Fleetwood Mac
Mystery to Me



by Robert Davis USER (306 Reviews)
January 21st, 2015 | 10 replies

Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

By the release of 1973's Mystery to Me, it was understood that the driving force between much of Fleetwood Mac's material produced in the early 70s was more or less a direct cause of Christine McVie and Bob Welch, notwithstanding the mark left by Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, and to a lesser extent, Jeremy Spencer, as they all left the band one album after the other. But this was all in the past, given that by now, as evident on the band's strong and confident eighth album, songwriting was arguably at its most memorable and consistent.

If one were to forget the somewhat lackluster nature of previous album Penguin, which admittedly began to show signs of a band losing their edge, then Mystery to Me would automatically appear more relevant and vital to the band's resurgence into mainstream territory. This is probably because, not forgetting the input of Bob Weston, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, the songwriting talents of Christine McVie and Bob Welch were fully realized in songs with more accessibility and memorability than ever before. Whilst the album's first two songs are obviously among the weaker half, songs like the quirky, excellent "Keep on Going" and quite beautiful closer "Why" both proved how far McVie and Welch could stretch their adventurous ideas. Regarding vocal delivery, McVie and Welch both bring a smooth, elegant touch to each of their own respective songs, something which already eclipses the tedium of Penguin and injects more eccentricity into the mix. "Just Crazy Love" and "Hypnotized" for example, are heartfelt and supported by elegant lyrical imagery which brings out the best of the band's cohesive songwriting efforts, consistently accompanying the smooth yet upbeat instrumental performances. Then there's the songs which lean towards poppier territory, such as "Keep on Going" with its quirky musicianship and the harmonic "Forever", a romantic song which would bring to mind some of the band's latter material in the process.

The main problem with Mystery to Me however is, like in Penguin, the low level of input by Bob Weston, who went on to leave the band shortly after this album's release. Whilst his instrumental input was undeniably vital to the album's progress, he was only eventually credited with one song, being "Forever". "Forever" is a very good song indeed, put together with harmonic vocal delivery and grand musical vigour, but essentially it would remind the listener just why he didn't have more of an influence on the songwriting process in general. There are also less memorable songs to be found here too. The album's first two tracks, "Emerald Eyes" and "Believe Me", not forgetting how confident the vocal delivery comes across, end up being a little bland because of the fact they were seemingly overshadowed by the rest of the album. This isn't a particularly bad thing, but if anything, Fleetwood Mac were known for giving a strong first impression with every album and letting the rest of the songs continue the work.

That said, it's certainly one of the stronger albums between 1969's Then Play On and the mainstream-hitting self-titled in 1975, because of the songwriting alone. Whilst Christine McVie was yet to truly spread her wings into poppier territory, some of the songs here already hinted at that evolution in songwriting, and her more confident vocal delivery only proves this furthermore. The same, essentially, can be said for Bob Welch. A shame that this turned out to be the last album to feature Bob Weston then, but one could only imagine if he would have had more songwriting input had he stayed with the band for years to come.

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user ratings (87)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 21st 2015


worst album cover ever?

January 21st 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Not even close

January 21st 2015


Album Rating: 2.5

Nice review man.

January 22nd 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

I have this on vinyl. Hypnotized is awesome. nice review too

January 22nd 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

I think I must get this album only 'cause of Hypnotized

February 1st 2015


album cover rules wth

May 25th 2018


Album Rating: 3.5

awful cover, lovely album

December 31st 2020


Grabbed this from my mom. Saw she had a vinyl copy. I think it's okay, but it lacks something bringing it to the next level. Hypnotized is definitely amazing. Even my mom remembered how the song went when she was handing the record to me.

December 31st 2020


Album Rating: 2.5

Glad to see this get a review. Nice job, too.

November 29th 2021


Album Rating: 3.0

hypnotized rules

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