This album holds a slightly weird place in Fleetwood Mac's history. The classic line up is there so that at least guarantees it is better than any post Buckingham or post Nicks album which followed. But compared to 'Say You Will' being such a fine return to form, post Christine McVie (!!) it struggles to compete for the most part. Because it seems to me at least that the band were going through the motions somewhat....there are several fine moments here for sure but any great sense of daring or adventure as witnessed on Tusk (1979) is lacking. This is a safe record. Almost deliberately commercial after the wounding insults levelled at Tusk, this album is easy on the ear, if not exactly Easy Listening. But Rumours (1977) was also commercial, and considerably better than this.
Of course by most people's standards this is a fine album. We have after all the superb Gypsy from Stevie Nicks, the effortless single Oh Diane from Buckingham and at least one classic from Christine McVie in the closing number 'Wish You Were Here'. 'Hold Me' is catchy and inoffensive without achieving anything approaching classic status. 'Eyes Of the World' is compulsive Buckingham in the style he so ably demonstrated on Tusk. The rest is filler for the most part, enyoyable filler I admit at times ('Can't Go Back', 'That's Alright', 'Empire State') but the Stevie Nicks track 'Straight Back' is hardly worthy of a Nicks solo effort.
So this is The Mac treading water. They could still swim but were not making many waves with this. Compared to their best work at least. If halves were allowed then this would be 3,5 max. But as they are not, I will give it four, as my expectations are ridiculously high when I think of what they are capable of. I still play this album quite often after all so it is not an irrelevance by any means!