Sunday, September 25, 2011

Record of the Month

I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!

I don't think it is a huge secret that back in my middle and high school days, I was a huge Fleetwood Mac fan. Yeah, like so many gay men, I liked Stevie Nicks' work (more than I liked her). But as a collective they worked well together, even when they weren't working well together.

Lindsey Buckingham (his website is a frickin' mess) is an excellent guitarist and totally underrated in that regard. But starting with Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, he started involving the band less and less in his works and taking over even doing his own background vocals and sometimes other band member's instruments. But even in this context he still somehow worked within the confines of a "band".

With his solo work - not so much. Over the years he tends to take on more and more of the playing, production.  With Seeds We Sow it is about 99% Buckingham - and it wears a little thin.  He also seems to have less perspective on his art.  There is no balance. There is no accountability other than his own - and while that is his prerogative - it  leaves me a little cold.

While none of his solo works are bad (Out of the Cradle is still excellent),  some of his stuff starts to blend together or sound too similar to other pieces he has put out.  Check out his "Starts are Crazy" and back that up with "Bel Air Rain" from his last disk.  I don't think it illegal to plagiarize yourself, but there might be a case for it here.

How many ethereal and layered background vocals are we supposed to take from Buckingham?  "Gone Too Far".  "End of Time" and just about anything on most of his other disks.

But drum machines are so 1980s......or you know, for talentless female "vocalists" that are on the radio these days. I like a good rhythm section, and there is no heft to this music.  It's nice.  It's well played.  But it just floats out there.  There is no real drumming to ground the songs.

There are exceptions on this disk.  Some that show such great promise of what could have been.  While "Illumination" starts out like many of his songs with jangly guitars, it morphs into something much better. The unfortunate thing is that it is the shortest song on the disk.

What you get if you purchased the disk via amazon (which I did - for $3.99, and I'm glad I didn't pay full price for the disk), you got two bonus acoustic cuts.  The title track and "End of Times" in acoustic version.  They are so much more interesting than what made.  It would have been something so new for him and for an artist who clearly likes to push boundaries, this may have been the way to go.

Yes, Buckingham is smart and talented, but not smart enough to know that he needs others to bounce ideas and sounds off of.  It doesn't have to be Fleetwood Mac, but living in a world unto yourself becomes a cold and lonely place - much like this album.


Anonymous said...

Is this the monthly metaphor? Yes, Buckingham is smart and talented, but not smart enough to know that he needs others to bounce ideas and sounds off of.

Anonymous said...

Nice write up!