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Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie: new album examined track by track

Out last week, was Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie, the new album by Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie. Despite the clumsy title with Mick Fleetwood on drums/percussion and John McVie taking care of bass duties, it’s hard to think of this album as anything other than a Fleetwood Mac studio album, minus Stevie Nicks. But if we do that will our expectations be too high? SDE takes a look at the album, track-by-track…

Sleeping Around The Corner kicks things off and it does feel very much like a Buckingham solo effort (it turns out this song was an iTunes bonus track on 2011’s solo album Seeds We Sow). It’s slightly grungy in terms of production and a close look at the credits reveals that this is only one of two songs on the album that Lindsey produces alone. It does have that ‘I’m going to do it my way’ feel to it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The drums are quite compressed and it’s a fairly dense track, particularly during the chorus. Verdict: Not bad.

The Christine McVie sung Feel About You (a co-write) benefits greatly from an lovely insistent keyboard riff during the verses and an ludicrously catchy vocal arrangement in the chorus. Sounds very Tango in the Night-era. A light frothy palate cleanser, after the intensity of Sleeping Around The CornerVerdict: Very good.

In My World is the first song that really sounds like Fleetwood Mac, with John’s fat bass nice and prominent, from the off. The trademark percussion sounds more open and natural than the previous tracks. The verses are dark and broody, with a positive, slightly dreamlike chorus which has an echo effect on the vocals that’s a little wearing, after a while. The middle eight has an unmistakable nod to the breathy panting in Big Love. But that’s okay, I like it when artists get all self-referential. Verdict: A great pop song.

Christine sings Red Sun (a co-write) and immediately adds a warmth to proceedings that doesn’t really exist when Lindsey dominates the vocal performance. His voice can sound a little frazzled and burnt out at times. The chorus is a catchy singalong, although appropriately enough for a song with the line “when the red sun kisses the sea” it washes over you a bit and leans towards being a rather twee. Verdict: Okay.

Lindsay’s acoustic guitar phrasing is immediately recognisable on side one’s closer Love Is Here To Stay. He has that intensity which is always convincing. This is the other self-produced track. He sings ‘the wind blows one way, times goes when love is here to stay” with Christine providing harmonies – that alone makes the song better than if it was a solo effort. It’s grittier than Red Sun and more appealing. Expect to see this over a heartbreaking/uplifting scene in some Hollywood movie, in the near future. Verdict: Very good.

Too Far Gone is a pumping rocker (sung by Christine) which is lifted, significantly, by some brilliant drumming and bass playing by Fleetwood and Mac! It reminds me a little of Sting’s recent Petrolhead, but is much more melodic and has doesn’t have annoying driving metaphors. Surprisingly enjoyable for something quite lightweight. Verdict: Good.

There’s no lyric sheet included with the new album (the packaging is abysmal) but you get the feeling that with Lindsey’s songs he’s always looking to settle a score or make a point to someone. That appears to be the case with Lay Down For Free. It’s either a complaint directed at Spotify or a ‘you’ve pissed me off’ love song. Either way, it’s a very catchy track, which has that more ‘homemade’ production style, typical of Buckingham. Verdict: Very good.

Game Of Pretend is one of the two Christine solo compositions on Lindsay Buckingham / Christine McVie (yes, that’s what it’s called). It’s a plaintive piano ballad with a light shuffling beat that has a gorgeous pillow-soft chorus, which is quite beautiful. The backing vocals are fantastic as well. You listen to this and Christine’s 73 years slip away in an instant. An album highlight. Verdict: Superb.

On With The Show is another Lindsey solo song, which is undoubtedly directed to a certain Ms Nicks. Lindsey sings that he’s “too proud to drown” and “as long as I stand I will take your hand” before concluding that “there’s nowhere to go but on down the road”. Later on his points out that he’s been “waiting too long… but there’s no right or wrong”. Okay, it’s not exactly How Do You Sleep – more a weary, we-miss-you-but-life-goes-on type message – but it’s a good song and bonus points are scored for the inclusion of the keyboard riff from Tango In The Night’s You and I, Part II (itself a Lindsey and Christine co-write). Verdict: Very good.

Carnival Begin is the second and final track written just by Christine and it’s a fine way to close the album. This has that Isn’t It Midnight/Tango In The Night feel, and it has a very strong chorus. I keep coming back to ‘Tango’ but there are echoes of that album all over the place. This finishes on a impassioned guitar solo although fades rather abruptly. Verdict: Very good.


