Monday, November 6, 2017

Review of Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie's "Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie"

I posted this review this morning on the Sputnik Music website:

Review Summary: A solid, if unspectacular, effort by the second and third best songwriters in Fleetwood Mac.

This should have been a new Fleetwood Mac album. It almost was. As of 2015, Stevie Nicks was supposed to hook up with the other four members of the classic Fleetwood Mac lineup in the studio, where Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie were already working together on new material. Instead, she decided to tour in support of her 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault solo album, and Buckingham and McVie said, "Eff that b-word, we ain't waiting." Or something to that effect. Why they decided not to call it a Fleetwood Mac album anyway, I can't say. They released Behind the Mask without Buckingham in the lineup in 1990, and they released the much-reviled Time album without either Buckingham or Nicks in 1995. Then again, look at the ratings for those two LPs on Sputnik's Fleetwood Mac page, and maybe that explains it. (Even the 2003 Say You Willalbum, which fared much better with the critics, was missing Christine McVie for all but three of the tracks, and she wasn't listed as an official band member for that project).

So what we have with Lindsay Buckingham/Christine McVie is a 10-track project with Buckingham and McVie trading lead vocals. Buckingham is listed as the songwriter for all five of his tracks, while three of McVie's give McVie and Buckingham co-songwriting credits and the other two are solely credited to McVie. Buckingham obviously does all of the guitar work here (and even percussion for some tracks), while McVie contributes many of the keyboards throughout. The album also lists John McVie on bass, Mick Fleetwood on drums and percussion and Mitchell Froom on keyboards, although some numbers were recorded solely by Buckingham and Ms. McVie.

It's definitely not a bad album. It doesn't necessarily reach out and grab you by the giggleberries on first listen (or it didn't for me, anyway), but it grows on you with repeated listens. There's nothing on it that really matches Fleetwood Mac's best work, but most of it is at least respectable -- there are only a couple of disposable tracks.

The first single from the LP, and also the best song, is a Buckingham track called "In My World". It's a catchy tune that features some somber guitar riffs on the verses, then lightens up on the chorus. It didn't exactly burn up the charts, but then again, Buckingham and McVie are both in their late-60's-to-early-70's, and we all know that rock/pop music is mostly a young artist's game, especially as far as record sales go. 

McVie's best number is the second track on the album, a song called "Feel About You". It's a love song with a Caribbean feel to it. She's also got two other worthy efforts here: "Carnival Begin", a slow, dreamlike track that features some sparse but romantic guitar on the choruses, and "Red Sun", a song that looks back on a lost relationship with some regret. As for Buckingham, his strongest tracks other than "In My World" include "Love Is Here to Stay", which features a soulful vocal and some of his trademark finger-picked guitar work, and "Sleeping Around the Corner", a reworked version of a song that was previously released as a bonus track on one of his solo albums.

As I said earlier, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie is a solid album of light rock music that's definitely worth a listen, especially for Fleetwood Mac fans. But as one Sputnik User lamented in a soundoff, you can't listen to it without thinking about what could have been -- what if a couple of the less interesting tracks on here were replaced by two or three good Stevie Nicks songs? But you know what Stevie says about "Dreams": "Like a heartbeat ... drives you mad/In the stillness of remembering what you had ...." So instead, I'll try to appreciate what we do have with this LP -- an enjoyable, if unspectacular, album of sort-of Fleetwood Mac music. And that's still pretty good.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars