Atlanta Journal & Constitution (04/15/2003), Mac lack
Atlanta Journal & Constitution, April 15, 2003
Mac lack: Unwieldy new album needed McVie
by Shane Harrison - Staff
"Say You Will"
Fleetwood Mac. Reprise. 18 tracks.
Come back, Christine McVie.
On "Say You Will," Fleetwood Mac's first album without McVie since the early 1970s, it's evident that she was the band's editor. The set could use some serious pruning, and without the velvet-voiced McVie's touch of soul, it never quite connects.
There are moments when the spark returns and it sounds like the Mac of old, when they were the archetypal '70s pop-rock group. And admit it, that's what we want. "Destiny Rules" has a hint of "The Chain" about it. The catchy "What's the World Coming To," the "Gypsy"-like "Thrown Down" and the sparkling title track wouldn't seem out of place on "Mirage" or 1987's "Tango in the Night," the last studio album with guitarist and major creative force Lindsey Buckingham.
Buckingham's "Bleed to Love Her" is a gem too, though it sounds more like one of his better solo tunes. More often he plays the mad scientist, experimenting with things that don't really work. The squealing metallic guitar of "Murrow" is just awful, as is most of the six minutes of "Come." Maybe the missing McVie could have stopped him, told him to save it for a solo album. Apparently no one else could.
"Everybody Finds Out" isn't quite as dire, but the bass line from Evelyn "Champagne" King's "Shame" has no place on a Fleetwood Mac album. And they've missed the disco revival by a few years.
Things are considerably brighter when they strip it down. Buckingham and the bewitching Stevie Nicks, who joined the already established band in 1975, sound masterful when the backing is minimal, as on the last two tracks, "Say Goodbye" and "Goodbye Baby."
The problem is time. Not the decades that have passed since Mac's heyday, but the very long 76 minutes it takes to wade through "Say You Will." It's at least one-third longer than it needs to be. Cut six or so songs and you'd have a much better album. Since Christine McVie isn't available, and because most CD players come equipped to program, you'll just have to do it yourself.
Thanks to Mad4Stevie for posting this to the Ledge.
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