Tango in the Night POLL (Fleetwood Mac)

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I conceive of Buckingham-Nicks era FM as a tightly clustered venn diagram of hooks / arrangement / aura, which then maps onto the special skill of each of the 3 lead performers (though, crucially, Nicks' songs still have hooks, McVie's songs still project an aura, etc.)

Obviously, Nicks' work projects the strongest aura of the 3: songs like "Sara" and "Beautiful Child" and "Silver Spring" and "Gypsy" project a sense of autobiographical depth that may well go beyond what was intended or is really there; at their best these songs feel like they mean more than other songs, every line pregnant with resonance (both lyrically and in their performance) (this is one reason why Nicks is in some ways at least as good a point of comparison for Tori Amos as Kate Bush - Amos inherited Nicks' capacity for meaningful/resonant opacity).

Turrican's critique of Nicks relies on being unable, or refusing, to see that quality (this is not a criticism of Turrican really - there's a lot of qualities other people see in music that I won't or can't), or to see it as valuable. I think this undersells Nicks, but I also think it undersells Buckingham and McVie, who at their best also reach towards that auratic quality, just as McVie and Nicks benefit from Buckingham's arrangement smarts and Nicks and Buckingham frequently rival McVie for pop cut-through. The band in this era had a mutually reinforcing three-legged stool structure; reducing it to two legs makes the whole thing fall down in my opinion.

Tim F, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 07:15 (three years ago) link

Yep. Classic Nicks example of wandering in search of a melody.

otoh "Running Through the Garden"! "Goodbye Baby"! The title track! "Thrown Down"!

― the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, March 15, 2017 12:45 AM (six hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I don't mind "Illume" and think "Silver Girl" is the Nicks dud on this album. But "Destiny Rules" and "Everybody Finds Out" and "Smile At You" are awesome as well.

I guess I love almost everything on that album.

Tim F, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 07:18 (three years ago) link

that's a great post tim, v otm

niels, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 08:29 (three years ago) link

a guy once convinced me Lindsey deserved more or less all credit for Stevie's songs, and so I was really shocked when I heard those demos which make it clear she's a fantastic songwriter

she def has the best solo material

niels, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 08:31 (three years ago) link

Tim F OTM

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 08:33 (three years ago) link

Obviously, it's a great thing that the band had multiple songwriters at their disposal and I feel they worked on each others material really well - as a great band should do anyway - and I think that people are overlooking the fact that I said earlier that Nicks provided some great material. She's still my least favourite of the songwriters, though, and for all Nicks' highlights I'll bet you I don't miss her presence on the forthcoming Buckingham-McVie record, whereas I sure as hell missed McVie on Say You Will, which would have made for a great Buckingham solo record.

I guess now I know who on here is likely to overreact if one dares to state that Nicks is their least favourite element of Fleetwood Mac.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 11:56 (three years ago) link

what courage!

You're overlooking my writing that I don't care if you like her least; I disagreed with the suggestion that she needed more help than McVie or Buckingham.

Buckingham isn't capable of great solo albums. None of them are. He's released several good albums with several fine tracks.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 12:06 (three years ago) link

xpost: As others have pointed out, thinking Nicks is third best is fine - pretty common in fact - but your justifications for that sit uncomfortably with me because they (perhaps inadvertently) appear to reduce the band's qualities to a two dimensional axis of pop smarts and arrangement invention, which I think as a schematic will fail to properly capture the magic of even the non-Nicks songs of that era.

Tim F, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 12:08 (three years ago) link

I didn't mean my sarcasm, Turrican. Think of it as friendly ribbing.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 12:16 (three years ago) link

It's also common for listeners to recoil, as Naive Teen Idol remarked, from Nicks' dancing, voice, and witchiness but not so common to show impatience with Buckingham or McVie: producer geniuses and workaday musician, respectively, are more traditional signs of artistic integrity than the woman who risks looking like a fool on stage every night.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 12:19 (three years ago) link

*musicians

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 12:19 (three years ago) link

tim otm

there's a union of performance and songwriting in stevie's songs which can make her more unfinished work (e.g. the songs on tango) feel like improvisations, but this is what enhances her great songs; there's this grand narrative drift to them. they can work like paragraphs or prose-poems, where as mcvie's and buckingham's songs tend to operate within more formal restrictions (there are of course exceptions, as each songwriter's approach crept into the others'). it's not a "better" or "worse" theory of songwriting; it enriches the others as a counterpoint while also being its own captivating swirl. this is why in isolation, on their solo records, they can and often do feel imbalanced. (lol i'm wondering if i'm just repeating tim's point)

