[The Nicks Fix]

Reviews of Say You Will


Fleetwood Mac, Say You Will (Reprise): Remarkably, save for the departed Christine McVie, the trademark elements that once made this band Big Mac are fully present nearly three decades later on their triumphant reunion album: Lindsey Buckingham's feverish acoustic picking and ferocious electric riffing; his anxious yelps abutting Stevie Nicks' brooding alto; Mick Fleetwood's big, snapping snare, teasing the backbeat from behind; John McVie's spare, emphatic bass lines; and those rolling midtempo songs, with their tantalizing setups, thrilling payoffs and shredding raveups. Buckingham's Bleed to Love Her and What's the World Coming To rank with his best songs, while Nicks has never done better work than Everybody Finds Out and Running Through the Garden. While the album would've benefited from the removal of a few of its 18 tracks, Say You Will is the storied group's strongest collection of songs since Rumours, and its most sonically audacious work since Tusk. -BS



Fleetwood Mac, Say You Will (Reprise): The first sound you hear is that big, snapping snare, teasing the backbeat from behind. That sound could only come from Mick Fleetwood, and his trademark sense of time never wavers over 18 tracks covering 76 minutes, relentless and supportive as ever. ProTools can't create these grooves-they're irresistibly human-and the storied band's new record is righteously old school. Remarkably, save for the departed Christine McVie, the trademark elements that once made this band Big Mac are fully present nearly three decades later on their triumphant reunion album: Lindsey Buckingham's feverish acoustic picking and ferocious electric riffing; his anxious yelp abutting Stevie Nicks' brooding alto; John McVie's spare, emphatic bass lines; and those rolling midtempo songs, with their in-the-pocket grooves, thrilling hooks and shredding raveups. Buckingham's "Bleed to Love Her" and "What's the World Coming To" rank with his best songs, while Nicks has never done better work or sung more powerfully than she does on "Everybody Finds Out" and "Running Through the Garden." And there's more where that came from, much of it galvanizing. The album clearly would've benefited from the removal of a few tracks, Nicks' lyrics are occasionally heavy-handed ("She was a silver girl/Trapped in a high-tech world") and capable backing vocalist Sheryl Crow can't make up for the absence of the honey-voiced Christine McVie. Furthermore, one friend who has heard the unreleased Buckingham solo album from which most of his nine songs have been derived prefers the original mixes. Maybe it's not perfect, but Say You Will nonetheless is the storied group's strongest collection of songs since Rumours and its most sonically audacious recording since Tusk. With Buckingham in the driver's seat and Fleetwood as the engine, this storied band continues to go its own way, and that's cause for celebration. -Bud Scoppa

Capital City Free Press

Joseph O. Patton
Editor and Publisher

The wait has been worth it.
Admittedly, it didn't fall under their spell until 1997 when I first heard the song "Silver Springs." It was from the 1970s super group Fleetwood Mac, and the track was from their live album "The Dance," the product of a brief reunion tour. I was immediately drawn to such vintage songs as "Go Your Own Way," "Rhiannon" and "Don't Stop." My affair only grew when I had the opportunity to see the siren Stevie Nicks in concert in Birmingham, Alabama the following year. I had fallen in love with Fleetwood Mac. Little did I believe that what I had missed before would one day be reborn. After so many years of personal strife and general turbulence among the band members, no one thought the Mac would find breath, especially since it had been 16 years since they had recorded a studio album together.

Despite all odds, however, April 15 brought the mammoth ressurection, an 18-track release from the mythical Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Mic Fleetwood titled "Say You Will." Upon the first listen, I fell in love again.

Despite the absence of keyboardist/songwriter/vocalist Christine McVie on this go round, the Mac is back in characteristic style, with Nicks offering an unparalled blend of lyrical poetry and warm vocals, Buckingham's clean and potent vocals, rocketing vocals and production voodoo, and McVie and Fleetwood's colorful, solid and still unchallenged rhythm work. Many would be quick to categorize the Mac as "soft rock," but I find the description "damn good music" to be more accurate.

