Behind The Mask

Fleetwood Mac

Reprise, 1990

http://www.fleetwoodmac.com

REVIEW BY: Michael Ehret

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/27/2007

The beginning of the end of Fleetwood Mac actually showed some promise, but ultimately what nearly killed the band was the fact that the Mac didn’t try to replace Lindsey Buckingham, who had departed after the band’s last great album, Tango In The Night. Instead, they tried to replicate him -- and the results were disastrous.

It’s not that replicants Billy Burnette and Rick Vito were bad; they just weren’t Buckingham, and whoever made the decision to try to wedge them into the hole left by Buckingham’s departure made a very bad decision. Fortunately the always dependable Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were still around, but the only time this group was a cohesive band was for the album photos.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Christine McVie, the bands’ most reliable asset, opens the disc with another delightful pop tune, “Skies The Limit,” which she wrote with her Tango songwriting partner Eddy Quintela -- and you can feel the fresh breeze blowing. What follows is a not half-bad attempt at a duet between Stevie Nicks and Rick Vito, “Love Is Dangerous,” which as a single made it to No. 7 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. Nicks nails her part and Vito keeps up pretty well -- but here, on the second song, is where you first hear the absence of Buckingham like a shout.

The wheels fall off on the very next track. On the ponderously long “In The Back Of My Mind,” Burnette starts the song with more than two minutes of dirge-like music and demon-like, distorted phrases gurgled to no obvious effect -- other than boredom. Christine tries to resurrect things afterward with a pretty ballad duet with Burnette (“Do You Know”) but, again, you don’t hear Buckingham, who would have taken Burnette’s part and made something of it.

There are few other highlights. “Save Me,” an Adult Contemporary hit from Christine and “Freedom” from Nicks, a rocker on par with “Edge Of Seventeen” or “Stand Back” from her solo catalog that should have been a single are among them, but the label probably gave up on the album before getting that deep into singles. Even Vito turns in a decent solo rocker with “Stand On The Rock,” but it doesn’t fit on the album.

Things would get worse before they got better. For the next album, Time, Nicks would vacate as well. But that’s a story for the next review. For this review, the story is that there wasn't much Behind The Mask at all.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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