It had been close to five years since Fleetwood Mac had released a studio album. In the interim, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, and particularly Stevie Nicks had established successful solo careers.
Tango In The Night actually began as a Buckingham solo project that eventually expanded into a full-blown Fleetwood Mac album, although many of Buckingham’s tracks featured him without much participation by the other members of the group. The album would only reach number seven in the United States but would spawn four top twenty singles. Worldwide, it would become the second most commercially successful album of their career, selling more copies than all of their releases except Rumours. It was also the last studio album to feature their classic pop line-up.
Tango In The Night is an album of high points that mainly center on their hit singles, and they are representative of their pop sound at its best. It is also an album of average songs, though, which means the album is memorable in places but not consistent enough to rank with their best work.
McVie created the best group of songs. “Little Lies,” which reached number four, is elegant pop with enough hooks to keep you coming back for more. “Everywhere” was another hit single with wonderful harmonies. This love ballad contained one of her finer vocals. “Mystified” was another ballad written with Buckingham that bears her stamp. “Isn’t It Midnight,” also co-written with Buckingham, is about as hard as this incarnation of Fleetwood Mac rocks. It’s nice to hear her provide a different type of vocal.
Nicks only created three offerings. She was dealing with a cocaine addiction and rehab at the time and only one of her songs lived up to her past high standards. “Seven Wonders” is a nice mid-tempo rocker with solid group harmonies in support. It would be a deserved hit single. Her other two songs were not as lucky. “Welcome To The Room…Sara” needs to be understood within the context of her rehab at the time as it has an overall depressing feel. “Will I See You Again” is a song of relationships and longing, territory Nicks had covered before and better.
Buckingham contributed the most tracks, though with mixed results. “Big Love” reached number five on the singles charts and is catchy pop with some nice guitar work. Many of his other contributions are excellent musically but are ultimately hurt by the lyrics. On the positive side his guitar playing is very good on most of his material.
When Tango In The Night is good, it is very good, as it is well polished and has a sonic quality. Buckingham would abruptly quit the band after the album’s release, and it would be a far different group that would enter the nineties. This album remains as a credible Fleetwood Mac release but not among their best pop work.