Fleetwood Mac – Tusk (1979) – CD review –
Trying to follow up the biggest-selling album of all time is impossible. If that record, Rumours, was a window into the band’s failing relationships, then Tusk shows us what happened next; how they handled the over-blown success. Where Rumours was a slick, cohesive affair, Tusk is wildly erratic and many of the tracks sound unfinished.
The album opens with the muted, Christine McVie song, “Over and Over,” an odd choice to start the record; no doubt used to signal that this is not “Rumours II.” That’s followed by “The Ledge,” with distorted guitars and cavernous percussion played at double-speed; it sounds like nothing Fleetwood Mac has ever done. And, that’s the point. After the runaway success of the previous record, leader Lindsey Buckingham tried very hard to sabotage the album. His tracks are full of bile and fury. This is not to say that Tusk doesn’t have its moments. Christine McVie turns in the closest thing to a hit single in “Think About Me,” and the transcendent “Brown Eyes,” a song that’s barely there, but stark and beautiful.
Stevie Nicks delivers a couple of her most grandiose statements, in “Sara” and “Sisters of the Moon.” Even Buckingham has his moments, in the sinister “Tusk,” and the ethereal “That’s All For Everyone.” The real problem with Tusk is that it’s just too long (originally released as a 20-track, double LP). Pull off, say eight of the tracks, and you’ve got yourself a much better and focused album. Instead, Tusk lies somewhere between a masterpiece and an all out mess. –Tony Peters