Fleetwood Mac – Tusk (1979)

AllMusic Review: More than any other Fleetwood Mac album, Tusk is born of a particular time and place — it could only have been created in the aftermath of Rumours, which shattered sales records, which in turn gave the group a blank check for its next album. But if they were falling apart during the making of Rumours, they were officially broken and shattered during the making of Tusk, and that disconnect between bandmembers resulted in a sprawling, incoherent, and utterly brilliant 20-track double album. At the time of its release, it was a flop, never reaching the top of the charts and never spawning a true hit single, despite two well-received Top Ten hits. Coming after the monumental Rumours, this was a huge disappointment, but the truth of the matter is that Fleetwood Mac couldn’t top that success no matter how hard they tried, so it was better for them to indulge themselves and come up with something as unique as Tusk. Lindsey Buckingham directed both Fleetwood Mac and Rumours, but he dominates here, composing nearly half the album, and giving Christine McVie’s and Stevie Nicks’ songs an ethereal, floating quality that turns them into welcome respites from the seriously twisted immersions into Buckingham’s id. This is the ultimate cocaine album — it’s mellow for long stretches, and then bursts wide open in manic, frantic explosions, such as the mounting tension on “The Ledge” or the rampaging “That’s Enough for Me,” or the marching band-driven paranoia of the title track, all of which are relieved by smooth, reflective work from all three songwriters. While McVie and Nicks contribute some excellent songs, Buckingham owns this record with his nervous energy and obsessive production, winding up with a fussily detailed yet wildly messy record unlike any other. This is mainstream madness, crazier than Buckingham’s idol Brian Wilson and weirder than any number of cult classics. Of course, that’s why it bombed upon its original release, but Tusk is a bracing, weirdly affecting work that may not be as universal or immediate as Rumours, but is every bit as classic. As a piece of pop art, it’s peerless. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Over & Over” Christine McVie C. McVie 4:34
2. “The Ledge” Lindsey Buckingham Buckingham 2:08
3. “Think About Me” C. McVie C. McVie 2:44
4. “Save Me a Place” Buckingham Buckingham 2:42
5. “Sara” Stevie Nicks Nicks 6:22
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “What Makes You Think You’re the One” Buckingham Buckingham 3:32
2. “Storms” Nicks Nicks 5:31
3. “That’s All for Everyone” Buckingham Buckingham 3:03
4. “Not That Funny” Buckingham Buckingham 3:11
5. “Sisters of the Moon” Nicks Nicks 4:42
Side three
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Angel” Nicks Nicks 4:54
2. “That’s Enough for Me” Buckingham Buckingham 1:50
3. “Brown Eyes” C. McVie C. McVie 4:27
4. “Never Make Me Cry” C. McVie C. McVie 2:18
5. “I Know I’m Not Wrong” Buckingham Buckingham 3:05
Side four
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Honey Hi” C. McVie C. McVie 2:41
2. “Beautiful Child” Nicks Nicks 5:21
3. “Walk a Thin Line” Buckingham Buckingham 3:46
4. “Tusk” Buckingham Buckingham 3:37
5. “Never Forget” C. McVie C. McVie 3:34

 

Schill Score: 3/10

 

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Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)

AllMusic Review: Rumours is the kind of album that transcends its origins and reputation, entering the realm of legend — it’s an album that simply exists outside of criticism and outside of its time, even if it thoroughly captures its era. Prior to this LP, Fleetwood Mac were moderately successful, but here they turned into a full-fledged phenomenon, with Rumours becoming the biggest-selling pop album to date. While its chart success was historic, much of the legend surrounding the record is born from the group’s internal turmoil. Unlike most bands, Fleetwood Mac in the mid-’70s were professionally and romantically intertwined, with no less than two couples in the band, but as their professional career took off, the personal side unraveled. Bassist John McVie and his keyboardist/singer wife Christine McVie filed for divorce as guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks split, with Stevie running to drummer Mick Fleetwood, unbeknown to the rest of the band. These personal tensions fueled nearly every song on Rumours, which makes listening to the album a nearly voyeuristic experience. You’re eavesdropping on the bandmates singing painful truths about each other, spreading nasty lies and rumors and wallowing in their grief, all in the presence of the person who caused the heartache. Everybody loves gawking at a good public breakup, but if that was all that it took to sell a record, Richard and Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out the Lights would be multi-platinum. No, what made Rumours an unparalleled blockbuster is the quality of the music. Once again masterminded by producer/songwriter/guitarist Buckingham, Rumours is an exceptionally musical piece of work — he toughens Christine McVie and softens Nicks, adding weird turns to accessibly melodic works, which gives the universal themes of the songs haunting resonance. It also cloaks the raw emotion of the lyrics in deceptively palatable arrangements that made a tune as wrecked and tortured as “Go Your Own Way” an anthemic hit. But that’s what makes Rumours such an enduring achievement — it turns private pain into something universal. Some of these songs may be too familiar, whether through their repeated exposure on FM radio or their use in presidential campaigns, but in the context of the album, each tune, each phrase regains its raw, immediate emotional power — which is why Rumours touched a nerve upon its 1977 release, and has since transcended its era to be one of the greatest, most compelling pop albums of all time. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing:

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Second Hand News” Lindsey Buckingham Buckingham 2:56
2. “Dreams” Stevie Nicks Nicks 4:18
3. “Never Going Back Again” Buckingham Buckingham 2:14
4. “Don’t Stop” Christine McVie C. McVie with Buckingham 3:13
5. “Go Your Own Way” Buckingham Buckingham 3:43
6. “Songbird” C. McVie C. McVie 3:20
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “The Chain”
  • Buckingham
  • Mick Fleetwood
  • C. McVie
  • John McVie
  • Nicks
Buckingham with C. McVie and Nicks 4:30
2. “You Make Loving Fun” C. McVie C. McVie 3:31
3. “I Don’t Want to Know” Nicks Nicks with Buckingham 3:15
4. “Oh Daddy” C. McVie C. McVie 3:56
5. “Gold Dust Woman” Nicks Nicks 4:56

 

Schill Score: 9.25/10

 

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