Tusk (album)

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Fleetwood Mac is one of those bands that’s timeless: they have a tendency to stay relevant regardless of the time period, yet somehow stay true to their musical roots. However, they are a little prone to experimentation, which can be somewhat of a hit or miss.

Tusk is one of those albums where Lindsey and co. do exactly that. At times, such songs as The Ledge sound great, but lyrically sound like a veiled reference to all the fights that led to the demise of the romantic relationship between band members Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham – who wrote the song. If it is meant to invoke the insanity of their breakup, well Lindsey captured it very well. Other songs such as I Know I’m Not Wrong, sound a bit reminiscent of their previous album, Rumours, but with a bit of a nice kick.

What Makes You Think You’re The One shows the overall strong musicianship of original member, drummer Mick Fleetwood.

However, there are some major misses with this album, such as That’s All For Everyone. The song drowns in mediocrity – something very uncharacteristic when it comes to the creativity of Lindsey Buckingham. Even worse, on both this song and Not That Funny you can barely decipher what Buckingham is actually saying.

One of the major hit and misses with Tusk is some of Stevie’s contributions. On one hand, you have Sara, which is very beautiful track. Sara was written about Stevie’s then-best friend Sara Recor, whom Mick Fleetwood (who Stevie was dating at the time) fell in love with and eventually married and divorced her. One must wonder though, considering the circumstances, is this meant as sarcasm to her or just a nice song to a close friend? One of her better songs is Angel, which sounds more like the familiar Fleetwood Mac sound, albeit with a rather interesting bass line provided by John McVie.

However, keyboardist Christine McVie almost steals the album with her contribution of the hauntingly beautiful Brown Eyes. The track itself is reminiscent of both the Doors and Led Zepplin. McVie is the true balladeer of Fleetwood Mac. She proves this on the following track as well: Never Make Me Cry.

The best thing about Tusk is the title track. The band goes all out – complete with the USC Trojan Marching Band. The track has an overal stalker-like tone when Buckingham whispers the lyrics, then Mcvie and Nicks break in with him with the rallying cry of “Don’t say that you love me/ just tell me that you want me/ TUSK!”

Unfortunately, when it was released, it wasn’t the massive hit that Rumours was for many reasons: since it was a double album, it cost consumers $15.98 which was a steep price to pay for an album released in 1979. Another nail in the album coffin was the fact that the RKO radio chain played Tusk in its entirety shortly before the album was released and many listeners possibly recorded the album off the radio. Additionally, the album itself cost over $1 million to make.

Overall Tusk is the equivalent of a musical rollercoaster ride with an ongoing soap opera element. You never know where it will go next.

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