By David Chiu
Tusk, Fleetwood Mac’s double album, turns exactly 30 this year. Dwarfed by the massive popularity and sales of its famous predecessor Rumours, Tusk could be Fleetwood Mac’s version of the Beatles’ White Album: it’s not so much a band album but a collection of unique and diverse songs, each closely associated with its songwriter and singer. In this case, it’s Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie. The most distinguishable songs on this record are Buckingham’s. Rather than rehashing the slick and sunny pop of the previous Mac albums, Buckingham does a 180 with punk and New Wave-inspired minimalist rock songs from “The Ledge” through “That’s Enough For Me”; his most strangest contribution to the record is the pseudo Afro-influenced title track, which features the USC Trojan Marching Band. (Buckingham’s imprint is all over Tusk that he is even given a special thanks credit from the band). Nicks and McVie’s songs are not as avant garde as their colleague but they are certainly not inferior: Nicks’ own touching ode “Sara” went Top Ten, and she contributes some wonderful ballads such as “Beautiful Child” and the mystical “Sisters of the Moon.” McVie delivers her usual brand of upbeat melodic tunes such as on the insanely catchy “Think About Me” and “Never Forget.” Tusk sold 2 million copies, according to the RIAA, which for any artist is an impressive feat. But it seemed like a failure compared to the mammoth Rumours, which has sold 19 million. However, for the ambition of this record and its stylistic range, Tusk is a much more satisfying piece of work and maybe even better than Rumours. It certainly deserves more recognition and acceptance now than it did upon its initial release.
Fleetwood Mac performing “Think About Me”:
Fleetwood Mac’s video for “Tusk”:
Fleetwood Mac performing “Sara”: