My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Tusk is the twelfth studio album by Fleetwood Mac. Lindsay Buckingham was adamant about not making the album Rumors 2 and used unorthodox recording tactics in its creation. The double album was recorded through 1978 and most of 1979 and cost over $1 million dollars to record making it, up to that point, the most expensive album ever. It was released in October of 1979.
What I think: Fleetwood Mac is at their best when they have three voices rotating in the lead and contributions of backing vocals going through all the songs. It’s like a rock rolling downhill gaining momentum. It’s what makes Rumors so extraordinary, it just keeps building anticipation excitement. The problem with this album is that Buckingham comes in every third song or so and breaks that momentum. His songs aren’t bad, they are just too sparse and different sounding compared to the rest of the album and they don’t fit. Basement recordings have their place and this is not it, things just become too jarring. So he has two tracks on here that are stellar. “The Ledge” and “Tusk” which both allowed him to be experimental, but they are experimental within a framework that works with the rest of the album. He didn’t need to make Rumors 2, but he went about not making Rumors 2 the wrong way. “What Makes You Think That You’re the one” is the perfect example, there is a great song, with one of Buckingham’s wonderful solos, and some really catching hummed vocals. It’s just not fully realized, it sounds like a demo. The drums are weird (as they are on all of his songs on the album), and everything else is buried behind them.
That is really a shame too, because Stevie and Christie have some really great songs that really do their part. “Over and Over” “Think About Me” and “Sara” have a great feel to start out the album and “Never Make Me Cry” and “Honey Hi” are great tracks towards the end. The all have a sparse feel to them, but they fit, and they don’t flow against the grain of the rest of the album.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? Really what we are left with is a mediocre album, I have to say skip.
Rating (Out of 5): 3/5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (351/458)
Amount that are new to me: 77%