"silver girl" was the other nicks song i thought didn't really work on say you will but everything else is really wonderful. there's an imbalance to that record too but it's one i find interesting—another buckingham solo record reengineered as a fleetwood mac record, but stevie was also on a kind of a roll imo between her tracks on that record and the good songs on trouble in shangri-la, and on stuff like "thrown down" they access the aura of the trio even in mcvie's absence

the raindrops and drop tops of lived, earned experience (BradNelson), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 12:20 (three years ago) link

if you're repeating my point you're certainly expressing it better.

And I think that's right about Say You Will - against the odds the album frequently implies McVie's presence even though she's not there.

It will be very interesting (and of course welcome, fantastic, etc.) if the Buckingham-McVie record does the same vis a vis Nicks.

Tim F, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 12:34 (three years ago) link

btw "nicks wrote some good songs but i'd rather be hamburger meat than listen to her solo work" is the purest driven nonsense

the raindrops and drop tops of lived, earned experience (BradNelson), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 13:05 (three years ago) link

mooncalf meat

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 13:16 (three years ago) link

I'd say that not checking out Nicks' solo material or being remotely interested in hearing it based on the fact that she's the element of Fleetwood Mac I'm least interested in makes absolute sense.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 13:24 (three years ago) link

Guys, not sure why you are circling the wagons here. It's no crime to be put off by Stevie. It doesn't mean you're a misogynist. It doesn't mean that she doesn't add something essential to the Fleetwood Mac venn diagram. And it doesn't mean her lyrics aren't more personally involving than Lindsey or Christine's. The elaborate cultural critiques of how people listen to music and how they "refuse" to hear what makes her great seem wholly unnecessary.

Stevie isn't for everyone. For many, her bleat needs sweetening. For my part, I like her best in small doses. And while I think Say You Will to be her most consistent set of songs, I find that I miss McVie more on that record than I do Stevie on Tango In the Night.

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 13:33 (three years ago) link

as alfred and tim already said i don't take issue with considering nicks the least of the three fleetwood mac songwriters but i take issue with the methods by which ppl itt have arrived at that conclusion, e.g. describing nicks' songs reductively as "stock '70s california soft rock," a description that mcvie's and buckingham's songs don't necessarily escape and which is at least partially a consequence of buckingham's production

the raindrops and drop tops of lived, earned experience (BradNelson), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:12 (three years ago) link

and Nicks' best solo songs ("Stand Back," "I Can't Wait," "Edge of Seventeen," "Rooms on Fire," a couple others) don't sound like California soft rock either.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:20 (three years ago) link

as alfred and tim already said i don't take issue with considering nicks the least of the three fleetwood mac songwriters but i take issue with the methods by which ppl itt have arrived at that conclusion, e.g. describing nicks' songs reductively as "stock '70s california soft rock"

No, not all of her songs, just those songs that I applied the description to, which should have been blatantly obvious simply by reading the post.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:30 (three years ago) link

Some serious over-reacting by the Stevie Nicks fanclub itt.

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:32 (three years ago) link

I think we can all agree that FM minus Bucky is pretty bad, and that since his addition in 1975 or whenever he has been pretty essential to its existence and operation.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:37 (three years ago) link

They all are. Every one. Including the rhythm section, which we haven't mentioned.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:38 (three years ago) link

Yes, what I meant is that on at least two, possibly three occasions, the band would not have released an album at all without Buckingham's intense participation.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:40 (three years ago) link

That is, Tusk, Tango and Say You Will you're all bolstered by ready to go Buckingham solo tracks. The rhythm section absolutely makes everybody better, which is why they show up on a couple of those solo tracks, including cuts like Trouble.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:42 (three years ago) link

Sorry for the messy voice to text, I hope any that makes any sense.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:42 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

I take a crack at it. Thanks, thread!

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 March 2017 01:42 (three years ago) link

Whenever I sing the chorus of 'Little Lies', I always pinch my nose to do Stevie's bit.

The Roger Waters Experience (Turrican), Friday, 31 March 2017 01:55 (three years ago) link

nine months pass...

i got the reissue not that long ago so i've been listening to it a lot. it's funny to read the diverse reactions to welcome to the room....sara over the years. i didn't know it at all but it grabbed me right away--it's awkward and weird and tossed off but it has *something,* maybe in the big open chorus vocal and the way the backing vox come in, that i really like.

other big takeaway was john mcvie's playing on "little lies," a song i knew well but had never really dug into. i might think it's his best work in classic mac, which is saying something. he's the driving force in that song.

