Out with the old, in with the new. That seems to have been the motto for Fleetwood Mac, as the band prepared to begin recording Time
, an album which proved just as average as its predecessor, if not more so. Fleetwood Mac's was the sixteenth album, and the first in a long time without Stevie Nicks. Whilst her presence was sub-par at best on Behind the Mask
, it just wasn't the same without her either, as Time
inevitably proved. Perhaps the best thing about the album was that it had a lot of personnel involved, replacements which included country rock singer Bekka Bramlett and former Traffic guitarist Dave Mason, and a song even invited previous member Lindsey Buckingham to provided backing vocals for "Nothing Without You". Yet as "full" as the production for Time
was, nothing seemed to be able to help the band come out of their comfort zone.
The biggest problem with Time
is that the majority of its songs sound completely dated-more so than on any of Fleetwood Mac's 70s releases. The production largely hampers the instrumental effects of songs such as opener "Talkin' to my Heart", "Blow by Blow" and "I Do" among others, and it's so frustrating to know that these aforementioned tracks aren't actually that bad in retrospect. They are decently written of course, but they all also seem to be lacking a special something. Even the heavier, more rock-oriented tracks seem a little off as a result, the most obvious of which perhaps being "I got it in for You", which is a prime example of the band's return to a more country-influenced style thanks to Bramlett's vocal input.
Aside from production, Time
is, as most will have come to expect, fully average. Most of the songwriting here seems to be a carbon copy of the songwriting on Behind the Mask
, and if anything, it just goes to show that Fleetwood Mac as a collective group had finally run out of ideas. Sure, some may argue that previous records were marred by a great deal of uninspired material, but here it is more evident than ever before. "Winds of Change" plods on at a really under-accelerated pace, "I Do" is too cheesy for it's own good and closer "These Strange Times" doesn't even move from its starting point for seven long minutes. Whilst Christine McVie's vocal delivery is decent enough on its own, her input never seems to tie in well with the surrounding musicianship, and it all sounds forgettable in the end. "Nights in Estoril" and "Sooner or Later" are rather pleasant to listen to however, and "Hollywood (Some Other Kind of Town)" makes for a nice change of pace, especially when it was placed near the beginning of the album. The same results apply to Billy Burnette, and to a lesser extent, Dave Mason, but what seems frustrating is how often the album seems to remind us all that most of the vital members have come and gone.
And so Time
ends as it began-an average affair which has some very pleasant, listenable moments but which are also too brief at the same time. The album is ended as such, but with something special due to Mick Fleetwood narrating his way through the entire seven minutes of plodding ambiance and half-hearted background vocals. At this point, it's almost as if the band were considering their downfall of recent times and finally ending what had been a successful, if not entirely flawless career. That the band did, returning eight years later with a re-invigorated line-up (Christine McVie though unfortunately absent) and certainly a more inspired general sound.