Fleetwood Mac
Rumours


5.0
classic

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (179 Reviews)
April 25th, 2014 | 148 replies


Release Date: 1977 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The perfect storm.

In hindsight, it's really a miracle that Rumours didn't completely sink. You have two couples who are struggling with internal conflicts - John and Christine McVie had recently divorced, while Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks (who were only in the group for a few years by that point) were in an on/off relationship of their own - plus drummer Mick Fleetwood's then-wife Jenny having an affair behind his back. The only times in which the band would be unified and in sync were during musical matters such as songwriting and recording, but they wouldn't connect socially beyond the studio. Of course, it also didn't help that Fleetwood Mac were the hottest music group at the time because of the success of their self-titled "white album" back in 1975, which led to many rumors (hence the title) and intrusions from the media concerning their problems. Basically, the entire situation surrounding Rumours was a complete goddamn mess. However, even in the face of such dilemmas, they pulled through and brought their A-game to create what many consider to be one of the greatest records in pop or rock music history.

The factors in the album's quality and success are too many to count, beyond what could be considered amazing circumstances; however, the mass appeal is one of the biggest things to take into account. The two McVies and Mick Fleetwood were from the original incarnation of Fleetwood Mac (the Peter Green era), while Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were added much later. Taking elements from the original blues sound of the British members' past and combining them with Buckingham and Nicks' taste for 50s rock and folk proved to be a potent concoction. Want a solid pop tune? Listen to "Dreams." Folk? Listen to "Never Going Back Again." Fast hard rock? "Go Your Own Way." A combination of all three? "The Chain." There's something for everyone here, no matter what you're into. The vocals and songwriting are split between Buckingham, Nicks, and Christine McVie, and all provide their own unique touches to their compositions. McVie's songs are usually more on the upbeat side and provide a welcome change in pace from the darker, more intense listens written by Nicks. Buckingham provides a good middle ground, usually combining an upbeat sound with a varied sonic palate (guitar-wise) and range of moods.

Instrumentally, it's all extremely solid and (once again) very unified. There's no ridiculous shredding from Buckingham, the guitarist instead opting to experiment with what sounds fit best in each song. The rhythm section of Fleetwood and John McVie is also worth mentioning since they don't often receive enough credit; both are very subtle in their roles, but that's the beauty of it. Christine McVie is still one of the central members here, just as she was in the previous record; her piano playing and vocals are graceful, yet dynamically varied throughout each track. And then you've got Stevie Nicks, who really doesn't need to be mentioned because of how well-known and acclaimed she already is. Nonetheless, she goes above and beyond the others when it comes to the vocal department... then again, vocals are the only thing she contributes to this record, so it makes sense that she'd be the focal point in this case. However, as stated before, the real quality of the instrumentation is hearing it all come together as a single entity (with the exception of sparser tracks like "Never Going Back Again" and "Songbird").

But even then, what is it that truly makes this record so legendary? I'd say it has to do with both technical perfection and something a bit less tangible. For one thing, every single song is where it should be. Is there any filler? Not a chance! The placement is flawless when it comes to the record's range of emotions and dynamics, which vary drastically between each piece. But as for the intangible element... it just comes down to the fact that the band were so dedicated and so caring. When Christine McVie sings "Songbird" while playing it on her Steinway piano, her affection for John McVie is extremely evident through how emotive she is regardless of their conflict. The same goes for "Dreams," in which Stevie Nicks' frustration with Lindsey Buckingham is channeled perfectly within the verses as she lays down the cold truth about their relationship. And THERE'S where this album's beauty lies. It's not just great music and lyrics, but it's about writing of love in such a real and meaningful way because they're going through the turmoil realistically. It's a timeless representation of love, one that isn't portrayed in cheesy love letters or bland teen-pop lyrics. Rumours is about the band laying all emotions out on the proverbial table and never holding back about what they feel about each other.

Rumours isn't just a perfect album on a musical level, but on every level imaginable.



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user ratings (665)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
FiveLeavesLeft
April 25th 2014


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I was going to save this one up for my 200th write-up, but I just couldn't wait any longer. Enjoy

emester
April 25th 2014


3318 Comments


My mom's favorite album. Gonna give it a spin later today.

Digging: Aphex Twin - Syro

ShitsofRain
April 25th 2014


5897 Comments


should listen to this too

Digging: Anthony Shakir - Frictionalism 1994-2009

manosg
April 25th 2014


6083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Soft rock can't get any better than this one really and the damn thing has aged so well. Great review Brendan too, mindpos.

Digging: John Coltrane - Ballads

guitarded_chuck
April 25th 2014


2945 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good review sir

been jamming this since we were all talking bout it yesterday

SitarHero
April 25th 2014


4674 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Brendan have you given Buckingham Nicks s/t a spin?

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2014


10229 Comments


Nice review man

elcrawfodor
April 25th 2014


266 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A pop album that really deserves all of the praise. Songbird is freaking beautiful, it's somber musically but its lyrics to me seem slightly more hopeful (in a melancholic way) compared to the rest of the album.

NinoKuni
April 25th 2014


198 Comments


This is an excellent review of one of my favourite albums of all time. No one ever mentions "Silver Springs" in their reviews though, and I think (despite it not being included on the final cut of Rumours) it has a great story and serves as an excellent companion piece to "Go Your Own Way." It would solidify a lot of the points you made about their relationships dissolving and tensions and frustrations running high.

NeroCorleone80
April 25th 2014


29023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. Now get back to the Rush discog

TWIGtheWONDERKID
April 25th 2014


790 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice review, it's a classic album(in every way) . . . “Go Your Own Way,” “Don’t Stop,” “Dreams” and “You Make Loving Fun” all went top three on the US singles charts in 1977, and “Dreams” went to number one—that’s amazing.

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2014


19756 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review Brendan!

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

bigguytoo9
April 25th 2014


246 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love Gold Dust Woman

EvoHavok
April 25th 2014


1378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I got way too late into this, but it's awesome. Also, great review as usual!

Digging: Pandemonium - Insomnia

TheSupernatural
April 25th 2014


1179 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review is a year or two late but I guess staff has no rules

Digging: xSPONGEXCOREx - How Tough Are Yah?

ZackSh33
April 25th 2014


296 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great great great album

Great review. Wasn't expecting staff to review this

GmemberKills
April 25th 2014


800 Comments


Don't break the chain. Yeah this album is a classic, great review too.

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dannyboy89
April 25th 2014


11960 Comments


Awesome review Necro, as usual.

sapient
April 25th 2014


1993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dreams is Grade A pop, as is the majority of this record

Digging: Rage Against the Machine - The Battle of Los Angeles

Calc
April 25th 2014


12190 Comments


my wife's favorite record and I've never even heard it, damn....

Digging: Jizue - Shiori



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