Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie was released on June 9th of this year.
Any self-respecting Baby Boomer will immediately recognize these names as two-fifths of the band Fleetwood Mac. That alone is enough to pique the interest, but then to learn that two more members – Mick Fleetwood and John McVie – are major contributors to the album, well, that should generate some real excitement.
Two questions must be asked regarding this new effort from this legendary band (or subset thereof). First, can they still bring it like they use to? And what about the disappointing absence of Stevie Nicks?
Regarding the first question – can they still bring it? There is no way to turn back the hands of time. If you’re expecting another Rumours, you’ll be disappointed. Comparisons, though unfair, are inevitable. Like you and me, these guys are a lot older than they used to be, and they don’t seem to attack their latest project with the passion that they used to. The lyrics are trite and the melodies are formula.
Where this album really shines is the music itself. The ten songs offered on this album were all written and sung by one of the two title bearers. And they all – in one way or another – will remind those of us entering the grandma era of one of the biggest bands of our generation.
Given a chance, the songs on this album are good enough to stand quite well on their own two feet, and they capture the spirit of those mid-seventies songs admirably. They make their point early in the album, as the opener, “Sleeping Around the Corner,” is the most unmistakably Fleetwood Mac song on the album. A short verse and then the chorus kicks in and two things hit you like a brick to the head: 1) these are the same guys who sang “Second Hand News” and 2) they want you to know it.
But this can’t be Fleetwood Mac without Stevie Nicks, right?. Unquestionably, her absence is glaring, as her unique vocals are the undeniable missing piece of the puzzle. The spotlight shone most brightly on Ms. Nicks during those glory days, and I won’t pretend that wasn’t as enamored of her as any. But it was Ms. McVie that wrote and sung the song that my wife and I chose to include in our wedding. “Songbird” from the Rumours album is a beautiful song featuring nothing more than Christine singing and playing piano.
Forty years later, that voice is instantly recognizable, surprisingly strong, and whole-heartedly welcome. And the same can be said for Buckingham’s contributions, and that beat that is uniquely Mick Fleetwood. Indeed, devoting the forty minutes it takes for a complete listen is like a visit with an old friend: In many ways they’ve changed and so have you. But then again, not as much as it seems.
- This was supposed to be a Fleetwood Mac album.
- Rumor is that all five had committed to the project, but Nicks’ other obligations caused a two-year delay and she finally backed out completely.
- I also heard that originally, the album was to be called Buckingham McVie, patterned after the pre-Fleetwood Mac album Buckingham Nicks.
- I have found two things on the album that could be interpreted as digs at Stevie Nicks. Curious if you can find them, too…or maybe even some I missed.
- I listened for this album’s “Songbird.” “Game of Pretend” comes pretty close…but no.
- An overriding thought as I considered what to say about Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie was that, being a Baby Boomer, I couldn’t be objective. I need a millennial opinion of this album. Any takers?
Here’s the album on Spotify