Requested by Steve.
Fleetwood Mac is pretty damned great. I probably wasted a fair amount of my music-listening lifetime thinking that there were good reasons to dislike Fleetwood Mac, but there really aren't. Are they a band that makes good music? Why, yes, they are. Is anything else relevant? Not really.
Most of my friends know my oddball musical history and most other people probably aren't interested, so I'll try to nutshell it. You can work out when I was born pretty easily what with the title of the blog and all. For most of my childhood I just plain didn't hear "top 40" radio; my family listened to country radio and folk revival records. We were too far out in the sticks for me to have any neighbor kids to hang out with, and I tended to listen to science fiction film scores and the occasional Dr. Demento-sanctioned novelty record. Somehow I developed a pretentious attitude that all pop and rock music must be stupid because it was popular. That persisted until maybe around 1986 when cable brought MTV into our home, but even then I was skeptical as hell, and in 1986 there was reason to be.
After only a brief time, though, during which little stuck with me besides Peter Gabriel and John Cougar Mellencamp, I latched firmly onto Talking Heads and R.E.M., for reasons that might come another day. But the thing that happened very quickly was that I read every interview with David Byrne and Peter Buck I could find, and rather than paying any attention to much beyond the college charts, I picked up every record I could find by every artist they name-dropped. And so there was maybe a year tops between my knowing nothing about any form of rock music and having a library full of Velvet Underground, Wire, Television and Soft Boys records. I skipped "classic rock" almost entirely save for the best of the '60's bands, with a heavy emphasis on Byrds and Beatles (the Kinks and Dylan obsessions were still a few years off).
So I don't have any nostalgia for, and not that much knowledge of, the really popular music of my putative youth. Let me be clear that I do not believe this makes me "cool". It's just the way it worked out. In fact, these days, it seems like the posture of "ironic" nostalgia for arena rock and so forth has outgrown its "irony" and I've come full circle back to being a dork for not knowing my Journey from my Boston from my REO Speedwagon. Unfortunately, I still really do hate most of that music; in that sense, being free from nostalgia lets me say without much bias that it seems utterly without merit, and "Don't Stop Believin'" is in a dead heat for my personal title of Worst Song Ever with "Youth of the Nation" by P.O.D.
But the other benefit of being nostalgia-free is that when the time comes for me to hear certain songs and artists who might, by many, be classed with that kind of stuff just because it was also popular, I can hear it clearly enough to dig it without prejudice. And so I am a latecomer to, let's say, Cheap Trick, but it's an effortless duck to water thing. Fleetwood Mac, which punk rock people like me were once supposed to despise because of... of... I don't know, I think it had something to do with cocaine and money or something, but anyway, I had sort of been warming to them casually when someone put it to me that I really ought to give Tusk a serious try. It was a quick sell. I listened to it steadily for a month, alternating with my other then-current obsession, Pere Ubu's Dub Housing. To this day I feel that there is a deep connection between those two (actually fairly contemporaneous) records which has yet to be revealed. Aside from the obvious one, which is their awesomeness.
It was really really hot today and I sweated too much while doing this to make it a big production, but I like the way it turned out.