Summary

Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie is a very good album. It’s surprisingly uncomplicated and Christine’s two solo compositions (Game Of Pretend and Carnival Begin) are as good as anything Lindsey contributes. Her songwriting talents, vocals and the warmth she exudes really transforms what perhaps could have been a slightly one-dimensional Buckingham solo album.

The record doesn’t have a consistency in terms of production, although that’s not something that gets in the way of enjoying the songs. Sleeping Around The Corner is probably Lindsey’s least appealing song here, so it’s a strange choice for opening track and Red Sun is a bit limp, to be honest, but apart from that there’s really very little to dislike here.

The last three Fleetwood Mac albums either didn’t feature Lindsey Buckingham (Behind The Mask, Time) or Christine McVie (Say You Will) and the last that did feature them both was 1987’s Tango in the Night. Putting aside writing credits, nine of the 12 tracks on that record are sung by Lindsey or Christine, so it’s hardly surprising that this new album channels the spirit of FM’s Tango. There are nods to it sprinkled all over this album. It’s a real pity that Stevie Nicks didn’t make herself available for a fully-fledged Fleetwood Mac studio album. A couple of stellar contributions from her would have made it even better. You could argue that it’s silly not calling this a Fleetwood Mac record, but one supposes the last thing they wanted was the hassle of making it appear as if Stevie had left the band (she’s still a member to this day). Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie comes recommended.

Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie is out now.

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Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie

Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie vinyl LP

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Compare prices and pre-order

Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie

Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie CD edition

Shop Price gbp Stock
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 3.73
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 5.17
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 4.93
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 5.78
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Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 9.94
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  1.  Sleeping Around The Corner
  2. Feel About You
  3. In My World
  4. Red Sun
  5. Love Is Here To Stay
  6. Too Far Gone
  7. Lay Down For Free
  8. Game Of Pretend
  9. On With The Show
  10. Carnival Begin

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51 responses to Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie: new album examined track by track

  1. Daniel ( from Berlin ) says:

    the cover picture haunt me in nightmares!
    if the both needs a good photographer for a future album: i will do it for free.
    because i’m a professional ( with over 10 photo books )
    and this cover is a thing to shame for ! ;)

    • Tom of FIN says:

      What’s the fuzz about the cover, really? Kinda rockish in a (semi-)honest way, straightforward and plain pic. “Here we are (back)”!

      Maybe some computed facelifting done, but not too uncredible and everybody’s doin’ it. Not only to ageing superstars.

      • Daniel ( from Berlin ) says:

        hi tom please look first at the legs of l.buckingham
        then maybe on the too tight jeans…
        the whole picture / maybe picture combination of both is horror.
        i meant not computer “facelifting things”.
        maybe it would be better to make then only a cover with both names on it before
        that kind of ( “we try to look so young” ) fault.
        p.s. fleetwood mac / l.buckingham were famous for the great cover works in the past.

        • Daniel ( from Berlin ) says:

          back to music:
          “in my world” is one of the best fleetwood mac songs
          since “tango in the night” era.

  2. Truthsayer says:

    I agree with most of what you say about LB/CMc Paul especially on `Sleeping Around The Corner.` I think it`s a good album and I`m glad I got it, would Stevie Nicks being on it improve the album? I don`t think so, Christine McVie`s songs are very good. A couple more songs from CMc would have made a good album a `superb` album.

  3. Gareth says:

    Great review! I’m really enjoying this album, it’s as good as I could’ve hoped for, especially with S.N. not contributing to it. Goes to show that we’ve all got different tastes, I really like Red Sun! Like you I’m disappointed in the packaging, especially the lack of a basic lyric sheet.

  4. Ollie Carlisle says:

    A shame it’s not the full band line-up, by which I mean Rod seems to have left it to Jane and Freddy judging by the cover photo!

    (please note this reference may be lost on you if you didn’t grow up during the 1980s in the UK)

  5. Scott Smith says:

    There’s something strange about Christine’s vocals throughout, to the point where I frequently wouldn’t recognize it as her. It may be that she’s been autotuned a bit and that process has stripped out some of the natural characteristics that made her voice so pleasing and recognizable. It strikes me that she seems to be singing in a slightly higher register than usual so I wonder if they’ve recorded her voice at a lower pitch and sped up the tracks. Or it could just be that time has changed her voice, but if that’s the case it’s oddly made her voice more “perfect” (pardon the pun). Apart from that, it’s an altogether very good effort.

