Just Tell Me That You Want Me: Tribute To Fleetwood Mac
I’m convinced the reason there are no really great covers of Fleetwood Mac songs – well, not many rather (Melvins kick it with Green Manalishi that’s for sure) is because Fleetwood Mac songs live and breathe and survive due to the back-story of the band as much as the (actual) music. And not just when they were all fucking each other – back when they were a blues band getting each other fucked-up in the strictly narcotic/alcoholic sense the songs took on a feel that was crucial too.
There’s just so much personality in the playing. That rhythm section– knows just how to touch each song; how to rub themselves up against the song and rub off on the song. It’s worth remembering that the rhythm section is the one constant across a staggeringly diverse catalogue when you consider it’s contained in half as many albums as Elvis Costello or Nick Cave or Springsteen or so many others…
So here we have some hip indie musicians paying tribute and it’s a nice idea and once or twice it “works”- but never when you’d hope for it too. Lykke Li should kill it on Silver Springs but instead she fails. Instead Lee Ranaldo and J Mascis find a new way into Albatross – something no one would have been expecting (including Ranaldo and Mascis no doubt; in fact you could ask J and he might not even know he played on a Fleetwood Mac cover, so used to just doing his thing is he).
It’s easy – these days – to think that Fleetwood Mac was never anything special but I’m profoundly moved by the band’s catalogue – the blues years, the stadium years and those in-between years where, via soft-rock and hints of blues and R’n’B, a revolving door of nearly anonymous musicians sat in with Christine and the boys at the back and took tentative steps toward a new direction.
The iconic songs are exactly that – iconic. So don’t touch them. And though this collection deserves a tick for rubbing its muzzle in all the corners, pressing its face up against the glass – it might have meant more if these artists focussed only on that lesser-known, less-exploited, less-established period from 1970-1975. There’s so much gold in them there hills. And this could have been the perfect excavation.
Instead, at best, this might turn a few New Pornographers fans on to a far better band. And that’s about all this will do.