Here it is, as promised, before the new year, the final installation of the Fleetwood Mac Attack! I began the Mac Attack in August of 2012, and now on the last day of December 2013, I announce its closure. Here’s my take on the last three albums!
Time is the sixteenth album put out by the mac, but the first album since Heroes are Hard to Find in 1974 featuring neither Stevie Nicks nor Lindsey Buckingham. Three people filled in the two-person gap, Bekka Bramlett, Dave Mason and Billy Burnette. This was their first album to not make the charts in ages, and even though it’s not a bad album, I understand why. Early on in Fleetwood Mac’s career, it was easier for them to shift from blues rock to trance to pop rock. The band’s member turnover was probably just as famous as the band itself. But after twenty years of Fleetwood Mac being Mick, John, Christine, Stevie and Lindsey, the audience must have rejected the newbies as wannabes. I understand.
The new voices on this album push it toward a country rock sound that doesn’t mesh well with Christine McVie’s jazzier mellow pop songs. And her five songs are by far the best part of this album. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, Christine co-wrote most of her songs with her second husband Eddy Quintela, who (it turns out!!!) is Portuguese!!! He’s from Estoril, which is a lovely little coastal beach town reachable by train from Lisbon. “Nighst in Estoril” is a veneration of the happiest parts of their relationship while acknowledging the difficulties present in their relationship as well.
So, obviously, my favorite track on this album is “Nights in Estoril.” (This, plus the tango-tastic “Tango in the Night,” prove that Fleetwood Mac is my true soul mate). I’d say it’s worth listening to at least once, but if you want to be frugal with your time, just listen to Christine McVie’s tracks. (And the super sketchy final track “These Strange Times,” because it’s a lot like the sketchy tracks that the band used to do in the super early 70s. Mick Fleetwood co-wrote the song with Ray Kennedy, and it’s a pinch over seven minutes long, and it’s mostly spoken. It seriously sounds like it could be on Bare Trees).
Say You Will (2003)
When I started listening to Say You Will, my heart started jumping, saying, “Thank God, thank God, Lindsey and Stevie are back!!” The boulder-sized grain of salt to this, of course, is that Say You Will is the first album since 1970’s Kiln House that does not feature Christine McVie as a member of Fleetwood Mac. You can hear her in the background of a couple of songs, but she’s there to support and no more. Christine wanted to retire, and until very, very recently, she’s maintained an adamant stance on keeping her retirement.
That being said, Say You Will is a pretty decent album, and it’s fascinating to hear the way Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks recombine musically after several years of being apart and developing their respective solo careers so much. The music is wonderful, it’s familiar, but it’s a whole new beast. It’s like your cousin who went into the peace corps and then you see her the first time she comes home, and suddenly she can’t speak English, she has a nose ring, and she’s digging a new well in your grandparents’ back yard. You recognize her and you love her, but she’s a whole nother person. And you’re super excited that she’s back, and how did she learn how to build a well, anyway? That’s Say You Will.
Extended Play (2013)
TO BE FAIR, Extended Play is not a full studio album. It is a four-song EP that was released by the band without a record label for digital download earlier this year. It’s fifteen minutes long, and you can listen to it on Youtube. The EP reached 48 on the Billboard Top 200, and sold nearly 19000 its first week. Which is impressive because there was NO promotion for this EP at all. Three of the four tracks were written by Lindsey Buckingham, including the fun opener “Sad Angel.” Track Two, “Without You,” was co-written by Buckingham and Nicks before they joined Fleetwood Mac. Apparently, Nicks rediscovered the song via Youtube, and they decided to record it!
Extended Play came out during a beautiful hype for the 35th Anniversary Tour of Rumours (1977), hailing in what will hopefully be a new age of Fleetwood Mac music and touring and awesomeness!!! The band’s worldwide tour had to cancel its Australia/New Zealand leg for John McVie to undergo cancer treatment, but (wishing him wellness and health soon!) hopefully everything will fall into place for Fleetwood Mac to continue on. I wonder what future games they’ll play on…
Author note: Through the Fleetwood Mac Attack and its Bonus Tracks, I’ve written reviews on 33 studio albums, 2 compilations, and 1 EP. That’s 36 reviews, each treated with care and detail. Except for the EP, each album was a minimum of 38 minutes long and a maximum of 1 hour 25 minutes long. I listened to every album at least once, and I listened to 90% of the albums two or three times each. That’s a lot of music to listen to! When I started this project in 2012, I thought it would take me six to eight weeks, but I just didn’t have the time to listen to the music as thoroughly as I wanted to. Instead, I chose to pace myself and listen as able, which has allowed for the Mac Attack to exist as it does! I hope you have enjoyed it, because I know I have!