Top critical review
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If 'Rumours' was five stars and 'Tango in the Night' four, I have to mark this lower than both. Three stars is fair.
on 30 April 2013
I have owned this album for years but rarely play it. I revisited it recently and tried to work out why that is. After all, 'Rumours' is an all-time classic and the very good 'Tango in the Night' is still well worth a listen. Is it just that Lindsey Buckingham had left?
No, it's more than that. I get the impression that, despite the injection of two new members, the band had either run out of inspiration with regard to the material it was writing or was yet to find its feet in its new form. A lot of the tracks are collaborations between the band members, and some of them seem to fall between two stools: neither truly personal to the writer nor stronger for two heads being better than one. In fact, my favourite tracks are the ones where a band member has worked alone: the Stevie Nicks ones especially.
And then, to compound the problem, the production is messy. The band is now larger: the production should, perhaps, have been simpler and crisper to compensate. Instead it is heavy, with the drums very much to the fore, and some of the tracks seem over-produced. It all makes for an end product that doesn't live up to the legacy of Fleetwood Mac. I find there is no real stand-out track that brings a smile of recognition to my face.
Before I start to sound too negative, please don't get me wrong - it's not a bad album. It's just not a very good one by Fleetwood Mac standards. There are many groups who would give anything to produce an album like this. But this is Fleetwood Mac and every album will be judged against what has gone before.
'Behind the Mask' is definitely worth a listen, but I predict that many purchasers will end up like me: pleased to have this album in the collection but rarely if ever turning to it.
If 'Rumours' was five stars and 'Tango in the Night' four, I have to mark this lower than both. In the context of Fleetwood Mac's past triumphs, three stars is fair.