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Macfan4life 03-31-2021 07:31 AM

Behind The Mask turns 31
 
This is a few weeks over due but cant believe its been 31 years. The album was much anticipated and had extremely mixed reviews:

The album received very mixed reviews. AllMusic retrospectively gave the album 1.5/5 stars, their lowest rating of any Fleetwood Mac album, calling Buckingham's departure "a severe blow" for the band and saying that "the songs are among the least inspired the band ever recorded." Other critics, however, praised the new line-up. The Los Angeles Times gave the album 3.5/5 stars, commenting that "without Buckingham's obsessively unique vision, the group has embraced an all-for-one, one-for-all attitude for what sounds like the most truly group effort since Rumours, or perhaps even since 1972's Bare Trees." Rolling Stone rated it as 4/5 stars, claiming that "the addition of Rick Vito and Billy Burnette is the best thing to ever happen to Fleetwood Mac" and that "not since Rumours has Fleetwood Mac recorded pain so unwaveringly and sounded this together.

IMHO, half the album is very good while the other half is forgettable. What I do love about the album is the cohesive sound of the album. You can hear everyone playing (again). I love hearing Chris play her keyboards again. We missed so many of these elements on Tango. The album suffered by some pretty dull songs IMHO. Stevie was in a fog so yet again her contributions are not great. As usual, Chris came prepared to play because her songs shine like they always do. I love hearing that bluesy rhythm section humming again on several songs. Its very Fleetwood Mac sounding which is something Tango never was. I dont think you can judge an album by commercial success either. Many flame it for not producing hit singles. Part of me admires them not chasing Top 40 radio and sticking to their sound. Having said that, the album went to #1 in the UK and Save Me landed in the top 10 in Canada. I loved the video for both singles.
Of course I much prefer Lindsey in the band but these concerts were some of my favorite Mac concerts ever. I much prefer them over The Dance. This was the last of the "arena rock" sound live. In the late 90s too many bands esp the Mac preferred to tone it down and play like the studio in concert. Mick and Billy partying too much. Stevie in a fog. It was up to Christine to keep the band focused.

On Ice 03-31-2021 07:54 AM

Now I feel old a whole generation has turned over since BTM. :(. I really enjoyed the album at the time and felt it was the most cohesive effort since at least Mirage. In retrospect though, it's really a glass half full, some amazing tunes and others not that memorable. Christine shines like a diamond though. I enjoy Save Me more than her awesome Tango songs, it's great all around, and the title track, she really went for it. For Stevie, it was parts of songs, my favourite moment is the last minute or so of Freedom where she lets her voice soar and melds perfectly with Rick Vito's stellar guitar. Love is Dangerous was a lessor precursor to the great Desiree from Vito's solo album. I find Billy a bit bland but he turned in the Floyd like In the Back of My Mind which the band took some risks on the road and opened their show with. I think another album or two this line up could've had a great run into the early 2000's, a return to Olsen Dashut production would've taken the tinny sounding edge off and Stevie had some great songs at the time (no pun intended). Not a bad moment in the band's history all in all, the concerts during the period were truly great.

UnwindedDreams 03-31-2021 07:55 AM

Awesome post. I'm not enthusiastic about BTM. I like Freedom. Chris' songs are very good as usual.
The majority of Stevie's songs are co-writes, right? I guess that means Rick came up with the music like Mike always does in his collabs w. Stevie. Affairs of the Heart sounds like it could've been on Rock a Little so I'm guessing that's all her.

Did Stevie sing any of her BTM songs live?

On Ice 03-31-2021 08:18 AM

Hi Unwinded, except for Affairs Stevie's other 3 were co-writes. They did do Love is Dangerous at the show I saw in Toronto but none of the others made it to the set list.

UnwindedDreams 03-31-2021 08:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by On Ice (Post 1265900)
Hi Unwinded, except for Affairs Stevie's other 3 were co-writes. They did do Love is Dangerous at the show I saw in Toronto but none of the others made it to the set list.

That's cool! I guess the show was at Maple Leaf.
Love is Dangerous is a duet with Rick, right?
I liked the guitar for that, it's messy but also rhythmic and the song is a slower burner.
I guess it's a Stevie take on blues?

