Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac review
This is a reissue of the band’s 1975 second eponymous album, their first to feature the duo Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. It signalled the end of Fleetwood Mac the British bluesologists and the relaunch as West Coast MOR- pop behemoth.
“It’s testament to the enormity of follow-up Rumours that it managed to eclipse this album, considering that it reached No.1 in the US, spent 37 weeks in the Top 10 and 15 months inside the Top 40.” – Paul Lester
It was the second biggest album of 1976 (behind Frampton Comes Alive! by Peter Frampton) and the tenth biggest LP of 1977 – the year Rumours was released. This version of the album comes in a variety of formats: Remastered (original LP with newly remastered sound and digital download); Expanded (2CD set with original album and rare/unreleased studio and live recordings); and Deluxe, which includes all the aforementioned plus a DVD with 5.1 Surround Sound and high-resolution mixes of the original record, together with in-depth liner notes based on new interviews.
Fleetwood Mac sounds like a prequel to Rumours and, thus, strangely ahead of its time. This is partly because of the production polish, and partly because many of the songs became even more ubiquitous in the wake of the blockbuster success of Rumours and so you almost think of them – Warm Ways, Say You Love Me, Over My Head – as late-70s tracks.
The album also sounds like a series of solo recordings under the band banner, such are the nuanced differences between the principal writers’ contributions: Christine McVie’s breezily melodic songs (Over My Head, the prototype for Little Lies that is Say You Love Me), Nicks’ white witchy ones (Rhiannon, Landslide), and Buckingham’s idiosyncratic rockers (Monday Morning, the heavy I’m So Afraid).
But an overall Cali-pop sheen makes it cohere, no mean feat considering this is essentially three Brit veterans and a pair of LA hippies bolted together. Buckingham is the motivating force, sonically, while Nicks provides the standout melody, Rhiannon, just as she would do on Rumours (Dreams), Tusk (Sara) and Mirage (Gypsy).