Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fleetwood Mac's Tusk: "The result is a beautiful and terrifically strange album."

In the old-fashioned parlance (times two), I carry a torch for double albums.

In the original vinyl era, they meant greater bang for your buck. Of course, some were padded with filler, but others were strong from start to finish. The CD era produced numerous releases that would have been double albums on vinyl, like Def Leppard's Hysteria.

Much to my regret, the digital era has rendered most of these discussions moot. With the caveat that double live albums deserve their own category, personally preferred examples of double albums in my own collection include these.

Quadrophenia ... The Who
Exile on Main Street ... Rolling Stones
(White Album) ... The Beatles
Physical Graffiti ... Led Zeppelin
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ... Elton John
The Wall ... Pink Floyd
Jesus Christ Superstar (Original London Concept)
Chicago Transit Authority

And then there's Tusk.

Fleetwood Mac: Tusk, by Amanda Petrusich (Pitchfork)

Fleetwood Mac's beautiful and terrifically strange 1979 LP Tusk poses the question: What happens when love dissipates, and you have to find a new thing to believe in? What if that thing is work?

The autumn of 1979 was, by any reasonable accounting, a challenging time to be alive. The world felt tenuous, transitional: panicked families were fleeing East Germany via hot air balloon, China was restricting couples to one child each, fifty-two Americans were barred inside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, pending release of the Shah. It was also the year of Tusk, the album in which Fleetwood Mac, a soft-rock band second only to the Eagles in their embodiment of easy 1970s gloss, completely lost their minds. It was the band’s twelfth album, though only its third with the now-iconic lineup of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, keyboardist Christine McVie, and singer Stevie Nicks, and it reflected a personal tumult so claustrophobic and intense it felt global in scale—an after-the-fall re-telling of catastrophic heartache and its endless reverberations.


w&la said...

You missed the "Hampton Grease Band" double album "Music to Eat" and Billy Idol's "Heroin" - both absolutely reviled and hated when they were released and loved and collected today. A pattern begins to emerge…

On the other hand - the well loved albums like Allman Brothers "Eat A Peach" and "Live at Fillmore East", Cream's "Wheels of Fire", Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew", Deep Purple "Made In Japan" are just some of the double LPs folks loved when they were released.

And then, there was the finest live recording of all time: Humble Pie – Performance Rockin' the Fillmore (1971) - simply the absolute best live double LP of all time.

Great band and Steve Marriott's voice. He auditioned for the Rolling Stones - scared Mick Jagger who kept him from joining. Strongest double live LP from start to finish ever. Ever. Ever.

The New Albanian said...

Lots of good material. Thanks.