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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Fleetwood Mac decided to follow up the career-defining, best-selling Rumours with an album that would not compromise their integrity or seem like a quick rehash of their proven FM-radio-friendly formula. Tusk is not Rumours, Pt. II. It's an expansive, 20-track collection that allows each of the three songwriters — Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks — to stretch their musical vocabulary with the very best sonics that money could buy. Buckingham took on much of the production himself, recording at home and in the personally modified Village Recorder studio in West Los Angeles, until he fashioned an album both quirky and accessible, as much a part of the '70s rock elite establishment as informed by the funkier experiments of the emerging punk and new wave. Though individual tracks do stand out — McVie's "Over & Over," "Never Make Me Cry," "Sara," "Storms," and "Beautiful Child," "Buckingham's "Walk a Thin Line" and "Tusk" — the album is best experienced as a long, flowing whole, moods emerging, harmonies shifting, and odd sound experiments percolating underneath the smooth professional sheen.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful Schizophrenia

I was a bit disappointed when this LP first came out and I still wish somebody had reigned in Buckingham's experimentation (just a notch) and cut the song list down to a fine-tuned, ultra-brilliant single LP. Christine McVie's contribution seemed to be waning as Stevie Nicks star continued to rise. Having said that, it's still a fine album with each member shining brightly at one point or another, so... 5 stars for the band and it's a good album but it just sounds like it's 2 weeks shy of completion. Also, I completely agree with the hundreds of complaints I've encountered throughout iTunes in recent months: iTunes really should stop editing tracks (Sara, on this one), ESPECIALLY on music from this era. It's like clipping 30 minutes out of Casablanca when you do that and it's super irritating to those of us who remember the original tracks. ONE MORE THING: the volume is too low and 2 dimensional >> somebody needs to rework the Fleetwood Mac catalog (add Bare Trees, Future Games, Mystery to Me, Heroes are Hard to Find, etc...) and bring the volume up to par with other recent remasters >> flesh out the dynamics and give them the 3D punch these classic songs deserve.

First review!?!?!

I can't believe I'm the first one to write a review for such a great album! Tusk is a Fleetwood Mac masterpiece and in my opinion, just as good as Rumours. Comparing the two is quite difficult and unnecessary due to the distinctly different sound that Tusk contains. The songwriting trio of Buckingham, Nicks and McVie keeps the album interesting due to their own personalities and songwriting styles. The way one style flows into the next works perfectly for this album and despite a more fractured feeling and sounding LP, there are still more than a few instances of brilliant collaboration.
Highlights are many, but here a few: the entire album 1-side 1 (Over & Over, The Ledge, Think About Me, Save Me a Place, Sara), Not That Funny, Sisters of the Moon, Brown Eyes, I Know I'm Not Wrong, Beautiful Child, Walk a Thin Line, Tusk.

Triad

A heart-play of sorts, sprawled over two LPs and alternating captivatingly among the hands and minds of three separate songwriters, this experimental follow-up to the monstrously successful Rumours is actually a sophisticated study of the different ways in which men and women respond to love.

The album opens with “Over and Over”, a whisper from Christine McVie—a timid, hopeful plea for an idealized man’s love, only to shift for track two to a raucous rant ("The Ledge") by what sounds like a very liquored-up Lindsey Buckingham laying down a punk-rock demo in his living room. The man chants the first part of the verse like an inarticulate cave dweller, soon finding his voice as a dancing array of admonitions to a would-be lover fly out of his mouth, in a tone that can only be described as joyously twisted ridicule. Christine and Lindsey thus begin the album with two VASTLY different attempts at supplication--the woman's warm, soft, and inviting; the man's harsh, spitting, juvenile. To Lindsey's credit, he does in fact take the listener on a round-the-changes tour of all the various ways a man expresses his libido-energy--from the giddy restlessness of "The Ledge" and "That's Enough for Me" to the bitter anger of "Not that Funny" and "What Makes You Think You're the One" to the reluctantly forced patience of "Save Me a Place" and "Walk a Thin Line" ... Trust me: if you're a guy, you've felt the singular emotion manifest in every one of these tracks.

