Tusk Review By The Times (London) 4 stars
FLEETWOOD MAC. Tusk (Deluxe Edition) (Rhino). ****
This album, now cherished as a "lost" classic, was initially disregarded as the expensive folly of a band at their absolute peak. Five years earlier, Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had joined Fleetwood Mac, which initiated a chain of intra-band bedhopping that almost destroyed the group; instead, it yielded Rumours, which went on to sell more than 25 million copies.
Outrageously opulent lifestyles infamously followed. Amid this chaos, Buckingham assumed creative control and masterminded Tusk, letting the dysfunction run riot.
Overdue and way over budget, Tusk still managed to go double platinum soon after its release in 1979. But without a successful single, sales soon stalled; by the insanely high standards of Rumours, it was a failure.
Artistically, however, it is no such thing. Buckingham's songs were painstakingly constructed oddities, snatching influence from bluegrass, doo-wop and new wave.
Showcasing his genius at its most erratic and eccentric, they were a lifetime away from anthemic signatures such as Go Your Own Way. He clothed the contributions of Nicks and Christine McVie in subtly bizarre arrangements, so McVie's Brown Eyes sounds truly haunted, while Nicks's hushed Storms feels profoundly fragile.
These glimmers of fallibility behind the glittering facades are key; Tusk is where Fleetwood Mac pay off their karmic debts, evidently reeling from the fallout of their success and excess. Its message -that having all your dreams come true will not make you happy -was perhaps too desolate a statement from this rock royalty for their fans to stomach, but its essential truth remains powerful. As does the music, especially Nicks's quasi-mystical masterpiece, Sara, restored to its full-length grandeur on this re-release.
2004-03-20 Number of views: