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FLEETWOOD MAC – Rumours (WEA)

Posted: November 24th, 2004, by Chris Summerlin

I maintain that this is one of the best albums ever made. I’ve gone on about it before on diskant but now we have this reviews column I can get to do it again. Here is a blow by blow account (no pun intended)…
Not to put too fine a point on things, this album was made in the most fucked up conditions possible. It’s worth reading a biography about the Mac to get the full picture but basically John McVie and Mick Fleetwood represent true survival instincts at work to the nth degree. The Mac had been through all kinds of insane line up changes and had to contend with guitar wiz Peter Green going AWOL on a mental acid induced religous freakout. If I’d recorded Oh Well and then my band broke up I’d probably think I’d done enough to go into the painting and decorating business and forget music.
But no, they recamp to LA, get Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on board (as well as McVie’s wife Christine who’d been in the band for a while at that point). However, Buckingham and Nicks came as an item but were on the verge of what would be a messy break up that would last years. To make matters worse McVie was a total pisshead and his marriage was falling apart. Then Fleetwood steps in and gets it on with Nicks. Set this carnage to biblical cocaine abuse and it’s a minor miracle no one died making this record.
But what a record.
Second Hand News is such a great understated opener, I don’t think anyone needs too much guesswork to get the topic matter
‘Some one has taken my place’
But already you’ve got to think, he’s writing a song about his relationship breakup and then his ex comes in to sing on it. They must have been fucking mental – or utterly tweaked off their gourds. Look at Fleetwood on the back sleeve and you’ll maybe conclude the latter actually.
The Corrs did their best to shit all over Dreams but the original is a masterpiece. Buckingham’s guitar is the SHIT. I’ve said it before, the man is so under rated. So anyway, you get Buckingham singing his troubles away on the first track and then Nicks is giving it
‘Listen to the sound of your loneliness, like a heartbeat driving you mad/of what you had and what you lost’
It’s absolutely killer and before Nicks began parodying her own voice she had the most lush singing voice imaginable. Stevie – if you’re at home reading this online, let’s do lunch sometime.
Never Going Back Again is proof of Buckingham’s guitar skills if ever any of you total mongs needed them. Instrumentally this could be John Fahey but it’s coupled to – you guessed it – more defiant relationship break up lyrical trauma. I FUCKING LOVE THIS MAN.
OK, Don’t Stop is a little plodding, mainly due to the meat n 2 veg rhythm section. Buckingham’s giving it all though
‘YESTERDAY’S GONE’
he yells. He’s right. It’s a bit of a downer though but I guess it digs a trough just to make the colossal next song seem even greater.
Yep, Go Your Own Way.
They played this on their reunion video The Dance and Buckingham was ripping it. He was earning like a million dollars a nanosecond for that tour and he still had total fire, aiming the words out at Nicks. Imagine it, one week you’re conkers deep in Stevie Nicks, the next you’re not. That is bad. But then you have to see her every day and sing onstage with her. And to make matters worse your drummer is in there in your absence. But God, this song is good. The way it’s on the back foot for the verses and then out of the gate for the choruses. The bassline is amazing. The harmonies are perfect and the big Who style chords (reduced in the mix for maximum AOR effect but present in the live versions) are rousing. Actually, I take it back, Lindsey if YOU’RE reading this, let’s do lunch.
I am listening to Rumours as I write this and I am going to flip the needle back and listen to Go Your Own Way again and when it gets to Buckingham’s solo I am going to pretend I have a guitar and I am going to jump up and down on my bed like Alan Partridge when he sings Jet. Excuse me.
(OK, Songbird I can take or leave. I like Christine’s songs but mainly the rousing ones. It’s nice and all that but when you’ve had Buckingham/Nicks spitting fire, the kind of wistful window gazing approach is a little slight).
Side two. How can it possibly get better?
What the cock is this? Side 2 starts with a southern styled dirge, foot stomps and all. Maaaaan? What’s this?
‘If you don’t love me now, you’ll never love me again. I can still hear you saying, we’ll never break the chain’
Yeah right. I wish someone would break this chain. I mean the song is OK but where’s it going?
And then…
DANG! DA-DA DANG DA-DA DUH-DUH DAH DUUUUURRRRRR!
Woooooooooooooh!
Top Gear and the Formula One Grand Prix have given the ripping coda to this track something of a Jeremy Clarkson feel but that’s not the Mac’s fault. Get it? IT BREAKS THE CHAIN. Genius. I read that James Dean Bradfield likes the Mac. He wants to take some notes. I dare you not to play air guitar to this.
You Make Loving Fun is Christine’s best tune. She has this thing I call the Sleater Kinney Trick: a shit verse that serves only to make the chorus even better. It plods along, Buckingham cops a few guitar bits here and there, you know. But then it hits the chorus and it’s a winner. And of course it is. This is FLEETWOOD MAC. Plus, McVie is laying his bass down knowing that the tune’s about his wife banging the lighting manager.
Harsh.
I Don’t Want To Know is a bit wank. I admit it. I like it in the running order but again the rhythm section is a bit of a slog. Great harmonies. Like the handclaps too.
Oh Daddy starts and it could be Palace, seriously. Then Christine kicks in again. You can probably see I like the Buckingham/Nicks stuff most. It’s interesting to note John McVie always puts the effort in on his wife’s songs though. I guess they’re winding the album down at this point though. Fair play.
This Bible of music ends with the classic Gold Dust Woman. Admittedly it should have been called White Dust Woman as Nicks set about totally destroying her septum to the point where she allegedly employed a roadie to blow coke up her arsehole instead. It’s a corker. Like a mountain there are ups and downs with Rumours. There is a summit and there is a base. And like a mountain it is always glorious.
And there’s lots of snow too.



Chris Summerlin

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.

http://www.honeyisfunny.com

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