This collection boasts a wide array of emotions and styles, from the thoughtful and catchy "Peacekeeper?" to the yearning and melodic tones found within "Throw Down." "What's the World Coming To?" is mellow and earthy. Nicks' lyrical enchantment takes center stage in the contemplative tribute to Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism victims in "Illume (9-11)": "What I saw on this journey/Is what legends are made of/I cannot pretend/That the heartache falls away."

"Say You Will" spins along with the irresistible title track, the frolicking "Miranda" and a suitcase of other jewels.
"Say You Will" is diverse, well-rounded and once again proves the artistic and performance prowess of this host of musical pioneers. The longstanding and perplexing dynamic, both musically and personally, between Nicks and Bumckingham, is an act unto itself. The quartet as a whole simply cannot be replicated or knocked from its throne.

I'm definitely in love again.

London Times – 25 April 2003




There are comebacks galore in the world of rock ’n’ roll this week. The big new is that FLEETWOOD MAC have reformed for their first album since 1987’s Tango in the Night, a smash hit which nevertheless failed to stop the band imploding under the weight of their respective addictions.

Christine McVie has since retired, so this isn’t quite the line-up which conquered the Western world with 1977’s divorce-pop classic Rumours. Truth be told, her absence isn’t a major problem, as it focuses attention on the more distinctive talents of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. The former lovers pen eight tracks each on the lengthy but largely engrossing Say You Will (Reprise).

Nicks remains the queen of lovelorn melodic rock. Her voice may be huskier than before, but it still pours from the speakers like nectar on the mystical September 11 meditation Illume (9-11). She essays beautifully empathetic heartbreak sagas for the title track and Thrown Down, while the might-be-autobiographical Silver Girl (featuring Nicks’s new pal Sheryl Crow) is both dreamy and knowing: “Sometimes she was just an actress/But you’ll never really know.”

Buckingham’s material is grittier, often indulging the sonically outre’ side he displayed on the band’s double-album oddity Tusk. Hall-of-mirrors backing vocals and a high-noon guitar coda underscore the dramatic tension of Murrow Turning Over in His Grave, a terse state-of-the-world address. Red Rover is wonderfully bizarre: a jittery, pseudo-medieval fog of synthetic picking and muffled chants.

There are moments, such as the histrionic explosions which mar Come, when you wish Buckingham would stop showing off and let his ex get on with it. For the most part, though, this is adult-oriented fare at its finest.

Daily Mail, Friday - April 25, 2003

"Fleetwood Mac: Say You Will (Reprise)

ANY suspicions that Fleetwood Mac would merely go through the motions on their first new album in 16 years are dispelled by the 18 songs on this painstakingly assembled epic.

Given the bands tortured history, it is intriguing to hear former lovers Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks once more trading blows as singer-songwriters. Buckingham's tracks veer from rootsy, acoustic numbers to crunching hard rockers, while Nicks excels on spiritual ballads, such as Illume, a tribute to those affected by September 11. Say You Will is occasionally a little long-winded - but it is never bland

3 out of 5 stars "


by Jerry McCulley

Given their overarching history, Fleetwood Mac's 15-years-after studio reunion seems as unlikely as their initial, era-defining nova of success. Even cynics leery it's just another geezerfest payday should find this stripped-down edition of le Mac Classique (singer/songwriter/keyboardist Christine McVie opted out) bristling with a wealth of fresh, ambitious musical ideas. The responsibility for that creative renaissance rests squarely on the delicate shoulders of Lindsey Buckingham, more involved and motivated than he's been in any Mac project since the monumental Tusk. His crypto-folk structures and adventurous, Brian Wilson-inspired sonic textures are anything but predictable, illuminating "Miranda," "Red Rover," "Come," and even the mildly pedantic harangue "Murrow Turning Over in His Grave." With Christine McVie's poignant pop sense out of the mix, Stevie Nicks steps up with solid songcraft that rises beyond "Ilume"'s expected folk-mysticism to encompass other melancholy, age-defying feats like "Silver Girl," "Smile at You," "Goodbye Baby," and the title track. That duet with Buckingham argues that their vaunted creative axis may have lost its personal friction only to spin ever freer. And, like firm ground beneath the feet, it's too easy to take for granted the legendary Mick Fleetwood/John McVie rhythm section that gave the band its very name. Cut to its core dozen tracks, it's an album that easily stands comparison to their mega-platinum past.