    • Daryl says:

      I have to agree – I didn’t really recognise it as Christine’s voice. It seems like she’s been swamped by backing vocalists to a certain extent. Granted, her voice isn’t quite the same as it used to be (witness her performance of ‘Songbird’ on the Beeb’s One Show recently) but I was a little disappointed. The album’s still better than pretty much anything you’ll hear on the radio these days though.

    • Glen says:

      I’m thinking Lindsey has learnt to “transform” his voice into a female voice (via computers, formants/pitch modification using pitch “correction” software) since having been obligated to “simulate” Stevie’s voice on much of the “Tango in the Night” album. While I can’t say this about Christine’s lead vocals on the album, I’m judging it quite possible (from what I’ve listened to) that many of the female backing vocals on Lindsey’s songs could very well be concocted by Lindsey himself.

  6. andrew r says:

    But that cover…. Want to buy it but…. that cover….

  7. Kevin Barrett says:

    Great album, i’ve always liked Chris McVie, song good songs on here, especially for me In My World and Carnival Begin.

  8. Peter Muscutt says:

    Haha – could this LP inspire a ‘Great Albums with Atrocious Covers’ discussion?

  9. David M says:

    As someone who can’t stand Nicks and enjoys McVie and (most of) Buckingham I am more likely to buy this than an official F Mac album.

    Nice review, is this the first one of new material that you have done?

  10. BRENEZ Alain says:

    Just got the LP yesterday and listened to it only once, so cannot offer a fair judgment. So disappointing that in these days of vinyl revival, the LP doesn’t even come with a download coupon. 95% of LP’s these days offer download coupons. Although the LP is 180gr quality, I found the output level to be extremely low.

    • Paul Lewis says:

      I so agree about the lack of download coupon. I’ve noticed that Warners are generally (but strangely not always) really bad about that. Probably the worst of the majors. But that said, inclusion of downloads with vinyl is generally really inconsistent, and I’ve had an dispute with an indie in the past, who tried arguing they were offering “really good value”, even though expecting me to pay again for a download! And Universal have their Back To Black range which always includes a download (although don’t expect the code to work yet if you buy it on day of release… they are invariably “still waiting for the audio from the label”) but release other reissues outside that range without downloads. Is it too much to expect consistency? It’s not unreasonable that we’d expect to be given a download of music we’ve already paid for! And it’s also really unfair to high street record shops, who are disadvantaged vs Amazon, where you will often get an “Autorip”, while buying in a shop risks having no download. Rant over! Sorry, that point just really strikes a nerve for me!

  11. Rune T says:

    Great review and album. A shame the circumstances didn’t allow them to put the Fleetwood Mac name on it. I think it easily bests a couple of the other ‘not the complete 5-piece’ albums released under the FM name.

    Would have preferred a different cover photo though. And they should of course have called it Buckingham McVie, but that would probably annoy you-know-who quite a bit… I am actually amazed at the lengths the go to not upset her.

  12. Aaron says:

    Wasn’t sure if I was going to pick this up – but just got free tickets to their upcoming concert so I might as well.

    3rd row seat and the Wallflowers are supporting…happy days!

    Just hope that they do Holiday Road…:)

  13. DaveM says:

    After listening a few times you are bang on the money with the review Paul. Reckon this album is going to soundtrack my summer. I too hope they do dates here. A real shame a few years ago when Lindsey was going to tour the UK and then cancelled as I absolutely love his solo stuff.

  14. Kauwgompie says:

    Thanks for the review. Even though everyone has their own taste, it’s good to know that conventional wisdom says this is a good album. I always try to not repeat what others have said in this comment section but I have to agree that the cover is atrocious. It gives me the idea that it is a cheap, desperate production which it is clearly not. They definitely don’t do themselves any favors with that pic. As a collector I hope they will release a limited edition with bonus disc or dvd. Probably not anytime soon.

  15. David Stanley says:

    Too Far Gone is my favorite track! After some skepticism, I sampled the album and hearing Too Far Gone is what made me order it. So unlike Fleetwood Mac…in a good way.

