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Philadelphia Inquirer (04/16/2003), Fleetwood Mac < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Philadelphia Inquirer (04/16/2003), Fleetwood Mac

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 16, 2003

FLEETWOOD MAC "Say You Will" (Warner Bros./Reprise) [3 stars]
by Tom Moon

Ever since 1977's "Rumours," there's been a heavy monkey on the back of Fleetwood Mac _ a near-impossible expectation that the ensemble would deliver another collection of gentle love odes and relentlessly optimistic proclamations in the mold of that mega-success. Each subsequent work has addressed the "Rumours" shadow in a different way _ 1979's "Tusk" was willfully (and woefully) experimental, and 1997's "The Dance" went at it head-on, featuring several old songs that didn't make the cut during "Rumours."

Not until " Say You Will, " though, has the group fashioned such a radically varied and imaginative all-points response. "Say" starts with songs that continue the chiming-guitars template of Christine McVie-era Mac ("What's the World Coming To," "Thrown Down," the title track), then surrounds them with incandescent pop hooks that demand radio time (the mandolin-kissed "Steal Your Heart Away," which could be a tribute to George Harrison, is one of the best singles in the band's hefty discography), and significantly darker visions (Nicks' harrowing "Illume (9/11)" and "Destiny Rules," Buckingham's "Murrow Turning Over in His Grave") that work their magic more subversively, over time. There are also curiosities _ among them Nicks' '80s-sounding fantasia "Running Through the Garden" and Buckingham's three-minute etude "Red Rover."

The latter is perhaps this too-long album's masterwork: Atop a choppy, percussively strummed guitar chorale, Buckingham first sings quietly, in a blues-tinted moan. Then, as the guitars gather steam, he climbs into his upper register for a soaring refrain unlike anything in the Mac canon. By the time he reaches the modified schoolyard taunt _ "Red rover, we've come to take you over" _ you feel as if you've been through a movie-length emotional journey, and it becomes clear that while Fleetwood Mac has invested serious energy in rekindling the low-key flame of its classics, it hasn't stopped thinking about tomorrow.

Thanks to blinker12 for posting this to the Ledge.

Date: 2003-04-16         Number of views: 1091

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