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    Song Title »
You Do Or You Don't
    Authors »
Lindsey Buckingham, Richard Dashut

    Year Written »
1992

    This Performance »
Date Performance 1992-00-00
Running Time 3:37
Performers Lindsey Buckingham (All Other Performances By), Larry/Lawrence A. Klein (Bass), Alex Acuna (Percussion)
Appears On
Out Of The Cradle (1992)
Lindsey Buckingham

    Lyrics »

Living in exile ainít the way to go
Itís just another way of dying
A whole lot of faces that you call your own
All those faces are crying

You either run or you hide
Now you slip now you slide
You say you will, but you wonít
You either do or you donít

Living in exile, just gotta let it go
You know that itís true
Just like a little child, youíre got to crawl away
Itís the last chance for you

You either run or you hide
Now you slip now you slide
You say you will, but you wonít
You either do or you donít

Somebodyís go to see this through
All the world is laughing at you
Somebodyís got to sacrifice
If this whole thingís gonna turn out right

You either run or you hide
Now you slip now you slide
Now you will, now you wonít
You either do or you donít

    Fan Interpretation »

Life is made up of choices. Choices of both the heart and the mind. Sometimes it's not easy to separate the two. Because of this, things can become confusing, unrecognizable or even painful. Lindsey Buckingham's plea that you either "do or you don't," the title of this upbeat adult contemporary pop tune from his 1992 solo album, "Out Of The Cradle," is yet another inquiry into the mind and masterpiece of a man whose musical talents at times overshadow his life decisions.

"Out Of The Cradle" is a musical venture into Lindsey's soul. From the beautiful, but heart wrenching "Street of Dreams," to the electrifying fear surrounding "Doing What I Can," "You Do or You Don't" blends a soft musical medium into the heart and soul of Lindsey Buckingham, the musician and the man.

When asked what "You Do or You Don't" was actually about, Lindsey had this to say: "I think it was a composite. I'm sure some of that has got to be touching on myself. "Wrong" is the same way. It's a composite of three or four people who have all lost their perspective and maybe acting inappropriately because of that. And we all know people like that and to some degree have been there. I've been there a little bit myself at times." Quote taken from "Songwriters on Songwriting" by Paul Zollo.

Based on the above statement, we can assume that "You Do or You Don't" was most likely written about those very close to Lindsey, musically, romantically, or a little bit of both. As well, the song also relates to his own life as he delves into the feelings of restlessness that surround everyday choices.

Living in exile ain't the way to go
It's just another way of dying
A whole lot of faces that you call your own
All those faces are crying
Living in exile is like being trapped inside of yourself and not living your life to the fullest extent. You are a spectator not a player. Lindsey compares this feeling to dying - it takes away your heart and soul. Lindsey sees this in those around him as well - "the faces he calls his own" - his friends, his romantic partner, or even his own inner self. You cannot escape from life, so you must rise up to the challenges that are presented to you and take responsibility for your own happiness.

You either run or you hide
Now you slip now you slide
You say you will, but you won't
You either do or you don't
Here Lindsey is saying that life decisions are based on choices. Some choices are not always easy, but you still must continue on no matter what. If you run and hide all the time, you will never face what's ahead of you. Additionally, you will then slip and slide - your direction is aimless and you are not going anywhere. If your choices consist of complete uncertainty and you cannot follow through, happiness will never be achieved. Lindsey is not leaving any room for excuses here.

Living in exile, just gotta let it go
You know that it's true
Just like a little child, you've got to crawl away
It's the last chance for you
Here again, like the first verse, living in exile creates unhappiness. You have to let it go. Here, Lindsey may indeed be talking about his feelings to move away from Fleetwood Mac and make it on his own. The "little child" reference most likely has to do with the entire theme of freedom and re-emergence that is displayed so well on "Out Of The Cradle." A child may feel scared, yet is shrouded by innocence. Lindsey feels he's coming Out Of The Cradle and starting his life over - almost like learning to walk again. This is his last chance for happiness.

You either run or you hide
Now you slip now you slide
You say you will, but you won't
You either do or you don't
Somebody's got to see this through
All the world is laughing at you
Somebody's got to sacrifice
If this whole thing's gonna turn out right

This verse is an example of how Lindsey recycles lyrics in several of his songs. This same verse was also written into the song "Bleed to Love Her," from the 1997 Fleetwood Mac album, The Dance. "Bleed to Love Her," a song about a relationship, is also about making choices and taking stands, but more on a commitment level. Someone had to see the relationship through or the whole thing would become something of a joke. In relating this verse to "You Do or You Don't," Lindsey is talking more about life choices and decisions and how they will become something of a joke if they are not followed through.

You either run or you hide
Now you slip now you slide
Now you will, now you won't
You either do or you don't
Like a lot of songs on "Out Of The Cradle," "You Do or You Don't" is about personal freedom and the courage to move forward. It is both a lyrical and musical composition of these choices. It can relate to several things on many levels - personal relationships, career changes, life itself, or even a composite of all of these things. Everything in life is a choice and eventually the little child inside of all of us will slowly emerge and help us to make these choices with little fear. Only then can we experience our own inner freedom and true happiness.

(The interpretations to these lyrics were compiled through discussions on the message boards of the Penguin, The Ledge. It is entirely possible that the artists had something completely different in mind.)

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(C) 1992 Now Sounds Music ASCAP/Putz Tunes BMI

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    Last Modified »
2008-08-04

    Discography Credits »
Lyrics contributed by Erik Grebner. Interpretation prepared by Lauren Leichter, Les, Becky, Calamity, Justine, Janet, and Mary Liz.