Everyone here should go listen to a band called Moon Taxi. They did a free concert in Market Square and it was totally awesome. Here, I’ll make it easy for you. Click this link to hear their song “Morocco.”
Now that that’s out of the way, I have a very important piece of information. Now, this might be old news for some of you, and some of you might not even care, but I feel like everyone should know that Fleetwood Mac is getting back together — Christine McVie included (and for those who don’t know, this is kind of a huge deal). They are in fact touring, and I do believe they are putting out a new album. So, in celebration of the end of exams, I’m going to write about one of my favorite albums and it happens to be by Fleetwood Mac.
(If my parents are reading this, Fleetwood Mac will be in Atlanta in December. If you were just wondering.)
Album: Rumors Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Now, for any of you in my generation (or maybe in another generation) that are thinking “Fleetwood who?” let me assure you: you’ve heard of Fleetwood Mac. If you’ve listened to the radio in the last 40 years and you grew up on planet Earth, you know at least one song by Fleetwood Mac. And I’m willing to bet that one song you’ve heard was from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors.
Rumors is an album that definitely makes my top five. And, admittedly, it probably is my favorite of all the albums I own on vinyl. Of course, the collection is only about thirty in number, so that could change. I also have no shame in sharing the fact that one of my favorite things to do is to put this album on, flip off the lights, flip on the lava lamp and Christmas lights in my room, and dance around while I channel my inner Stevie Nicks. I’m not kidding. Maybe you should give it a try.
One thing that is unique about Rumors is that the album is generally accepted as a good album. It’s pretty hard to find a negative review, and Metacritic even gave it a 99 out of 100. If that doesn’t convince you that this is a good album, I don’t exactly know what will.
But what makes Rumors so good? Fleetwood Mac of course. I can’t tell you what it is, but they have it. It’s what separates good bands from great bands. Maybe it’s a chemistry thing, maybe it’s a talent thing; regardless, Fleetwood Mac has it. You see, when Rumors was in production in 1976, Fleetwood Mac was kind of falling apart. Lindsey and Stevie were on and off, Mick Fleetwood was having issues with his wife, and Christine and John McVie were in the middle of a divorce. Who knows how they did it — stayed together I mean. All of these relationship issues could have literally ripped apart the band, but they didn’t.
And Rumors was the result. Maybe that’s what it is. Their ability to tough it out, to stay together, even though I’m sure there was some sort of emotional trauma that comes with writing music with a bunch of people that don’t get along. That’s part of what is so wonderful about Rumors. Every single song on this album is about some sort of relationship. Whether it’s about breaking up, moving on, romantic relationships, friendships; Rumors has it. There is a song for every situation, which is why I like to play it literally all the time. But it isn’t just the writing component provided by Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks that makes this album such a good listen.
I love listening to Fleetwood Mac because everyone involved is exceptionally good at what they play. Just yesterday I think I posted something on Twitter about how I wish Lindsey Buckingham could just stand there and play awesome music every time something cool happens to me. He plays his guitar like it’s an extension of what he’s feeling; it seems very aggressive at times, but kinda mellow at others (compare “The Chain” to “Never Going Back Again”). And John McVie is a very good bassist. I feel like everyone always forgets about the bassist, but most bands wouldn’t be as good as they are without their bassist; Fleetwood Mac isn’t an exception. If you ever want to listen to some groovy 70’s bass playing, McVie is your guy. “You Make Loving Fun” is the perfect example with it’s opening bass riff. And the vocals — yeah. Their voices just mix. Christine’s bluesy voice complements her piano perfectly in “Songbirds,” and Lindsey and Stevie have mastered the art of great vocal harmonies.
And another thing that I love about Rumors? It would have been very easy for the band members to write songs about their issues with one another. I’m not saying it didn’t happen — In “Go Your Own Way,” Buckingham aggressively sings about a breakup and accuses “Shaking up is all you wanna do.” It isn’t hard to realize who he was singing about. But despite the occasional angry lyric, there’s some fun there too, and maybe even a little optimism. One of Fleetwood Mac’s most famous singles “Don’t Stop” offers the kind of hope that I think everyone in the band needed; the line “Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow/Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,” is actually quite inspirational. I’ll come right out and say it, I used to hate this song just because everyone uses it for everything, but it actually has a really good message. And don’t even get me started on “The Chain.” It’s the only song on Rumors that the entire band wrote together. I think this is reflected in the lyrics, as Lindsey and Stevie and really the whole band plead, “Chain, keep us together.”
Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s the reason they managed to put aside some differences (with the help of some cocaine and booze) long enough to put out some really good music. Maybe, deep down, none of them really wanted to fall apart. “Damn your love/ damn your lies.” Isn’t that how everyone felt?
I can’t say that Rumors is my number one favorite album of all time. I can say that it might be. This album has influenced countless artists, from The Goo Goo Dolls to Death Cab for Cutie. This album has influenced me. I half wish that I grew up in the 70s just so that I could be around when it was the big thing (I mean, there are other reasons the 70s were awesome, but I won’t list them all here).
In short, this album is timeless and Fleetwood Mac is legendary. Go listen to it. Now. Until next week, keep listening!
Honorable Song Mentions: Dreams, Go Your Own Way, The Chain, You Make Loving Fun, Gold Dust Woman (I listed less than half the album this time — I think I’m getting better at this)
Below is the video for “The Chain” performed in 1982. Seriously, Buckingham rocks out. Without a guitar pick. Try that on for size.