The first time Lindsey Buckingham had a big falling out with Stevie Nicks we at least got some half-decent, if occasionally soporific, music out of it. That was Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, a soft-limbed, coked-up AOR colossus that for many defines mid-1970s music. It contained Buckingham’s finest moment, ‘Go Your Own Way’ — the weird, awkward, staggered rhythm of the verse somehow enhancing the howl of rage in the chorus. A howl of rage directed at the ethereal and slightly irritating Nicks, of course.
Nearly 50 years later, they’re still at it. Nicks reportedly had him fired from the band’s latest tour because she couldn’t bear to be anywhere near him. Buckingham sued, they settled out of court and he went back to doing what he likes best, messing around in the studio by himself. This is what he has come up with in between a divorce and open-heart surgery.
God, it is slight. Anodyne, middle- of-the-road soft rock. Buckingham was easily Mac’s most talented songwriter and he still has the knack for an easy, often too easy, melody. But the treatment and production of the songs lacks anything approaching guts: you yearn for a little grit in these pallid oysters. ‘On The Wrong Side’ is kind of 1970s Mac on autopilot, ‘Time’ is pretty enough and begs to be sung by Roy Orbison, and ‘Santa Rosa’, the best of the bunch, is light country-pop. According to Buckingham, Nicks wanted him out of the band so that it might travel in a ‘more mellow’ direction. How could it be more mellow than this? It would have to be actually comatose.