Macfan4life 03-31-2021 08:58 AM

The first few songs really blew my mind. We get album opener with Chris playing keyboards and her usually peppy love song. But the harmonies of all 4 were spectacular. Then OMG the guitar opening on Love is Dangerous. Its a very raw and bluesy song. Then In The Back of My Mind. I just love that opening and using 3 vocalists the way they did was outrageously good. Stevie echoing back and then Chris singing the bridge. After this song you knew it was a new Fleetwood Mac. If they could have put the title track on side one, Side 1 would be the bomb. After the first 4 songs, the album fades with Stevie's klonopin vocals on Affairs of the Heart. If you could put Freedom instead of Affairs and BTM instead of Do you know on side 1, it would really have been something. Side 2 has a few gems like When It Comes to Love and BTM but that's it really. Second time around is filler IMHO.

UnwindedDreams 03-31-2021 09:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Macfan4life (Post 1265903)
After the first 4 songs, the album fades with Stevie's klonopin vocals on Affairs of the Heart. Second time around is filler IMHO.

Isn't the title "The Second Time"? Second Time Around is a perfect song by Shalamar:laugh:

If you had to put Affairs on a Stevie record, where would it fit? I said RAL because I think guitars and keys sound more 85 than 89.

Macfan4life 03-31-2021 10:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnwindedDreams (Post 1265904)
Isn't the title "The Second Time"? Second Time Around is a perfect song by Shalamar:laugh:

If you had to put Affairs on a Stevie record, where would it fit? I said RAL because I think guitars and keys sound more 85 than 89.

Yes but their version was better than Stevie's :eek:


Affairs of the heart has a snoozer vocal (someone pinch her to wake her up). The music is blah but I hate songs where the background vocals finish lines of the singer and vice versa. Its a great line about loved and lost and better not to lose but good grief you dont have to repeat it a thousand times.
I've always wondered if this hallway of pink and grey doors is near the stairs she is staring at? :eek:

UnwindedDreams 03-31-2021 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Macfan4life (Post 1265907)
Its a great line about loved and lost and better not to lose but good grief you dont have to repeat it a thousand times.

But you do love "I sang these words: Whatever it takes, Whatever it takes.. to be free" right?:laugh:

Macfan4life 03-31-2021 12:58 PM

Found this little snippet from Chis 1990:

Fans may have been disappointed by Buckingham's absence, but Fleetwood Mac ultimately saw it as restoring a spark that had been increasingly absent during the past few years of his tenure. "We had been sitting around for years not doing too much, and Fleetwood Mac had started to drift apart," mused Fleetwood after Behind the Mask's arrival. "But his departure brought about a real commitment by the rest of us to what we're doing."

Long-time singer and keyboardist Christine McVie agreed. "I like the fact that we really did pull it off," she told Rolling Stone. "The record was well arranged and well thought out, despite the fact that Lindsey wasn't there."

Fleetwood confirmed that McVie filled whatever leadership void remained. "Christine really took the bull by the horns this time," he said during a conversation with the Boston Globe. "And with Lindsey gone, the older members of the band enjoyed getting back to how we used to make albums. It was very much a team effort. ... No offense to Lindsey, but he was becoming obsessive in the studio and we were beginning to take a backseat."

FuzzyPlum 03-31-2021 01:10 PM

"the addition of Rick Vito and Billy Burnette is the best thing to ever happen to Fleetwood Mac"

I bet that reviewer wishes he could turn the clock back.
'what was I thinking???':shrug:

HomerMcvie 03-31-2021 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FuzzyPlum (Post 1265916)
"the addition of Rick Vito and Billy Burnette is the best thing to ever happen to Fleetwood Mac"

I bet that reviewer wishes he could turn the clock back.
'what was I thinking???':shrug:

Christine McVie is the best thing to ever happen to FM.

bwboy 03-31-2021 02:14 PM

I agree with a lot of what was already said here- BTM sounds more like a group album than anything they had done since Rumours, absolutely. Fleetwood Mac had 3 incredible voices, so why not let them all be heard on as many songs as possible? So hearing Stevie, Billy, and Rick on Skies the Limit is just awesome and a real joy. Hearing Christine and Stevie on In the Back of My Mind sends chills up my spine and is so much more effective. BTM is an album I can listen to from start to finish. I canít do that on Tusk, Mirage, or Tango. I also agree Stevie comes off the worst, but at least her songs arenít awful... just not as good as everyone elseís, thatís all. I guess Iím in the minority with my love for Do You Know, Hard Feelings, and When It Comes to Love- theyíre so good with beautiful harmonies. Save Me and Skies the Limit are outstanding, so I donít understand how they werenít bigger hits, except that radio was changing at that time. Also always surprised Skies wasnít performed live.

