Album Reviews

Lindsey Buckingham – Lindsey Buckingham

(Rhino) UK release date: 17 September 2021

Lindsey Buckingham - Lindsey Buckingham Lindsey Buckingham’s firing from Fleetwood Mac in 2018 is somewhat of a mystery, as well as being hugely mourned by fans. Depending on who recounts the event – largely accepted to be the culmination of increasing tensions over a period that reached its peak following an awards ceremony – the reasons are different, but ultimately it comes down to singer Stevie Nicks’ inability to continue with Buckingham on board. With money the likeliest root of the ensuing thinking, the eviction of Buckingham as opposed to Nicks was probably thought to have the least impact on the touring cash cow that was about to reap significant financial reward for all, a fact not lost on Buckingham who sued for loss of earnings from the huge, then imminent, global tour.

Such is Fleetwood Mac’s legacy, you struggle to get through too much airplay from many a radio station before hearing them pop up. To get to the point where your songs are still being played through the airwaves decades on to such an extent is rare. For Buckingham’s seventh solo album you wonder where such longevity sits. Lead single Scream also opens his self-titled third record, but it doesn’t get going; short, with a hint of the past, you’re already feeling like it’s living off the fumes of his old band. Power Down has a bit more to it but again, comes across as a throwaway Mac track.

Buckingham has been through a torrid time in recent years, with the culling from the band, a triple heart bypass operation and his wife filing for divorce all contributing to a drop in vocal abilities; luckily, that’s no problem here as the tracks were recorded four years ago. He also plays all the instruments on the album, an achievement considering he was in his late 60s at the time.

Where he still excels is through his guitar work. Brilliant standout track On The Wrong Side showcases his dexterity superbly for the catchiest cut on the collection and the scrawling guitars of Swan Song also carry some weight. I Don’t Mind is an example of his songwriting skills too: tempered and melodic, the cut also benefits from decent backing vocals, but you can’t help wonder what would be added to the track with contributions from the other Mac members.

Santa Rosa is catchy, as is Blue Light, although judging by the lyrics you wonder if he really means never give in to the house of red light rather than blue. Elsewhere though, the album falls down. From Blind Love’s mediocrity that evokes easy listening hour on Radio 2 memories to Time’s drab message that will give you a nervous breakdown if you’re aged 40 plus and think too hard about it (“where did you go?”), things fail to ignite, and on closer Dancing, lyrics of “all those who love her just wasting away” leave you praying it isn’t another yearning for Nicks.

Whilst Fleetwood Mac’s back catalogue enjoys all those radio replays, there is little here that suggests many people will be playing – or even remember – most of these tracks in 30-50 years time. That was never going to be the case, but aside from several unwanted bumps in the road that fail to impress at all, he has at least managed to produce something that resembles an echo of past glories in a few places.

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