Fleetwood Mac – Rumours Review

Shameful it is to mark the first encounter with Fleetwood Mac as a soundtrack riff on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, that is how it was for many. It is a perplexing and embarrassing way to mark the first experience with a track from Rumours, but it is how millions must have made the plunge into their music. It would be embarrassing for, say, a freelance journalist and music critic to make that their first experience with Fleetwood Mac, but we do not choose where we hear great songs or how we listen to them. Sometimes it is with 3D glasses hanging off of big noses in the back of a crumbling theatre, waiting for the funny gag about the raccoon and his friendly tree companion. Purchase a copy of Rumours, listen to the record scratches settle in, and soon it’ll wash away that first experience.

We cannot escape our first experiences with music, but it feels possible when listening to an album so frequently. One that cradles good times and bad, and with Rumours, it and Fleetwood Mac have the rare, ethereal experience of being good for any mood, for any time of day. It really is an all-tracks-suit-all experience. Some albums are there to engage with, others to distract. Fleetwood Mac’s finest work, Rumours, is both. It is easy to lose yourself in The Chain and You Can Go Your Own Way, but just as heart-warming and engaging to listen intently to the lyrics from Stevie Nicks. These tracks, remembered and passed through generations, are passed off as untouchable pieces, and much of Rumours is. By setting the standard so high, there is always the risk of tracks around it falling to pieces, but that is no issue for Fleetwood Mac.

Buried deep on that album is that other memorable piece, Dreams. Allowing the audience to breathe with Songbird wedged between Go Your Own Way and a flip to the B-Side for The Chain gives not just a necessary break, but a deserved one. Never Going Back Again features on a near-perfect A-Side, let down slightly by the tracks that follow opener Second Hand News blowing it out of the water. The same can be said for the slow crawl through the B-Side, a gentle dip from the beautiful guitar work of Lindsey Buckingham on The Chain to the slower, acoustic melodies of Gold Dust Woman that close the album with those same terrifyingly brilliant guitar riffs, just buried underneath a dominant vocal performance.

How is it possible to wrap the mind around an album that serves both as an easy listening rock delight and a deeply moving piece that would set the course for future rock albums? Incredible doesn’t cut it for Rumours, and that has been said time and time again. Sometimes it is good to bang the drum after such a long silence though. People haven’t forgotten how great Fleetwood Mac was, nor have they forgotten what an achievement Rumours is. But perhaps what they forget is that the few tracks that define it for generation after generation are the reason it is still sold in Tesco next to discount batteries and Greatest Hits of David Bowie prints.

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