Lindsey Buckingham returned with his second solo album nearly three years after his first. His Fleetwood Mac partner, Stevie Nicks, had established herself as one of the leading solo female rockers in the world with the release of her two solo albums. Her combination of slick production and mainstream/rock songs were the perfect commercial mix. While his solo efforts would never have the vast appeal of hers, they would be interesting and explore musical forms outside of the Fleetwood Mac pop style.
He played virtually all the instruments. His only accompaniment was keyboards by Gordon Fordyce on track one and bass by Bryant Simpson on the second track. Every other sound was produced by Buckingham. While he plays the drums, bass, and percussion instruments, it is his guitar virtuosity that steals the show. He has always been one of the underrated guitarists in rock music and he particularly shines on his solo work.
Go Insane is slick, edgy, and surreal in places. He has always been the experimental edge of The Fleetwood Mac sound and, outside their confines, he lets his creative juices flow freely. While the album was commercially successful, climbing to number 45 on The United States album charts, the nature of the music prevents it from having the massive appeal of Nicks and to a lesser extent Christine McVie.
There is a fair amount of good music here. “Go Insane” was a successful single as it reached number 23 on The American charts. It was the album’s most accessible track as it was an anthem type song that treaded the line well between rock and pop. “I Want You” was the first song on the original vinyl release. The alarm clock sound gives notice there will be some experimental sounds to follow. The track goes on to have a funky feel. “Slow Dancing” is a haunting tune but the overdubbed vocals create some nice harmonies. “I Must Go” is a nice pop song taken in a dark direction by its lyrics.
The best song was the album closer, “D. W. Suite,” which was a tribute to Dennis Wilson who had died in a boating accident. It is divided into three parts. Life, death, and redemption run the gamut from melodic to emotional. It was an ambitious creation that came together and worked.
The line between genius and bizarre can be a fine one at times. Lindsey Buckingham stayed on the positive side of the line as his experiments may be a little off center, but they are interesting and reflect his style and inclinations well.
Go Insane is not a replica of the Fleetwood Mac sound. It is a unique listen and an invite to share his musical journey.