Just let me begin by stating that I love Fleetwood Mac, and I love many of the bands on this compilation. With that said...
This tribute album is a missed opportunity. JUST TELL ME THAT YOU WANT ME is a 17-track record full of cover versions of (mostly) indie bands laying down their take on the iconic Fleetwood Mac. Most of the music here is reverently faithful to the master tracks; those hoping that Best Coast and the New Pornographers were going to bring their own indie sensibilities to Fleetwood Mac will be disappointed by these bands sticking so close to the original. Alternately, Fleetwood Mac fans eager to here some of their favorite songs transformed won't find much interesting here either.
Antony's cover of "Landslide" is a pretty solid disappointment; it is a fairly straight rendition of the song, but it only serves a missed opportunity. The Smashing Pumpkins' cover of the song during the 1990's and the original outshine the track here. The bluesy and distorted "Oh Well" seems to have been made for Billy Gibbons, and his cover is much less energetic, but just as punchy. Best Coast's "Rhiannon" is fine, but it's pretty limp and bland compared to Fleetwood Mac's original; at its worst it sounds like a karaoke version of the song. The New Pornographer's "Think About Me" adds a few synthesizer riffs to an otherwise faithful cover. Aside from a few country-guitar rips, Karen Elson's "Gold Dust Woman" is an already familiar trip.
There are a few artists who provide good treatments to these songs. Swedish singer/songwriter Lykke Li takes "Silver Springs" and gives it a reverb-drenched eerie feel. The song that was initially a B-Side to "Go Your Own Way" serves as one of the best tracks here. "Straight Back," as performed by Washed Out is given a great 80's new-wave gloss. Craig Werden and St. Vincent's duet of "Sisters of the Moon" reworks the song to meet their sensibilities with fantastic results. MGMT's "Future Games" is perhaps the strangest cover of all: in typical MGMT fashion, the band has used an "everything and the kitchen sink" approach to the song. It's a much more robotic take on the homegrown stylings of Fleetwood Mac, and it's at least worth taking a peek at.
The most disappointing thing about this collection is the lack of variety that these bands bring to the table. Most of these tracks are faithful covers that simply fail to reach their original counterparts' quality. I would have preferred to have these bands rework them completely than play it so safely. Because it doesn't really service Fleetwood Mac or the bands performing on this tribute album, it's hard to recommend JUST TELL ME THAT YOU WANT ME to anyone. I suppose that hardcore fans of Fleetwood Mac would find some enjoyment out of this collection, but not enough fresh life is breathed into these songs to really warrant a purchase.
Additional Release Information:
Digital versions of the album include "Hold Me" and "The Green Manalishi." These tracks aren't particularly strong enough to recommend the digital copy of this album over the material one, per se, but I suppose if you are a big fan of either of those songs, you'll want to opt for the MP3 version.