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  #106  
Old 11-09-2019, 09:39 AM
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I consider TUSK the greatest album of all time--three distinct perspectives on romance at their artistic peak aligned, not by the radical soap-opera narrative of RUMOURS, but by the buoying sound of a strings-like harmonizing. It constitutes a total social vision.

But I couldn't bring myself to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a listening session.

They broke my heart, so I don't know how my ears will hear it now.

It may be overtaken in my estimation by Roxy Music's SIREN--the most perfect expression of the most refined (romantic) sensibility of the 20th Century. It's a great album about desire and heartbreak that can be heard without suffering the personal betrayal of heartbreak.
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Last edited by TrueFaith77; 11-09-2019 at 09:42 AM..
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  #107  
Old 11-10-2019, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by TrueFaith77 View Post
I consider TUSK the greatest album of all time--three distinct perspectives on romance at their artistic peak aligned, not by the radical soap-opera narrative of RUMOURS, but by the buoying sound of a strings-like harmonizing. It constitutes a total social vision.
In formalistic terms, is Tusk completely successful — does it achieve or even exceed all its aesthetic goals? Or does its greatness lie at least in part in its folly: in its excesses, its miscalculations, its exhausting grandeur? (The critics at the time hinted at this by comparing it, as you know, to the Beatles’ fractious 1968 studio album The Beatles.)

To me, the link between form and content in Rumours seems insoluble. There is no loose formalistic thread whose teensy bit of unraveling subverts the album’s content. Even the botched production treatment of “Songbird” doesn’t undercut any of the album’s statements (I say it’s botched because, taken by itself, it sticks out sonically like a sore thumb — it lacks the tight compression of the hermetic studio environment and the Appalachian mountain music alchemy of the multitracking, yet it’s still weirdly and entirely of a piece with the rest of the album).

But in Tusk there’s a distracting tension between the work itself and the maze of incompatibilities feeding our aural, visual, and intellectual sensibilities (most often attributed to the differences among the three writers and their aging voices). Does the album’s greatness as a cultural artifact lie in its boastful display of incommensurates? Tusk feels like a folly — many of rock’s most influential works are glorious follies that push the borders of the art outward. And should “Not That Funny” have been . . . well, funnier?

Say, this is fun!
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  #108  
Old 11-10-2019, 06:02 PM
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  #109  
Old 11-11-2019, 12:12 PM
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That David. He sure do have a way with words, don't he?

David
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  #110  
Old 11-11-2019, 01:12 PM
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I could have worded it all more clearly, I suppose. But I wanted to engage with John when he said it was the greatest album of all time. It’s not that I agree or disagree but that I want to hear more from John. He’s written some good books!
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  #111  
Old 11-12-2019, 01:25 PM
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In formalistic terms, is Tusk completely successful — does it achieve or even exceed all its aesthetic goals? Or does its greatness lie at least in part in its folly: in its excesses, its miscalculations, its exhausting grandeur? (The critics at the time hinted at this by comparing it, as you know, to the Beatles’ fractious 1968 studio album The Beatles.)

To me, the link between form and content in Rumours seems insoluble. There is no loose formalistic thread whose teensy bit of unraveling subverts the album’s content. Even the botched production treatment of “Songbird” doesn’t undercut any of the album’s statements (I say it’s botched because, taken by itself, it sticks out sonically like a sore thumb — it lacks the tight compression of the hermetic studio environment and the Appalachian mountain music alchemy of the multitracking, yet it’s still weirdly and entirely of a piece with the rest of the album).

But in Tusk there’s a distracting tension between the work itself and the maze of incompatibilities feeding our aural, visual, and intellectual sensibilities (most often attributed to the differences among the three writers and their aging voices). Does the album’s greatness as a cultural artifact lie in its boastful display of incommensurates? Tusk feels like a folly — many of rock’s most influential works are glorious follies that push the borders of the art outward. And should “Not That Funny” have been . . . well, funnier?

Say, this is fun!
True, dat, as the kids [used to] say.

Rumours achieves a remarkable coherence through synthesis. The various parts come together. And yes, "Songbird" is sonically different from all the rest, but its placement directly after the album's most raucous, bombastic moment feels deliberate...

By contrast, Tusk achieves fragmentation through fragmentation. The various parts are adjacent but not in conversation. The result is one jarring juxtaposition after another, the story of how these five very different people, and specifically the three songwriters DON'T organically fit together. THIS is Tusk's aesthetic goal. The result is fascinating and, oddly, enduring.

Contemporary reviewers noted similarities with the Beatles White Album but were often careful enough to recognize Tusk was lyrically superficial by comparison. On the other hand, the individual writers on the double Beatles album manage to forge a unified sound--one that is grungier, simpler, and spacier than their previous masterwork. With Tusk, you have different sonic approaches: proto-punk bathroom concoctions; Brian Wilson tributes; L.A. studio sophistication worthy of Steely Dan. It's all over the place...And I love it because of this.
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  #112  
Old 11-12-2019, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by aleuzzi View Post
True, dat, as the kids [used to] say.

Rumours achieves a remarkable coherence through synthesis. The various parts come together. And yes, "Songbird" is sonically different from all the rest, but its placement directly after the album's most raucous, bombastic moment feels deliberate...

By contrast, Tusk achieves fragmentation through fragmentation. The various parts are adjacent but not in conversation. The result is one jarring juxtaposition after another, the story of how these five very different people, and specifically the three songwriters DON'T organically fit together. THIS is Tusk's aesthetic goal. The result is fascinating and, oddly, enduring.