Macfan4life 03-31-2021 02:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bwboy (Post 1265921)
I agree with a lot of what was already said here- BTM sounds more like a group album than anything they had done since Rumours, absolutely. Fleetwood Mac had 3 incredible voices, so why not let them all be heard on as many songs as possible? So hearing Stevie, Billy, and Rick on Skies the Limit is just awesome and a real joy. Hearing Christine and Stevie on In the Back of My Mind sends chills up my spine and is so much more effective. BTM is an album I can listen to from start to finish. I can’t do that on Tusk, Mirage, or Tango. I also agree Stevie comes off the worst, but at least her songs aren’t awful... just not as good as everyone else’s, that’s all. I guess I’m in the minority with my love for Do You Know, Hard Feelings, and When It Comes to Love- they’re so good with beautiful harmonies. Save Me and Skies the Limit are outstanding, so I don’t understand how they weren’t bigger hits, except that radio was changing at that time. Also always surprised Skies wasn’t performed live.

When I was in college and had no life, I lived in a small college town in PA. The radio sucked and they had this adult contemporary station that aired a Dick Clark top 40 adult contemporary songs. The only time I heard Skies the Limit on the radio was on this countdown show. I would listen every week because like most top 40 countdown shows, they provide little facts or trivia about the songs or band. Believe it or not but Skies the Limit made it into the top 10 of this countdown show. So I have remembered the little known facts about this era. For example, the band obviously was disappointed in the album sales and lack of commercial success. Skies the Limit was not originally on the album. I believe BTM was originally the opening track. But after the album was finished, the band thought the album was way too dark. It needed that Christine peppy love song. So Christine wrote Skies the Limit very quickly and it was recorded last and it was slapped as the first track of the album trying to soften the dark mood. I am not sure it worked in the end but I love Skies the Limit besides the harmonies. I love hearing Christine play keyboards and the crack of the drums are so freaking cool. Music video shot at Red Rocks. I was surprised Save Me tanked without even making the top 20. But then again we all thought As Long As You Follow would be a #1 song and it did not even make top 40. Fleetwood Mac was a washed up band in 1990. Even their Farewell Tour in late 1990 had tons of empty seats. When I saw them at the Pittsburgh Civic arena in November 1990, the entire balcony of the arena was empty. They even dropped Save Me from the set and replaced it with Say You Love me when I saw them. Stevie and Chris wore the shortest skirts of their career on this tour. I sat behind Chris and could not believe how beautiful her legs were. Skin was in. The last days of the 80's vixens.

BTW, did I mention how good Christine's keyboard playing is on this album. OMG, I wish there was a stripped down version of Save Me with ONLY her keyboards. She is on fire. She also does an amazing keyboard on Do You Know. When I would drive listening to When It Comes To Love and Do You Know in my car, I would try to harmonize with Chris and Billy. Of course I ruined the song every time but I did not care.

Also, as much as Stevie tried to hint Madonna stole her look, Stevie stole Madonna's look by sporting a crucifix in Save Me. Honey, you were about 4 years too late.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or1VPIanDlw

bwboy 03-31-2021 05:01 PM

Thanks for the link to the video, Macfan4life- itís been years since Iíve seen the video to Save Me, and it was a great blast from the past. Iíd forgotten how much Christine had improved when it came to performing for the camera... she was really doing a great job in the close ups of selling the song. And she was beautiful, too. Iíd say she was even prettier than Stevie. Watching Rick play guitar was incredible, man he was so good! After Save Me, Skies the Limit came on and that was also an underrated song and video. Again, Christine looked stunning, and this time Stevie looked much better, and so good in white! Loved the scene with all 4 singers singing in profile- yes! Thatís what made FM so damn good, those voices in harmony.

Thanks again, Macfan!


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