Lindsey and Christine find common ground on track 3 as he joins her on the chorus of “Think About Me”, the most commercial-sounding track of the 20 on this record. Christine floats through the verses high on love—but a spot of tension returns when Lindsey joins in the chorus with his cynical “maybe that’s why you’re around”, NOT the most romantic phrase ever uttered. Joyful they are, and together in harmony, but still not all the way there.

“Save Me a Place”, Lindsey’s second contribution, is a slumper of a track but nonetheless engaging in a “let’s just wait for it to come around again on the guitar” sort of way. The effect is that of a lugubrious giant dragging its tired feet along, the high mincing zither strings suggesting it's not heavy chains but tiny ladies' bracelets that have him so wearily tethered.

Stevie Nicks registers the first of her five tracks with the powerful “Sara” – if seagulls fell in love, and dreamt about it, the music in those dreams would sound like this.

So closes side one of four.

The rest of the album unfolds in much the same manner. Each of the three singers has his or her particular “vibe” when it comes to feeling and expressing love—Christine is meek, loving, hopeful, so tender and gentle in her soft expressions of pure love; Lindsey, by turns strident and giddy, is pure libido set to a fast-slapping beat, sounding like a petulant boy in his impatient expectation to be satisfied by the always-accommodating woman; and Stevie Nicks is the wild-card, using each of her five showcases differently. Where Christine tends to place her vulnerably fragile self at the heart of her songs and Lindsey just wants to bang a drum and yell, Stevie strikes middle ground by seeming to float above the proceedings, more an objective observer providing wisdom to other, third-person characters than an actively engaged participant.

On the Tusk album, Stevie flashes enticingly through five different rooms. Our first stop is "Sara", a song that floats somewhere above the clouds despite its being grounded by Mick Fleetwood's ironclad snare; meanwhile, the voice of a sagacious mentor issues firm but loving directives to the song's title character. Hypnotic. Then she pulls a complete 180 on her next showcase, "Storms", wherein the woman sounds uncertain—fragile, frightened, heartbroken, vulnerable—as she seeks the shelter of a calm eye. The text all builds to her admission, “never have I been a blue calm sea; I have always been a storm.” Me too, Stevie. Then with a brisk wave of her evening gown she unveils the urgent mystical intrigue of "Sisters of the Moon", a kind of sequel to "Rhiannon" wherein the heroine has found a league of women who, like her, are taken by the wind. Right on the heels of this track we find the upbeat confidence of "Angel", the other side of the "Storms" coin. Again the wind appears, but this time Stevie beckons it to take her up as she groovily intones, "So I close my eyes softly, til I become that part of the wind that we all long for sometimes." She’s mastered the vicissitudes of the storm, or so we think until the arrival of her fifth and final piece, “Beautiful Child”. This song to me is the climax of the entire album: Stevie, joined by Lindsey and Christine for harmonies not of this world, bears her soul for all to hear. Each phrase cuts the listener with the sheer, exquisite double-edge we call Beauty.

On the Tusk album Stevie Nicks is indeed the voice of objective reason, a sagacious high priestess handing down from a foggy hilltop her wisdom on this thing called love, the unruly chimera with which the childlike Christine and jaded Lindsey have yet to make peace.

The fact that the five members of Fleetwood Mac (three men, two women) had inter-affairs with each other through the years is a colorful added dimension to this, the closest thing the 70s ever had to a White Album.

Biography

Formed: 1967 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While most bands undergo a number of changes over the course of their careers, few groups experienced such radical stylistic changes as Fleetwood Mac. Initially conceived as a hard-edged British blues combo in the late '60s, the band gradually evolved into a polished pop/rock act over the course of a decade. Throughout all of their incarnations, the only consistent members of Fleetwood Mac were drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie — the rhythm section that provided the band with its...
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