  16. Paul Nolan says:

    Great Review Paul… My favourite track also is Game of Pretend… I would also give Carnival Begin a Superb song too…

  17. Philip Cohen says:

    I don’t know if there’s any lingering hostility between Lindsay Buckingham & Stevie Nicks. Their romantic relationship(between 1964-1976) is ancient history, and Lindsay Buckingham long ago moved on and got married. It’s a similar thing between Blondie’s Deborah Harry & Chris Stein.
    Neither Harry or Nicks was ever going to say “Yes”, and their ex-boyfriends wanted to have wives and kids.
    Nicks’ one attempt at marriage was ill-advised and ended in less than 3 months, causing Nicks to swear off marriage forever more. Nicks had a lady friend who was terminally ill, but had recently given birth, and so Nicks promised that lady that when she died, that Nicks would get married to that lady’s husband, so there would be someone to be mother to that baby. It’s was a noble idea, but it was doomed. The man that Nicks married was a member of an extreme fundamentalist church. Nicks was going to be a good sport and join the church, but Nicks had a serious drug problem at the time, and her fundamentalist husband was going to have zero tolerance towards it. They got divorced, Nicks got detoxified in 1987,but Nicks is still in regular contact with her stepson, and paid for his college education.

    • Al Rearick says:

      Thanks for sharing that, Philip. I’d never heard that story. Very heartwarming. I’d read before that not being able to have children is one of Nicks’ greatest regrets, if not her single greatest regret.

  18. DiscoDave2000 says:

    It’s crap packaging like this that makes me think Record Co’s suck! I won’t get on my Jewel Case rant here (done that in other posts), but this type of packaging – one single piece of folded cardboard and a CD is pretty pathetic – no lyrics, no track by track credits. Come on this record has 4/5 members of one of the biggest bands in the past 40 years and this is what we get…

    Agree that the record has a Tango In The Night feel to it. Favorite tracks are #2 and #3, but I find the entire thing very enjoyable.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I have the vinyl. Normally it’s nice to see a bigger front cover, although not this time :) That CD sounds truly pathetic. Totally agree with your comments. The music is great, the ‘product’ is lousy.

      • Philip Cohen says:

        Another album damaged by “Loudness Wars” processing. I’m beginning to suspect that this “Loudness Wars” stuff is an intentional effort to sabotage the sales of CD’s.

        • RJS says:

          “an intentional effort to sabotage the sales of CD’s”

          It’s intentional so that punters buy the now obligatory re-mastered 10th anniversary edition.

        • Derek Langsford says:

          Or push people towards vinyl? Please let that not be true. I see some releases with a cassette tapes. Who still has working tape machine and prefers cassettes over anything? I have a friend who collects 8-tracks but he doesn’t want new albums issued on that format.

          I bemoan the reversal of the trend to higher digital audio fidelity. I was hoping Blu-ray would replace CD, and it seemed a no-brainer with albums being stored in DSD at 96/24 or 192/24 resolution, but instead vinyl is being brought back when I gave up on vinyl 31 years ago. Since I have collected CDs, DVD-As, SACDs, and a few Blu-ray audio discs.

          If labels start making CDs sound bad to promote analogue formats I would protest in no uncertain terms.

          • gwynogue says:

            There seems to be an annoying ‘lo-fi’ hipster trend. I think that’s why a lot of new video clips from the ‘cool’ bands use all the latest technology to look like crappy old VHS tapes.

  19. tom says:

    Shocking cover, it reminds me of that new Sting LP….it just looks like a 5 minute photoshop job. How hard would it be to put some effort into visuals?

  20. -SG- says:

    It is a shame really that we didn’t get a full reunion album here, but this is a big Mac album in all but name. Time is running out and an opportunity like this may never come again. If I recall correctly, Buckingham’s Gift of Screws was also backed by Fleetwood and McVie and was intended to be a Fleetwood Mac album at a time, but no Stevie. Seems a bit petty, whaever the issue is. As all great bands, the band is bigger than the sum of the parts, but all parts are important to get that vibe. That said, this is a good record and does have a Tango in the Night vibe. Good for them for going for it, they still sound good. Nice to have Christine McVie back in the fold.

  21. Michael Fortin says:

    Great review Paul, I am really enjoying this album as well.

  22. Foxee says:

    I agree with most of what has been said and I really like the album, surprisingly so because I have always thought that Nicks was the most interesting and powerful contributor to Mac albums, and certainly has had a stellar solo career.

