic lyrics and although never released as a single it is one of the groups most popular songs and is considered a Fleetwood anthem.

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Fast forward to 2009/10 and “The Chain” recieved a new life off of  Si*Sé’s 5 track EP entitled Gold. And what a stellar job the group did with the song. Says producer Cliff Cristofaro on the making of “The Chain” “For our cover, we didn’t just want to replicate the original. We wanted to add a gritty modern feel, incorporating electro, dub and even rock all into one”. And indeed they did. Si*Se put such a postive modern twist to the song that even old-school Fleetwood fans have not been able to deny its likability. All the vocal arrangements were for the most part left intact but there is something extremely unique that they were able to pull out of it making it a super-standout on Gold.

However for every Fleetwood fan praising Si*Se’s cover there are even more who are completely dissing it. One of those dissers in particular (and he knows who he is) recently hit me with the question; if I had to pick a version, which one would it be? Shit I didn’t know then and I still don’t know now. Shame on me perhaps. But I doubt I will ever be able to choose only one which is why for the rest of my life (and I’m not being dramatic), I will continue to slap them both. Job well done to both parties!