Lindsey Buckingham returned on Friday with her first solo album since her dismissal from Fleetwood Mac in April 2018.
It’s an eponymous album, which is usually the calling card of an artist finally having the freedom to control their own music, discover their sound signature or launch their first music collection. But in Buckingham’s case, it’s a lost album in the past.
I had low expectations for this album. This is by no means exceptional, but it is certainly playable if you are a Fleetwood Mac fan – and more than just a fan of “Dreams” and “Landslide”. It’s a sound reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s work in the late ’70s and early’ 80s, a sound in which Buckingham played a major conservation role.
It’s packed with contagious hooks and the type of rolling jam that might get you through a long road trip or set the pace for your morning walk to campus.
I particularly enjoyed “Blue Light”, “On the Wrong Side” and “Time”. These testify to Buckingham’s talents as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, a contemporary of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
But my main concern is that the album lacks cohesion.
If I had to guess, these songs are a conglomeration of excerpts written by Buckingham from decades of Fleetwood Mac. It’s as if he’s blending all the aesthetics of his old band’s production into one album – the ambiguous lyricism of the “Tusk” era, the vocal production of the “Tango in the Night” era and a few random drum loops and a brilliant instrumental instrument. productions reminiscent of the âSay You Willâ era.
Taken individually, each of these concepts is pleasing to the ear – they correspond to their respective genres. Taken together, these notions fight against each other. It is an indefinable, unprecedented sound.
Yet I understand and appreciate Buckingham’s continued passion for music. He is a legend in the music industry and his name carries immense weight.
But those accolades didn’t shield him from blame in 2018 when he was officially fired from Fleetwood Mac.
There is ambiguity as to why Buckingham left the group. Stevie Nicks, singer and drum player for the group, said it was because Buckingham had requested too much free time to pursue his solo career.
Buckingham said manager Irving Azoff told him “Stevie never wants to be on stage with you ever again.”
The alleged comment that “Stevie never wants to be on a stage with [Buckingham] again âis a notion with roots in the making of nearly fifty years. It’s a callback to “Rumors”, undeniably Fleetwood Mac’s most iconic record.
“Rumors” is one of the greatest albums of all time. It spent 441 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart and is the tenth best-selling album of all time, selling over 40 million copies worldwide. Released in 1977, it defines the soft rock sound of its decade.
But it was an album rooted in internal strife, sort of a lyrical battle between Nicks and Buckingham, each on their second album with the band after joining the band in 1975.
The two had been dating since the early 1970s, and their relationship only became more difficult after joining Fleetwood Mac. Their relationship completely fell apart in 1976, and the two – along with another shaking group couple, John and Christine McVie – put their emotional issues and stabbing into “Rumors.” Buckingham threw swords with tracks like “Never Going Back Again” and “Go Your Own Way”, and Nicks rebutted with “Dreams” and “I Don’t Want to Know”.
Nicks and Buckingham’s torn romance saga was seemingly endless. Even in 1982, five years after the release of “Rumors”, Nicks and Buckingham were visibly angry with each other on stage, as evidenced by a video recording of a live performance of “The Chain”.
Buckingham left the group in 1987 and Nicks would not leave until a few years later. The two would not share a scene again until a performance by Fleetwood Mac starring the original line-up at Bill Clinton’s inaugural ball in 1993. The group reunited in 1996, and Buckingham and Nicks found a way to coexist peacefully from that point on, although rumors of tension between the two persisted.
These rumors were all but confirmed in April 2018, when it was announced that Buckingham had been sacked from the group.
It saddens me that a group I grew up in failed to recover from their moods. The release of “Lindsey Buckingham” reinforces my impression that the band will never regain their original glory. As much as I love Nicks, seeing her perform songs written about Buckingham without him on stage will be disheartening.
While Buckingham’s solo album is decent, it just doesn’t turn me on the way I would like it to. I will continue to listen to it, but not as much as I listen to the solo work of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks.
While the band’s legacy is a landslide of chaos, Fleetwood Mac’s discography is preeminent and unmissable. The band’s history represents a collective of individually talented modern music pioneers, so I can certainly forgive a little relationship drama.
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