San Francisco Chronicle - April 20

Essential Fleetwood Mac

Neva Chonin, Joel Selvin

Warner Bros. $18.98.

Lindsey Buckingham is Brian Wilson, and Fleetwood Mac is his Beach Boys. In his first new album with the group since "Tango in the Night" in 1986, producer Buckingham reconjures the essential Fleetwood Mac with unerring facility. Mix parts of "Rumours," "Tusk" and "Tango," add Buckingham's perfectionist instincts and ear for detail, age 15 years and you get "Say You Will," which, in some ways, may be the most Fleetwood Mac-ish Fleetwood Mac album yet. Instead of trying to redefine the group and its trademark pop-rock sound, Buckingham chose to celebrate it, flaunt it, revel in it, with an almost swaggering confidence in how he rearranges the familiar elements in gently surprising ways. From the shadowy, edgy atmospherics of "Murrow" to the stinging processed guitar solo that detonates "Come," Buckingham keeps things nicely off balance. Without the rounder tones of Christine McVie, the album veers more sharply between his intense theatrics and Stevie Nicks' goofy mysticism. Between those poles lies ample room for tension and anxiety, and Buckingham knows well how to plumb that ground. He is also unmatched in his ability to capture his longtime associate's vocal style. Over the years on her solo recordings, Nicks has been paired with gifted producers and collaborators (mostly recently, Sheryl Crow). But none have ever been able to give her the right variety of contexts or to coax out richly emotional performances the way Buckingham has. "Something in you brought out something in me that I've never been since," Nicks sings on the title track. It's a sentiment a lot of people will share. -- Joel Selvin

Blog Critics - April 17, 2003

Fleetwood Mac: Say You Will
Posted by Mark Saleski on April 17, 2003 10:35 AM

Fleetwood Mac's Rumours is one of the truly iconic records of the seventies. Like Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin IV, Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon and The Eagles Hotel California, Rumours spent a lot of time spinning on turntables everywhere...including those of FM radio. I don't think I ever owned a copy of it back in the day...and yet somehow I knew all of the songs. You could call this phenomenon "pop music osmosis".

Along with radio and 'scene' dominance , Fleetwood Mac, like their 70's colleagues (cripes, is it ok to use the word 'colleague' when describing a rock band? it feels kinda weird) was a textbook case of the collective whole being far greater than the sum of its parts. Something just clicked for them in that final 'classic' lineup.

So now I fast forward to the year 2003. Fleetwood Mac has just released Say You Will. It's many years down the road and the classic lineup has changed. Christine McVie has retired. What will this do to the sound? The chemistry? The balance? With no sunny McVie tunes in the mix will this record be too dark? Too weird?

As it turns out, Say You Will is neither too dark nor too weird. What it is is a great pop record. Things are certainly different though. With McVie gone the songwriting is now evenly split between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Also, Buckingham's guitar moves forward to take over as the main instrument of texture. This is a good thing. Lindsey's playing here is amazing. Pick a style and it's there: from silky folk fingerpicking to sometimes jazzy fills to blistering lead work to near metal riffing....all of this wrapped around Stevie Nicks' still gorgeous voice.

What's not different? The songwriting is still definitely quite strong. And Stevie and Lindsey are still referring to each other....or maybe they're not. See...the thing is, with Fleetwood Mac's soap-opera history, we'll always think that Stevie's talkin' about Lindsey. Also not changed is that signature vocal harmony. One of the funny things about the after effects of "pop music osmosis" is that you tend to hear 'phantom' voices. So even on the tunes where Christine McVie is not guesting on background vocals, you hear them anyway. Your brain just wants them there.

Oh, I forgot to mention John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. Maybe they'd prefer it that way...because as both members of the less-is-more club they accomplish what they always have in the past: laying down a solid base over which each tune rides.

Can Say You Will take a place next to the "great" Fleetwood Mac records (in my mind that would be Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, and Tusk)? I think so. In some ways it is every bit the transitional record that Tusk was...but without the baggage of the heavy expectations caused by being the followup to Rumours.

It'll be interesting to see if Fleetwood Mac has anything left in the tank after Say You Will. They've started yet another new phase of their career...and the first step is a solid one.

San Diego Union Tribune - April 17, 2003

Fleetwood Mac "Say You Will"

Fleetwood Mac's long-awaited album gets better with every play
By George Varga
CD review rating ***
On a scale of 1-4 stars


Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.

Or is it?

That's one of the crucial questions facing Fleetwood Mac on "Say You Will."

It's the legendary band's first new studio album in 16 years to feature singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, singer Stevie Nicks, bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. And it comes at a time when the group, which has been dormant for the past five years, has earned a new cachet of hipness, thanks to cover versions of its songs by such admirers as Courtney Love, Billy Corgan, Camper Van Beethoven and the Dixie Chicks.

Along with singer-keyboardist Christine McVie, Nicks, Buckingham, Fleetwood and John McVie first joined forces 28 years ago. Their initial album together, 1975's "Fleetwood Mac," topped the charts in 1976 and yielded three hit singles, Nicks' witchy "Rhiannon" and Christine McVie's engaging "Say You Love Me" and dizzying "Over My Head."

Their next release, 1977's "Rumours," became one of the best-selling pop albums ever. Featuring such vividly autobiographical songs as "Dreams," "Second Hand News" and "Go Your Own Way," it memorably chronicled the ultimate disintegration of Nicks' and Buckingham's on-again, off-again love affair and the equally bitter demise of John and Christine McVie's marriage.

The tour that followed may have set a record for high-priced debauchery and rock 'n' roll excess. Personal and creative tensions nearly tore the band apart by the time its next album, the two-record "Tusk," came out in 1979.

But the group soldiered on through 1987's "Tango in the Night." It was then that Buckingham infuriated his band mates by refusing to tour, before angrily quitting to pursue his solo career. He returned to the fold for 1997's greatest-hits live album, "The Dance," and hugely successful reunion tour, which came lurching to a halt when Christine McVie decided life on the road was no longer for her.

Enter "Say You Will," the new album some fans never expected to hear.

It began life as a proposed Buckingham solo endeavor that predated "The Dance," before gradually becoming an official Fleetwood Mac project recorded mostly over the past 18 months. Buckingham produced or co-produced every song, and his intricately layered arrangements are featured on most selections, along with the most fluid and forceful guitar work of his career. But the album suffers from the absence of Christine McVie. A gifted singer and songwriter, she brought a bluesy vocal edge and emotional hue to the band, which she joined in 1970, as well as structural balance and concision.

She is featured on Buckingham's stirring "Bleed to Love Her" and "Say You Will's" Nicks-penned title track, which was written as an homage to Christine McVie and evokes the band's classic mid-1970s sound.

Originally intended as a 23-song double album, "Say You Will" is still too long at 18 songs and 76 minutes, although it improves with repeated listenings. McVie's absence means that Nicks and Buckingham each contributed nine songs, the majority about doomed love and the not-so-little lies that can shatter affairs of the heart.

Two of Nicks' songs, "Smile at You" and "Goodbye Baby," were written in 1975 and '76, and might have ended up on "Rumours" had they been completed in time. The former is clearly aimed at Buckingham, with such pointed lines as: What you did not need / Was a woman who was stronger / You needed someone to depend on you / I could not be her / I did not want to / My first mistake was to smile at you.

Not to be outdone, Buckingham contributes the ferocious "Come," which contains such withering couplets as: Think of me, sweet darling / When everything's going bad / Think of me, sweet darling / Every time you're feeling sad.

