Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

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1 review for Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Modern Music Dan

    Like Never Before: mapping the heartache of ‘Rumours’

    Released in 1977, the famously autobiographical ‘Rumours’ is a road-map to the trials and tribulations of affairs of the heart and the vein, steeped in an emotional honesty writ large across the vinyl’s grooved surface.

    ‘Second Hand News’ bounces in with an optimistic smile on its face, a mood instantly dispelled by the brooding ‘Dreams’ (lamentably and forgettably covered by The Corrs many years later…); there’s a childlike naivety to ‘Never Going Back Again,’ with its merry-go-round guitars, belying the song’s dispirited theme – ‘Been down one time / Been down two time / Never goin’ back again…’ ‘Don’t Stop’ barrels in with a rollicking rock ‘n roll vibe. ‘Lovin’ you isn’t the right thing to do’ is the hopelessly committed opening sentiment to ‘Go Your Own Way’ with its bombastic tom-tom work. The first side ends with the heartbreaking ‘Songbird,’ dominated by piano and voice (in live gigs, the band used to gather in the wings whilst McVie sang at the piano, tears rolling down their cheeks).

    ‘Chain’ hoves into earshot at the start of side two with a maudlin, repetitive desolation, with an emphatic rhythmic sense – Damn your love / Damn your lies / And if you don’t love me now / You will never love me again. The repeated guitar motif carries with it something of the abandonment and desolation of a Sergio Leone western; the latter part of the song, driven by that unmistakable bass-line, rocks out and into the BBC’s opening of its coverage of Formula 1 racing. There’s a certain easy swagger to ‘You Make Lovin’ Fun,’ a rare moment of optimism; ‘I Don’t Want To Know’ has a summery insouciance to its selfless ‘I don’t want to stand between you and love, honey / I just want you to feel fine.’ There’s a deeply lamenting feel to ‘Oh Daddy’ (the band’s affectionate name for its founder, Mick Fleetwood, was ‘the Big Daddy’) – ‘I can’t walk away from you baby if I tried,’ a rumination on the agonising pull-and-push of love.

    The album closes in the strange sonic universe of ‘Gold Dust Woman,’ with Stevie Nicks’ brittle vocals and wailing lament over flanging keyboard, the monotonous repetition of cow-bell, fragile plucked guitar lines and slowly-moving harmonies. Reflecting the isolation of urban living and Nicks’ own problem with drugs, it’s a daringly understated way of closing the door on the album.

    Like Joni Mitchell’s ‘Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter’ (coincidentally released that same year), ‘Rumours’ unfurls across its eleven tracks with a raw honesty that contradicts the often intimate, folksy feel. Joni’s album similarly charts her own tempestuous lovelife, and the emotional candour displayed by both albums gives them an impact greater than you might anticipate. And as ‘Gold Dust Woman’ fades into the dusty distance, it takes both its own and the listener’s tormented heart with it. The album won a Grammy in the year following its release, and has since cemented itself firmly into the psyche of lone, lovelorn amorists languishing in their bedrooms the world over. And rightly so…

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