Review Summary: A perfect album if there ever was one.
Fleetwood Mac's Rumours
is justfully viewed by the general public as one of the greatest rock records of all time. It earned this status because it succeeds on so many levels: on a basic one, every single song is fantastic. Structurally, it is flawless, each piece taking an extremely fitting position on the tracklist. Most of all though, it is very unified: a true 'album': What made this possible is the relationship struggles in the band at the time, which had 2 couples (!) at the time of recording. In a stunning achievement, all these troubles and uncertainties, but also positive aspects were channeled into the songwriting. The result: the perfect rock album.
Like on its predecessor, Fleetwood Mac
divides the songwriting between three members, and each of them gets an equal chance to show off their superb skills. Because there are no two consecutive songs with the same lead vocalist, the album keeps flowing extremely well and is therefore far more interesting. Other than that, the bigger, anthemic songs are arranged neatly in between mostly shorter, simpler and direct ones. Not only does this ensure the necessary variety, but it also makes the tracks falling into the latter category far more interesting and effective. Take opener Second Hand News
, for example. Not only does it draw the listener in immeadiately and comfortably, it is also a perfect introduction for the theme. As two of the three songwriters are Buckingham and Nicks, a great deal of the album focuses on their breaking relationship, and Buckingham's first song comes right in with lyrics that are clear enough of his stance on the breakup with Nicks:
'One thing I think you should know
I ain't gonna miss you when you go
Been down so long
I've been tossed around enough
Aw Couldn't you just
Let me go down and do my stuff'
There's a lot of negative feelings on Buckingham's side, which is solified by the beautiful little acoustic number Never Going Back Again
, which' title obviously speaks for itself. His best song, however, is easily the huge hit Go Your Own Way
, with its immortal chorus and rockin' guitar solo (one of his fiercer moments on the album).
The other side of that relationship is of course Stevie Nicks, a woman with a ridiculously sexy voice and quite possibly the best songwriting skills in the band. It is unbelievable that Silver Springs
, now a restored b-side, did not originally appear on the album (something that wrecked Nicks, as she has a strong personal connection with the song). It's inclusion on the remaster makes Rumours
only so much better than it already was, and easily outdoes her other excellent moments I Don't Want to Know
and Gold Dust Woman
. Her first appearance Dreams
is however her seminal moment: the utter control she has over her singing is nothing short of amazing, as are the lyrics:
'Now there you go again
You say you want your freedom
Who am I to keep you down...down
It's only right that you should
Play it the way that you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat, drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering
What you had, And what you lost
Ooooh, say what you had, you know what you lost
Thunder only happens when it's raining
Players only love you when they're playing
They say, women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you'll know
You will know'
And btw, thanks John McVie, that bassline you're playing there is awesome.
Christine McVie, on the other hand, provides a sense of optimism. The upbeat Don't Stop
is a definite highlight, and delivers some strong positive lyricism: 'If you wake up and don't want to smile/If it takes just a little while/Open your eyes and look at the day/You'll see things in a different way.'
. You Make Loving Fun
, her joint best song on the album, goes even further in this optimism: 'Sweet wonderful you/You make me happy with the things you do/Oh, can it be so/This feeling follows me wherever I go.'
(and John, more compliments here, that's some funkeh stuff right there). Songbird
however deserves special mention: though not as well known as the two aforementioned songs, is yet another definite standout: recorded in an empty stadium with just McVie on vocals and keys, it is the most direct and intimate piece on Rumours
And although there's a lot more to write about how amazing this record is, you should honestly just go and listen to it if you haven't already. Rumours
is an album like no other, and deserves it's classic reputation like no other. Superbly written, varied material, completely unified as an album, fantastically produced, and most importantly: extremely meaningful and connectable for anyone who's ever been in a serious relationship. I'm just going to say it: this is one of the greatest rock records of all time, and if you doubt that, you just haven't listened good enough.
Go Your Own Way
You Make Loving Fun