Monday, June 13, 2011

Fleetwood Mac - Rumors

I can’t listen to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors objectively and you can blame my parents for this.

There was a period between 1976 and 1979 where my parents probably listened to only a half-dozen albums and Rumors would most certainly be at the top of that list.

I enjoyed the album at the time of its release, and I enjoyed the pleasure that it brought my parents as they played their vinyl version to death, even after our dog puked on the cover, leaving a stain on its beige cover forever after.

But there became a point where the optimism of “Don’t Stop” leads me to consider affirmatively to the band’s coos of “don’tcha look back.”

I would indeed, never look back on this overplayed relic of my youth, and it most certainly contributed to fueling my own musical independence, in which I would spin some of the most parent-hated music I could find.

Years later, I began a process of trying to reclaim some of the albums that I had purposefully banished, and Rumors was indeed, one of those records.

And while I tolerated it, especially when my live-in girlfriend at the time became drawn to it with a “Wow, this is a really good record!” type of enthusiasm, undoubtedly free from the record burn that yours truly experienced.

I let it go. Figuratively and literally. I let the album to play again in my apartment with her, and I let her take it with her when she moved out.

Forward on to a few years ago when Warner Brothers records could see that nobody was buying cds anymore and they began repackaging some of their most popular titles as “deluxe” editions, complete with demos, alternate takes, you know, the shit that geeks like me love to obsess over.

I noticed that they had done this treatment to Rumors and knowing that Lindsey Buckingham is a frigging genius and friggin’ geniuses are perfect fodder for “deluxe” editions, I once again put this album on my radar.

Joy of joys when I received some kind of discount for the only record store left in our town (Best Buy), to which I happily walked into that shitty, big box world to spend my fake money on a cd.

I considered Rumors for a moment, that is, until I saw what price tag our normally low-priced big box store had on the deluxe edition of this classic album. The price tag came to around thirty bucks, a price that I felt was too exorbitant to pay on an album that I had already bought previously and one who’s only difference was that it included the shit that they worked on to make it a near-perfect pop album masterpiece.

That’s right, in terms of this review: Rumors is a fucking masterpiece, go out and buy it for fucks sake if you haven’t already. We’ve gotten beyond that acknowledgement, regardless of the cue-burn that my family instilled on the album’s legacy for me.

Long story short, I didn’t feel like paying Warner Brothers an extra $30 for demos, outtakes, and all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that led to the album being a no-brainer.

And yet ends another tale of why record companies are stupid douchebags who burned the bridges of their most loyal customers so much that I’m encouraging anyone who hasn’t illegally downloaded their own copy of Fleetwood Mac’s deluxe edition of Rumors to do so immediately.

It’s a fan’s wet dream, maybe not worthy of the $30 price tag, but definitely half-of that if you’re looking to acquire it legitimately. Even with pictures, liner notes, or any of the physical detail that I would have loved to spend time with, the magic is within the music and you can see just how awesome Buckingham is even when he’s working on the skeleton arrangements of what would become one of the most successful pop albums of all time.

The beginning acoustic structures of “Never Going Back Again” show how underrated of a guitarist Lindsey is, while the final mix demonstrates his knack at arrangements.

The outtake of “Songbird” shows that, perhaps, every take they got through on the day of recording was probably just as good as the released version, and the same is true with some of the demo recordings too.

Hell, even when Fleetwood Mac was farting around, like they were with the basic blue rehearsal titled “For Duster,” they were a better band than most could claim to have even after a few years of rehearsing.

Which is exactly why Rumors is so great. Even in the face of personal adversity and improper excesses, the band was good enough when it counted to keep it together and focus long enough to create one of the undisputable masterpieces of pop music.

Just keep it away from my parents.

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