{ Fleetwood Mac }
by Stephen Yeager

I first became aware of Stevie Nicks when my high school journalism teacher had one of those grown-up celebrity crushes on her, in which the celebrity becomes the articulation of some youthful urge the adult never really satisfied before he or she became an adult. (But then again, maybe my journalism teacher just thought she was hot; she looks like Carrie Fisher's annoying sister to me, but she was pretty foxy on the cover of that Buckingham and Nicks album, in a vaseline-lens kind of way.) Once, in our school paper, there was an article about a teacher who had been hit three times by lightning bolts. The teaser for the article on the cover, written by my journalism teacher, said, "Stevie Nicks says lightning only strikes twice, but she was proven wrong," or some snappier, more journalistic version of that. At the time I read this and thought, who the hell is Stevie Nicks?

Donít Stop Itís Already Here
fleetwood macThe thing about Fleetwood Mac is this: the band is either completely out of my mind or I see and hear it everywhere. Thereís no in-between. If I hear one Fleetwood Mac song, get one stuck my head, or make a joke that some woman's clothing "looks like something Stevie Nicks would wear," I am besieged for weeks on end by the radio, television, everything.
   For that reason I remember all of my Fleetwood Mac moments. Once on my way out of a party, a friend said for no reason, "don't stop thinking about tomorrow"—a bit of sarcastic parting wisdom that actually left me unable to stop thinking about tomorrow, or, at least, that song. Another friend of mine referred to his copy of Rumours as a legacy of smoking too much weed in high school. Once in a bar in Houston with these girls I'd never met before, Fleetwood Mac kept coming on the jukebox and they kept singing along, pausing only to express outrage when I asked who we were listening to. This afternoon I'll probably go home and turn on the television and see Lindsey Buckingham on VH1. I'll turn it off and go to a bar and someone will have put ten dollars in the jukebox, all to play that "You can go your own way" song (possibly the worst song ever) ad infinitum. I will come home, hide in the basement to get away, and find Mick Fleetwood pissing in my dryer.My hope is that after completing this review I will never think about Fleetwood Mac again; after you finish reading it, I recommend you do the same.

Players Only Love You When Theyíre Playing
The other thing about Fleetwood Mac is this: I can't decide whether I like its music or not. Situationally I do; I won't change the station if the band is on the radio, for example. I own one of the pre-Stevie/Lindsey/Christine albums (Then Play On), and it's pretty good, albeit a little Pink Floyd. Still, I wouldn't buy Rumours for more than a dollar, even though Iím fascinated by how the band imploded while recording that album. Itís like some cautionary parable of the seventies, a great novel waiting to be written. Here we have a band of half-aging rockers trying to stay young, and half-aspiring rockers wishing they were born earlieróand then all their marriages fall apart at once.
   It doesn't take "Behind The Music" to see that the whole gypsy thing is really about nostalgia, a collective aching for a time when the drugs weren't as hard, the aphorisms weren't as vague, and all that self-indulgence seemed to mean something. The making of Rumours reminds us that recording is really about posterity, even in its process. Although that album was the beginning for Fleetwood Mac, it's a beginning contingent on their knowledge (and dread) that lightning had already struck and was unlikely to strike again; yesterday was gone, tomorrow already here. The blandness of the melodies only makes their longing more tragic.
   In Tom Stoppard's Travesties there's a line, something like: "Your desire to express yourself far exceeds your talent. This does not make you a bad person. Neither does it make you an artist." For the members of Fleetwood Mac, that desire was the best excuse for their rockstar bullshit, the music an attempt to articulate their very real pain with a lame and ultimately banal pop vocabulary. To say that Rumours is mediocre does more than reflect on the artists; it condemns them, rubs their faces in their limitations, not only as musicians but as human beings.
   But does that mean we should accept Fleetwood Mac? Or does doing so implicate us in the bandís self-destruction, leaving two girls in Houston to sing along with gusto, unaware that the valley of the shadow of death might be only the groove in an aging vinyl disc? Perhaps when the rain washes us clean, we'll know.

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