Behind the Mask is the only FM record I don't own. I simply can't bear to hear it. I remember being so disappointed by its generic glossiness when it came out. Over the years, I've tried several times to reconcile myself with the record, but I just can't. With the exception of "Save Me," nothing moves or impresses me.
It's not solely the absence of Buckingham that is a problem. I DO think the Mac could have rebounded from his quitting with a very fine record. It's just that somehow that new combination of people never really sparked together.
I don't blame anyone in particular. Vito is a GREAT guitar player who I enjoy listening to in other contexts (including on Stevie's solo work). Burnette is a clever songwriter with enough charm to forge ahead as a solo artist. But these guys just don't mix with the other two songwriters/singers. And, often, the worst parts of the record are from the veteran contributors. "Skies the Limit" is an all-time McVie low. I cringe when I hear it. Nothing from Stevie sounds genuine or inspired.
Ironically, the much-loathed Time is, in my view, a far-better effort. There, Bekka and Billy work great together, and Christine's material fills out their sound nicely. Only Dave is the disappointment, and even he can be easily ignored--on the album at least.