1975, Music

Fleetwood Mac (1975)

When I was a kid and a tween, I only listened to oldies. For reasons I may never know, the oldies station in Toronto played Fleetwood Mac songs from this album and Rumours, among the very limited amount of music it dared play from post-1970. This stuff was deemed acceptable.

And so, when I actually developed taste in music, and spurned my childish likes and loves, I spurned the hits from this era of Fleetwood Mac.

But a funny thing happened as I dove into more obscure music from the ’60s and ’70s: I discovered the original Fleetwood Mac. And I became a big fan. (Then Play On remains one of my favourite albums.) Liking the earlier version of the band and spurning “oldies” made me irrationally detest this era of the band. Inevitably during some conversation about music with someone I would object to their celebration of Rumours or what have you. And in the early days of the internet, they would have never heard of Peter Green, and so I would inform them. (I’m sure I wasn’t obnoxious at all…)

As I get older, I have more room in my heart for pop music, though it’s still not my favourite thing. And so you’d think, maybe, on this second (or third?) attempt to appreciate the most commercially successful version of this band, I might actually be able to accept them. But no, I still can’t.

Science this sucks. Ugh.

I fucking hate soft rock so much. Who grows up wanting to make music like this? It’s not good when “Warm Ways” sounds like it presages much soft rock of the ’80s.

Honestly, I just… I just don’t understand. I understand that really, it’s me, not you, but I don’t understand why people like this music. Is it because it’s comforting? Is it something else? This is like regular rock music and folk music with the emotion tempered and the energy deliberately kept under control.

It’s not all bad. I’ve come to love “Landslide” over the years – thanks to Billy Corgan of all people – and now recognize it as a truly all-time great song. It’s literally fantastic. This version is a little over-produced – Buckingham’s electric guitar part hurts my ears – but it’s a fantastic song.

And “Rhiannon” is pretty good, too. I’ve come to accept that. But the rest of this record is pablum. It’s music for people who don’t want to experience complicated emotions when they listen – or think about music when they listen. It’s music for mothers, to paraphrase my co-host.

Some other thoughts:

  • Only Stevie Nicks’ lyrics are really any good. McVie’s are terrible. Buckingham’s are passable.
  • Nicks also has the best sense of melody and songcraft. Basically, if she didn’t write it, it’s not worth listening to, at least on this record.
  • I’ve heard all kinds of things about how Buckingham is some pop producer genius. But he isn’t here. There’s nothing here that doesn’t scream “MOR radio format.”
  • Why couldn’t McVie (male version) and Fleetwood rename this band when they decided they wanted to make this shit instead of blues rock? At least then I wouldn’t have to associate this with the earlier band.

Rant ended.

Listen to me talk about Fleetwood Mac.


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