Contemporary reviewers noted similarities with the Beatles White Album but were often careful enough to recognize Tusk was lyrically superficial by comparison. On the other hand, the individual writers on the double Beatles album manage to forge a unified sound--one that is grungier, simpler, and spacier than their previous masterwork. With Tusk, you have different sonic approaches: proto-punk bathroom concoctions; Brian Wilson tributes; L.A. studio sophistication worthy of Steely Dan. It's all over the place...And I love it because of this.
Beautifully stated, Tony. “The various parts are adjacent but not in conversation.” Both Robert Hilburn and Noel Coppage thought the fragmentation was a weakness. With a lot of time behind us, it’s not a weakness any more. The idea that even forward-thinking critics considered it so in 1979 illustrates just how powerful the unity of form and content on Rumours really was. The “not fitting together” quality really is the aesthetic goal, as you said. The craze for paring down the album to a single album or rearranging the track list maybe doesn’t see the point? You shouldn’t want to turn Tusk into an album that’s any more palatable to a mass audience or a boardroom full of radio execs. The album is anti-single and anti-radio. If it had sold at Rumours level, a good argument could be made that it had failed at its goal.
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  #113  
Old 04-29-2020, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by David View Post
To me, the link between form and content in Rumours seems insoluble. There is no loose formalistic thread whose teensy bit of unraveling subverts the album’s content. Even the botched production treatment of “Songbird” doesn’t undercut any of the album’s statements (I say it’s botched because, taken by itself, it sticks out sonically like a sore thumb — it lacks the tight compression of the hermetic studio environment and the Appalachian mountain music alchemy of the multitracking, yet it’s still weirdly and entirely of a piece with the rest of the album).
This is really interesting to read coming from someone who is obviously very knowledgeable about music.

I've always hated the compressed vocals on Rumours - they stick out like a sore thumb compared to other music of the time, and indeed other FM albums with the same producers.

Are you saying that they were a production decision, I always thought they were a result of the high end being lost from the masters being overused?

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As I was listening to several tracks today from Tusk the one thing I wish Lindsey would have done was to add Christine and Stevie’s vocals to more of his tracks. Save Me a Place, That’s All For Everyone and Walk a Thin Line comes to mind.
And Save Me A Place literally has a 3 part harmony in the chorus which is, you know, Fleetwood Mac's thing. Why did they let Lindsey do all three parts?
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  #114  
Old 04-29-2020, 07:50 PM
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[QUOTE=



And Save Me A Place literally has a 3 part harmony in the chorus which is, you know, Fleetwood Mac's thing. Why did they let Lindsey do all three parts?[/QUOTE]


The live versions of this song REALLY showed what the studio version could have been. The three part harmonies were amazing.
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  #115  
Old 04-29-2020, 09:14 PM
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I think if TUSK had been whittled down to a single album it really would have lost quite a bit of its punch. I think Buckingham was right that nothing was going to match RUMOURS, so why even try?

TUSK is underproduced in many areas but on the other hand there's major production in others. "Brown Eyes" is produced to the hilt, as are "Sara" and "Storms". Its sprawling and complex.

"Not That Funny" was a single, so that would make 5. I have no idea what the sixth single could have been. TUSK isn't really a singles album - Buckingham's songs were all veering way left, Nicks was reveling in the extra space to make long spooky anthems, and even McVie's always solid songs lacked the usual pop hooks. It's clear that at the time Buckingham's vision of art-over-commercialism was embraced by both Nicks and McVie, even if later the (relative) lack of sales changed some minds.

I had to chuckles at Mick's quote about not caring about album sales. Sure.
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  #116  
Old 04-29-2020, 09:29 PM
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I think the reason that Mirage and Tango didn’t have the “depth of greatness” was largely due to the solo career focus that was in full force from 1981-1987.
You may have a point here, although Nicks was a prolific enough songwriter that she always had songs to hand over.

I think MIRAGE suffers as a reaction to TUSK. Buckingham felt burned by the band's shifting reaction when TUSK didn't sell big, so that made MIRAGE "safe" (although Nicks still had "Gypsy", and McVie "Hold Me", both great songs).

TANGO was stronger because Buckingham wasn't in reactionary mode by then. He is really strong on that album. McVie too came up with "Little Lies" and "Everywhere", two great songs. Nicks's drug addiction really impacted her songwriting quality and performance at the time.
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  #117  
Old 04-29-2020, 09:38 PM
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As I was listening to several tracks today from Tusk the one thing I wish Lindsey would have done was to add Christine and Stevie’s vocals to more of his tracks. Save Me a Place, That’s All For Everyone and Walk a Thin Line comes to mind.
I agree completely. I think it would have been fascinating if Buckingham had kept the veering-to-the-left production-wise but made the songs actual band performances.
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  #118  
Old 04-29-2020, 09:43 PM
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It's for this reason that I particularly love all of side 4. Honey Hi--the harmonies! Never Forget--the harmonies! Beautiful Child--the descants! Walk a Thin Line--the harmonies!
Oh yes, definitely agree. The harmonies are what save "Honey Hi", and I love all their vocal parts in "Beautiful Child", particularly at the end of the song.....I think the song fades a bit too quickly actually because i love Stevie's distant "aaaahhhhhhh" twice at the end.
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  #119  
Old 04-29-2020, 10:07 PM
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i never understood this - why are you giving a pass to John while at the same time blaming Christine?
Because misogyny.
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  #120  
Old 05-05-2020, 03:18 PM
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The live versions of this song REALLY showed what the studio version could have been. The three part harmonies were amazing.
Absolutely!!!
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