While my esteemed colleagues at Blogcritics Music have already trotted out their "Best of 2006" lists, I'm still going through many of these releases for the first time. One of last year's servings that I finally gave a listen to was a rare one by a key member of one of rock's all time major acts: Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac fame.
Admittedly, I'm no Buckingham buff; before his new one Under the Skin, my exposure to his solo work was limited to his moderately successful radio hits. But anyone who is familiar with these songs and his contributions to the Mac can recognize his endearingly slightly off-kilter brand of California folk-pop, not to mention his unique, accomplished finger picking style of guitar playing.
I seem to remember how his prior solo records would get critical acclaim and good word of mouth and yet failed to make much of a commercial impact. You'd think that those things going for him combined with his well-known contributions to a band which enjoys a huge following would garner him at least half of the success that his longtime musical partner Stevie Nicks has enjoyed.
Instead, his first release in 14 years — much like his prior releases — went largely unnoticed by nearly all but his small but devoted fan base. It's a damned shame, as Buckingham strips down the sound nearly to the unplugged level and he seems to lay out his emotions in a lot of places; like some kinder, gentler Plastic Ono Band. Many of these tracks sound like demo versions of intricately constructed pop songs where the soul of these tunes are bared, and that's where the real charm of this release comes from.