    I really do think it’s a shame that this isn’t a full FM album – 5 more tracks from Nicks to sprinkle on could have made this one of the best Mac albums of their career. Also, the absence of her harmonies on some of these tracks is sorely missed, and would have really enhanced them (imagine ‘Love in Store’ on Mirage without the Nicks vocals!!). All I hope is that Nicks will bring out another solo album this year – that would at least be a reason (and consolation?) for her non-involvement in this project

    • Daniel ( from Berlin ) says:

      i agree Foxee. i wish that stevie nicks were on the tracks too. lead and back.
      “in my world” and “carnival begin” are the best tracks for me after a first listen even now.
      paul, your “‘…’tango’ but there are echoes of that album all over the place” echoes
      my feeling too… thanks for the great review!

  23. Mark Franklin says:

    Listen carefully to the chorus of Red Sun, it DOES sound like Stevie is on backing vox – my ears think so anyway. Love this album, great review.

  24. Al Rearick says:

    Great review, love the track-by-track analysis. This is far & away one of my favorite albums of the year if not the last ten years. I had high hopes for this when it was first announced and every track far exceeded those expectations. I’ve only been listening to it digitally (via Google Music) with the intention of buying either the LP or CD at some point. Given what’s been said so far about the loudness on the CD and the ugly cover and lack of digital download for the LP, I may just stick with how I’m listening to it now. FWIW, I don’t miss Nicks at all and thought her contributions to TANGO were slight at best. If anything, this actually reminds me more of OUT OF THE CRADLE than TANGO, but I can very definitely see how the aforementioned comparisons work, especially how the guitar fade-out on “Carnival Begin” brings to mind the guitar fade-out of TANGO’s title track.

  25. Bill Light says:

    Paul–“On With The Show” was the name of the F Mac tour over the last few years so don’t think it is at all directed at Stevie’s absence on this record.

  26. Peter says:

    Ugh… that cover

  27. Michael says:

    Great review Paul – I agree the packaging is abysmal and I would have preferred some album art rather than that picture!! No lyric sheet is poor too but I’m in two minds about that – not sure if I want one going by some very bland lyrics in certain places “Don’t want to bring you down, don’t want to give you a frown – repeat”!! Having said that, a lot of the music is great (I’m including that last one) and there are other better penned songs which make up for this. So I agree on balance it’s a strong album that gets better with more listens. Still, Stevie’s appearance would have made it into a very nice double Fleetwood Mac LP I’m sure. Look at her contributions to Say You Will.

  28. gwynogue says:

    Great review Paul! Most reviewers nowadays seem to just compare (i.e. “If you like (random artist/group), you’ll like this”) which does me no favours. Thank you for taking the time to give it a proper review and not take the lazy way out.

    Bought the (CD) album this morning. I’m loving it, but I’ve only had one listen so too early to pick favourite song(s). Don’t like the packaging – as others have mentioned, folded up cardboard and not much else. I’ve seen better packaging on petrol station CDs…

    As for the cover art…yeah, not great, but it’s better than the new Kasabian one.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Thanks! I’ve been listening to it a lot. This and Sheryl Crow’s album are both great pop records.

  29. Marc Mac says:

    As a longtime fan, I bought this album on release day on BOTH formats. I got used to the cover, it is not the worst thing ever, besides it’s the music that counts.
    Of course it would have been nice if Nicks had contributed, but I don’t miss her.
    Glad they didn’t keep it shelved.
    Favorite Tracks for me (although i like ALL): ‘Too far gone’ (that drumbreak is great!) and
    ‘In my world’. As I said, though i don’t skip any and LOVE it as a whole, ‘Red Sun’ is reminiscent of ‘Steal your heart away’ from ‘Say you will’ and i like all the nods to ‘Tango’ throughout the record !

  30. william mckinley says:

    I think just like SAY YOU WILL, you can tell there is vocals that are missing. In SYW, some of those songs would’ve benefited from Christine’s voice. In this one, Stevie’s voice would help out some of these songs. I like both albums. Maybe we’ll get a Fleetwood Mac album soon with all the members on it.

  31. John says:

    I actually thought “Sleeping Around the Corner” was the best song.

  32. baward says:

    I’m not sure I’ll buy this. I agree with what others have said about the sleeve; I wonder if they sell a plain brown paper bag to keep it in? ;-)

  33. JJDelmas says:

    The packaging of the CD is so poor that it seems obvious to me that a more accomplished special edition will eventually see the light. It really looks to me like a temporary solution.

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