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Music Review: Fleetwood Mac – Say You Will

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Say You Will was issued during April of 2003 and to date is Fleetwood Mac’s last studio album. It was a moderate commercial success by Fleetwood Mac standards as it reached number three on The American music charts and has sold just shy of one million copies.

The big change for the group was the departure of Christine McVie. It was their first album in three decades not to have her as an active participant. Her only contributions were on “Steel Your Heart Away” and “Bleed To Love Her” which had been previously recorded for a Lindsey Buckingham solo album.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham each wrote or co-wrote 9 of the albums 17 tracks. In a way, the differences in style and approach made the album seem almost like two solo albums which have been fused together into one Fleetwood Mac project.

While Buckingham and Nicks combine to create a lot of good music, Christine McVie is missed. She always occupied the middle ground and her down to earth pop inclinations were the connecter between Buckingham’s more experimental songs and Nicks’ flights of fancy. Without her, their music is more exposed and stands on its own with both positive and negative results.

Buckingham’s contributions run the gamete from pop to rock to pushing the envelope on both styles. Even when the songs may not be the best, his always underrated guitar virtuosity saves the day.

“What’s The World Coming To” is one of his better pop creations. “Murrow Turning Over In His Grave” is one of those tracks where he just shines on the guitar. “Miranda” is a reminder of his old Buckingham-Nicks duet days and has a nice funky feel. “Red Rover” has him exploring an English folk sound. While he is playing a guitar, it almost sounds like a mandolin. “Bleed To Love Her” is the studio version of the song which first appeared live on The Dance.

Stevie Nicks also creates a somewhat eclectic group of songs. “Thrown Down” is typical of her most commercial work with Fleetwood Mac as it is very good guitar based pop. “Destiny Rules” is sparse in structure but the background vocals fill in the holes. “Running Through The Garden” is a rocker with the best vocal performance on the album. The title track is another catchy pop tune.

Say You Will is an acquired taste. It does not have the consistantcy of their best work but there is some good material, if you take the time to seek it out.

Fleetwood Mac is one of those iconic groups that will continue to sell out concert halls as long as they desire to stay together and at this point any new material is a bonus for their fans.

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