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 02:57 (two years ago) link

it's a perfect Christine McVie song too

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 15:03 (two years ago) link

I think "Everywhere" is more perfect, but "Little Lies" is more ... mysterious?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 16:01 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Sad seven wonders got no votes but this is a hard poll. Probably everywhere

kolakube (Ross), Wednesday, 7 March 2018 21:44 (two years ago) link

T-ANN-GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 7 March 2018 21:47 (two years ago) link

Alfred, do you still feel Honey, Hi is a dud??

kolakube (Ross), Thursday, 8 March 2018 03:21 (two years ago) link

Yes -- an innocuous one.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 8 March 2018 03:21 (two years ago) link

Alternative Tango coming for RSD

papa don't take no meth (stevie), Thursday, 8 March 2018 10:33 (two years ago) link

four months pass...

Stevie's interjections in the "Little Lies" extended remix are A+

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 2 August 2018 01:43 (two years ago) link

This seems as a good as a place as any to air my suspicions (maybe this is common knowledge?) that the Lindsey-sung tracks on Tango (and Tusk) are pretty much all Lindsey, playing or programming everything, with a few exceptions and cameos.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 2 August 2018 02:06 (two years ago) link

I assumed so from the beginning, "Caroline" and the title track in particular.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 2 August 2018 02:46 (two years ago) link

not so much on Tusk.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 2 August 2018 02:47 (two years ago) link

Pretty sure "Big Love" is just him, too. And "Family Man." Basically anything featuring his pitch-altered/sampled vocals. With "Tusk" it's a little more obvious which tracks are just him banging around in the bathroom. Though of course stuff like the title track and "What Makes You Think You're the One" and "Walk a Thin Line" feature at least Mick banging away as well.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 2 August 2018 02:57 (two years ago) link

I saw something about having Mick replace the drums on "Big Love" with a copycat performance.

Ubering With The King (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 2 August 2018 03:21 (two years ago) link

didn't he have Mick and John rerecord all the drum and bass tracks?

niels, Thursday, 2 August 2018 06:15 (two years ago) link

He might have. Mick and John pop up on his solo albums as well. There are so many drum overdubs on "Big Love," specifically - those kind of marching fills at the end, cymbal washes, little fills - that it makes sense some of that is Mick (who iirc at the time of "Tango" was totally zonked out and living in a trailer in Lindsey's yard). Most of it sounds like programming or something Lindsey could do, but Mick can be such a smooth drummer maybe it is him. Not even sure I've ever even noticed a bass on "Big Love!" Or keys. Has the band ever played it live as a band?

There are definitely a few complete Lindsey solo tracks that got ported over directly to "Say You Will" with either Mick and John on the original track or sort of dubbed on later.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 2 August 2018 11:40 (two years ago) link

They do 'Big Love' all the time but as Lindsey's Acoustic Moment.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 2 August 2018 11:50 (two years ago) link

But never as a full band, right?

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 2 August 2018 11:54 (two years ago) link

Playing Big Love as a full band would just obfuscate the insane skill level required to play that guitar part and then manage to sing on top of it.

The version on Tango In The Night was such a missed opportunity. If he had recorded it in the mode of "Never Going Back Again", it would have been a classic. But it was 1987, not 1977, so instead we got the porn backing vocals and the miami vice production.

enochroot, Thursday, 2 August 2018 14:56 (two years ago) link

the og big love is great, how can you float "miami vice production" as a criticism and listen to the rest of the album

princess of hell (BradNelson), Thursday, 2 August 2018 14:58 (two years ago) link

i'd like to suggest instead that it's lindsey's horny version of "running up that hill"

princess of hell (BradNelson), Thursday, 2 August 2018 14:59 (two years ago) link

fair point, i suppose i do have the same issue with the rest of the album.

big love just feels different because of the missed opportunity. i remember when that song came out, and I just didn't connect with it all -- the "ugh/ahh" part at the end was really the defining element of the song. then several decades later, i heard a version of lindsay performing it solo, and it was stunning. i really couldn't believe it was the same song. or rather couldn't believe that the song he was playing was buried somewhere in the album version.

enochroot, Thursday, 2 August 2018 16:07 (two years ago) link


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