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Houston Chronicle Say You Will Review < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Houston Chronicle Say You Will Review
Penguin

Say You Will

Fleetwood Mac

Reprise

For its first studio album in more than a decade, Fleetwood Mac returns to Tusk territory.

As the follow-up to the megahit Rumours, 1979's Tusk was widely deemed too long and diffuse. Yet it had some of Mac's best music. Similarly, Say You Will runs 76 minutes - even longer than Tusk - and its 18 songs could have been cut to a more powerful, focused dozen.

Still, Fleetwood Mac remains ambitious.

By evoking a similar Mac title, Say You Love Me, the title track reminds us there's less to love. Christine McVie, who sang the earlier hit, has quit the band, and we miss her jaunty keyboards and softly soulful vocals (though she does sing backup on two tracks).

Mac thus proceeds with the rest of its commercially potent lineup: from 1968, founding members John McVie and Mick Fleetwood on bass and drums, and from 1975, Stevie Nicks
and Lindsey Buckingham as singers and songwriters. The latter also lends his searing, amazingly dexterous guitar work, and he produced in the studio.

Buckingham had help at the boards from John Shanks
(Melissa Etheridge) and Rob Cavallo (Green Day), which should tell you something. Say You Will rocks like Mac hasn't rocked since the '70s.

In part that's because Buckingham provided eight of the songs from a remarkable solo album - it would have been his fourth - which he aborted when Mac reunited in 1997 for The Dance live album and tour. One such song here is Bleed to Love Her, which also appeared on The Dance live album.

His other numbers pack most of the disc's punch. Energized, highly melodic and emotionally charged, they include first single Peacekeeper, a stirring rock anthem.

Another is Steal Your Heart Away, a sweet, soulful ballad that benefits from Nicks' backing vocals. And Miranda is classic Mac - an urgent, propulsive, minor-key gem laced with three guitar parts and vibrant Buckingham-Nicks harmonies.

Nicks contributes almost half the material, from the haunting Illume (9-11) to the bouncy title track to the wistful Goodbye Baby. With McVie no longer around to sing Songbird, Goodbye Baby is a fitting farewell finale for the album and, perhaps, the upcoming tour. It offers Nicks' most tenderly expressive vocals since her 1985 solo Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You.

But the bulk of the beauties are from Buckingham, her former partner in rock's stormiest soap opera since the Mamas and the Papas. By producing this full-bodied disc, they've shown it was well worth it to navigate those storms.


Date: 2003-04-27         Number of views: 1057

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