I was on a little Fleetwood Mac kick this week. I’ve always kind of written the genre-shifting band a pass, especially their famous mid-70s hits. They came off as milk toast music made for middle-aged moms and I never really gave them the time of day. After my older brother offloaded a lot of my dad’s old records that he didn’t enjoy onto me, I felt inclined to give their self titled album and then subsequently Rumours and eventually Tusk. I found a treasure trove of enjoyment in all of the albums, but Tusk seemed to stick out to me.
The main draw of Tusk is really just how offbeat and weird it is. After making two of the most successful (and debatably, overplayed) hit spawning albums of the 70s, Tusk seems almost intentionally uncommercial by comparison. It’s a double album, for starters, making it almost an hour and twenty minutes long and once listening, to add onto that, the vast differences in songwriting between group members become clear.
Male vocalist and lead guitarist Lindsey Buckingham came through with raw, sparse and almost strangely short songs. My favorites of his are the pop-punk “Think About Me,” his almost Beach Boysesque “Walk a Thin Line” and the spacey sonic landscape of “That’s All for Everyone.” Resident diva and professional tambourine player Stevie Nicks also delivers. Nicks’ offerings became longer and more abstract lyrically. One of my favorites is “Sara,” which is just caked with reverberating guitar riffs and choir-like harmonies. You can find yourself getting lost in it. By the same token, “Storms” has a similar droning quality but with a quieter and more somber vibe, and “Sisters of the Moon” keeps up the abstract lyrics paired with a harder, rock groove.
Keyboardist Christine McVie provides songs that were still rooted in pop but kept up the muted vibe of the album. I really like her slow-burning opener in “Over & Over” it’s got some very sweet, expressive guitar work and interesting and creative vocal harmonies. She gets in a more chill almost Laural Canyon-esque feel on “Honey Hi.” Despite all these styles being nearly completely different, Tusk ends up being a really forward-thinking record that holds up I would say even better than their self-titled album or Rumours. It’s definitely worth a listen.