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Old 04-08-2019, 04:19 PM
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aleuzzi aleuzzi is offline
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Originally Posted by kak125 View Post
11. 'In the Meantime' (Christine McVie, 2004)
Out of Fleetwood Mac, and thus out of the limelight, McVie probably didn't have a chance at chart success with this intimate, largely forgotten project. (The single "Friend" actually reached No. 29, but only on the Adult Contemporary side; the album didn't chart at all.) Her failure to tour behind In the Meantime certainly didn't help either. It's a shame, because McVie had quietly released some of her best work. Emphasis on "quietly." The record included contributions from Mac-related folks like Billy Burnette, Robbie Patton (who co-wrote 1982's "Hold Me") and George Hawkins from Mick Fleetwood's Zoo. But In the Meantime still had the homey, deeply confidential feel of a personal recording that somehow saw wide release. It's like a secret only a few people know.

10. 'Law and Order' (Lindsey Buckingham, 1981)
This album mirrored the broad musical complexity of Fleetwood Mac's most recent double album Tusk, as Buckingham blended pre-war songs into his signature style, like-minded originals and a batch of '50s- and '60s-inspired rock and pop. Perhaps only Buckingham, with his patented sense of wild-hair studio modernity, could hold all of that together. He also scored an early Top 10 solo Billboard single with "Trouble," which included a brief loop of Mick Fleetwood's drumming. Even then, a rugged sense of individuality remained: All additional fills and cymbal crashes were completed by Buckingham, who elsewhere ended up handling almost all of the album's instrumentationd George Hawkins from Mick Fleetwood's Zoo. But In the Meantime still had the homey, deeply confidential feel of a personal recording that somehow saw wide release. It's like a secret only a few people know.

9. 'In the Skies' (Peter Green, 1979)
Green embraced his strengths again for his second turn-of-the-'80s comeback album after a bout with mental illness. Five of the nine songs on In the Skies were instrumentals, providing a comfy atmosphere for Green to re-establish himself. And he did, emerging from an awful period defined by electroconvulsive-therapy sessions with his best rock-infused album. Green revealed a sign of lingering uncertainty by adding another guitarist in Snowy White, who played with Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy, but that became a thrillingly tangled triumph too.

8. 'The Wild Heart' (Stevie Nicks, 1983)
Nicks' double-platinum second solo album featured an appropriately named song: "Nothing Ever Changes." She played to her strengths on The Wild Heart and, in keeping with her status as one of the '80s' biggest stars, sold millions. If there's a complaint to be made, it's that so many of the songs were determinedly radio-ready, without the quirky mannerisms that often surrounded her work with Fleetwood Mac. In keeping, "Stand Back" this project's biggest hit and biggest risk felt like a bolt out of the blue. The song was so inventive that it made everything else even the underrated "If Anyone Falls," a moody synth-driven cut that explores the emotions surrounding an unrequited love sound a little pedestrian.

7. 'Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie' (Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, 2017)
Much is typically made of the link (musical and otherwise) between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Yet Mac recordings prominently featuring Buckingham and Christine McVie "World Turning," "Don't Stop," "Think About Me," "Hold Me" and a trio of co-written songs from Tango in the Night, including "Mystified" have provided plenty of musical sparks since their careers first intersected in the mid-'70s. Same here, on a flinty album that should have been released under the Fleetwood Mac banner. Buckingham's songs tend to be the best of the lot, but it's fascinating the way this collaboration brings out so much darkness in McVie.

6. 'Seeds We Sow' (Lindsey Buckingham, 2011)
You were somehow expecting Lindsey Buckingham, the old rebel, to soften into middle-aged acceptance? This wasn't that record, which steadfastly refused to trade true emotion for easy sentiment. Seeds We Sow is as hard-eyed as it is musically ambitious and that makes perfect sense. In a move that belied the era, Buckingham's best-known music never settled for cheap thrills, quick answers or something so obvious and easy as nihilism. Seeds We Sow showed that it still didn't.

5. 'French Kiss' (Bob Welch, 1977)
Welch once said his intent with this solo debut was to write hits. Mission accomplished: "Sentimental Lady," a polished improvement over Fleetwood Mac's original on 1972's Bare Trees that featured Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, went to No. 8. "Ebony Eyes," the follow-up, got to No. 14. "Hot Love, Cold World" also made the Top 40. Bob Welch had not only arrived, he'd seemingly built a new musical template for success by thumbing his nose at the usually guitar-shy genre of soft rock, then stirring in the beats and orchestral elements that were then defining the disco craze. We now know that it didn't quite work out that way. Still, French Kiss remains his most complete album.

4. 'Gift of Screws' (Lindsey Buckingham, 2008)
A long-gestating project, Gift of Screws began life in the '90s, fed a few songs into Fleetwood Mac's Say You Will and then finally emerged later in the same decade as a reworked solo album. It happened only because Buckingham finally asked for space to complete and release Under the Skin and Gift of Screws. They became quite complimentary, as the first album's acoustic stillness set the stage for this project's plugged-in vibe. Buckingham isn't in search of catharsis here though "The Right Place to Fade" seems to directly reference the madness of Fleetwood Mac so much as his most familiar persona: the oddball rock guy. To perhaps no one's surprise, the delightfully accessible Gift of Screws emerged as the first Buckingham solo album to crack the Top 50 since 1984's Go Insane.

3. 'Buckingham Nicks' (Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, 1973)
This fledgling duo had recently located to Los Angeles, and they boasted a newly signed deal with Polydor. But the resulting self-titled album went nowhere, leaving a desperate Nicks to take a job as a waitress to pay the rent. She has said she was mere weeks away from returning to Phoenix when Mick Fleetwood made a fateful call. Buckingham and Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac, and then Buckingham Nicks despite its template-forging mix of soaring California pop-rock ("Crying in the Night," "Without a Leg to Stand On"), edgy asides ("Don't Let Me Down Again," "Long Distance Winner"), picker's showcases ("Stephanie") and weird experimentalism ("Frozen Love") promptly went out of print. They'd later return to "Crystal" for their first album with Fleetwood Mac.

2. 'Bella Donna' (Stevie Nicks, 1981)
With nearly two dozen collaborators, you had to wonder if Stevie Nicks would get lost on the four-times-platinum Bella Donna. Instead, she acts as a sort of witchy-woman conductor for her songs, leading a strikingly talented crew through their paces on a tour-de-force solo debut. She wrote or co-wrote all but one of the tracks, save for the No. 3 Tom Petty collaboration "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," during a period of remarkable productivity. Then Petty's producer Jimmy Iovine gave Nicks a spacious, rootsy space to flourish. "Leather and Lace," a duet with Don Henley, went to No. 6, before her career-defining "Edge of Seventeen" finished at No. 11. The result wasn't just the best solo debut of any member of her band; it was one of the best first albums of the '80s.

1. 'Out of the Cradle' (Lindsey Buckingham, 1992)
For some reason, Buckingham's initial solo project after a very public breakup with Fleetwood Mac didn't do much on the album charts, and produced no Hot 100 singles. Maybe fans had grown tired of his experimentalism outside of the main group. Maybe they were still angry about his departure. But that split led directly to the broad creative rebirth heard on Out of the Cradle. Buckingham finally let himself inhabit the entire musical space he'd created as the pop-genius sonic architect of Fleetwood Mac's platinum era. He held nothing back, either in terms of the songs their projects usually pilfered away or the emotions he'd been keeping in check. It's the album he should have made from the first. But Out of the Cradle was worth the wait.
I would have exchanged The Wild Heart or Seeds We Sow for In the Meantime--but hey, I'm glad it was recognized as being a very fine album.
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