Some of "Come's" other lyrics, which can't be repeated here, are vicious. Who are they about?

"It wasn't directed toward Stevie, and Stevie has some concern about that," Buckingham acknowledged last month in a Union-Tribune interview. "It was about someone that I was seeing for a while, before I met my wife (photographer Kristen Messner). But we don't need to go into that. It is pretty vicious. But it's humorous, too. I think of it as being kind of a funny song ... ."

Humor, barbed or otherwise, is in short supply on "Say You Will," which ranges from Nicks' chilling "Illume (9-11)" and wistful "Thrown Down" to Buckingham's enigmatic "Red Rover" and lovely "Steal Your Heart Away."

But the album bristles with vigor and a new sense of commitment that confirms Fleetwood Mac is not about to rest on its laurels. And one of the most touching songs, Buckingham's tender "Say Goodbye," suggests a musical olive branch being extended to Nicks, as well as an ode to a band that endures now precisely because it has moved forward, however gingerly, from its tumultuous past:

Saw your face yesterday / Thinking on the days of old / And the price we paid / For a love we couldn't hold / Oh, I let you slip away / There was nothing I could do / That was so long ago / Still I often think of you.

Gannett News Service

Fleetwood Mac's 'Say You Will' is darker, meatier

Edna Gundersen

Like some kind of melodic flu, Fleetwood Mac periodically erupts after undergoing mutations and spreads a new, yet familiar, bout of infectious pop-rock. The current strain consists of founding members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie and singersongwriters [sic] Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.

This first original album with Nicks and Buckingham since 1987's "Tango in the Night" comes off as two interlocking solo albums more in sync with 1974's "Buckingham Nicks" than Mac's chart-busting "Rumours." It's also the first without Christine McVie, whose harmonies, sunny sentimentality and spry keyboards gave Mac a certain pop lilt. That's occasionally missed, but her absence leaves a broader stage for Buckingham's agile guitar and Nicks' bewitching romanticism, resulting in a darker, meatier fare.

Buckingham brings tension and daring to his tunes; his breezy production cradles Nicks' fragile rasp, an impossible amalgam of strength and vulnerability in such bittersweet tales as 911 reflection "Illume," "Thrown Down" and "Silver Girl," a touching ode to Sheryl Crow. Say what you will about the band's bumpy past, "Say You Will" is a welcome relapse of the Mac attack.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer - April 15, 2003

Hot CD: Fleetwood Mac's "Say You Will"

By Gene Stout
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Pop Music Critic

Considering Fleetwood Mac's formidable reputation for high-quality releases, anticipation has been high for the veteran rock group's first studio effort with Lindsey Buckingham since "Tango in the Night" in 1987.

The new album lives up to expectations with 18 stirring, powerful songs enhanced by Buckingham's deft production. It also features Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, but not Christine McVie, who had been with the band since 1970.

Many Fleetwood Mac albums have a soundtrack-of-our-lives quality, and "Say You Will" follows in that tradition with the haunting "Illume (9-11)," featuring Nick's melancholy vocals, and "What's the World Coming To?" Buckingham and Nicks team up on the final tracks, "Say Goodbye" and "Goodbye Baby," which are interesting in light of their past romantic involvement and musical partnerships.

Nicks' friend Sheryl Crow provides guest harmony vocals and keyboards on the title song.

The Dallas Morning News - April 13, 2003

Review: Fleetwood Mac
By Teresa Gubbins

Fleetwood Mac
Grade: B-
Say You Will (Reprise) In stores Tuesday

It's another chapter in what has become a never-ending saga: the career of Fleetwood Mac. Say You Will is a pretty good new studio album that includes the participation of four of the five "golden" members – that is, those responsible for the group's most successful release, 1977's Rumours: Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, of course, but also Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. (Christine McVie quit for good in 1997.)

With 18 songs, this is a long record – probably too long. But that makes a statement: It says, we don't care about the usual parameters on length. There's a disregard for convention in the flow of the material, as well. There's no stack of singles up front. Instead, the first half of the disc is pocked with abrupt endings and patches of blistering guitar – almost experimental, a la Tusk. The second half is more tune-oriented – more Rumours, if you will. The entire disc, produced mostly by Mr. Buckingham, has a polished sound reminiscent of Tango in the Night.

It's as if the band is just doing whatever it wants, as if it has nothing to prove, no agenda other than to make a record, to make "art." Say You Will feels unfettered, loose; it evokes the early days of FM radio, when stations would just play whatever.

A major part of that feeling comes from Mr. Buckingham's fiery guitar. It first surfaces on the second track, "Murrow Turning Over in His Grave." He takes the song over and basically goes nuts for more than a minute, shutting the song down. It's totally cool.

Mr. Buckingham and Ms. Nicks share writing duties; he wrote 10 songs, she wrote eight. For the most part, he sings his and she sings hers. Her voice is less flowing and "spiritual" than on her solo work; it's more of a rock vehicle. She has a resinous glow on "Illume (9-11)," a song with a kicked-back beat that verges on funky.

"Thrown Down" is classic Fleetwood Mac, with its lonely guitar and Ms. Nicks' throbbing voice. It's a little like "Dreams" (from Rumours) with a taste of "Stand Back" (from Ms. Nicks' 1983 solo disc, The Wild Heart).

"Bleed to Love Her" originally appeared on The Dance, one of the few new songs on that '97 reunion disc. Its lush harmonies give it a built-in nostalgia.

A lot of Say You Will summons the '70s, but it's the good parts of the '70s: the peaceful-easy feeling, the optimism, the innocence. And rather than seeming retro, it feels welcome.

USA Today - April 15, 2003

Fleetwood back; 'Wind' is a wild one

Fleetwood Mac, Say You Will () Like some kind of melodic flu, Fleetwood Mac periodically erupts after undergoing mutations and spreads a new, yet familiar, bout of infectious pop-rock. The current strain consists of founding members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie and singer/songwriters Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. This first original album with Nicks and Buckingham since 1987's Tango in the Night comes off as two interlocking solo albums more in sync with 1974's Buckingham Nicks than Mac's chart-busting Rumours. It's also the first without Christine McVie, whose harmonies, sunny sentimentality and spry keyboards gave Mac a certain pop lilt. That's occasionally missed, but her absence leaves a broader stage for Buckingham's agile guitar and Nicks' bewitching romanticism, resulting in darker, meatier fare. Buckingham brings tension and daring to his tunes; his breezy production cradles Nicks' fragile rasp, an impossible amalgam of strength and vulnerability in such bittersweet tales as 9/11 reflection Illume, Thrown Down and Silver Girl, a touching ode to Sheryl Crow. Say what you will about the band's bumpy past, Say You Will is a welcome relapse of the Mac attack.

— Edna Gundersen

New York Post - April 15, 2003


"Say You Will"
Reprise Records

When Fleetwood Mac released the legendary "Rumours" album in 1977, even they didn't know that they had perfected the soft-rock formula for what would become the best album of that genre ever recorded.

More than 25 years later, the band catches some of the smoke of that fiery album on "Say You Will," in stores today.

Besides being a basically good disc that recalls the easy, lush rock orchestration of "Rumours," this collection marks the reunion of Fleetwood Mac's best-know line-up - with the exception of Christine McVie, who elected to pass.

Fronting the 2003 edition of the Mac are its Brit namesakes Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, as well as the California connection of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.

Fleetwood Mac likes to write around a theme. For "Rumours," it was the soap opera of unraveling relationships in the band itself.

For "Say You Will," the Mac hints at a political theme in the opening track, "What's the World Coming To," followed by a flurry of tunes about how we treat each other and Mother Earth.

The 18 tracks are rounded out with love songs that Nicks brings to life with her bedroom-rasp vocals.

On the songs written by Buckingham, there's always a lengthy guitar solo and uneasy lyrics - as if the guy suspects he's alone in a world that's out to get him.

Nicks' songs are more appealing in nearly every case. The title track and "Silver Girl" recall "Landslide" and "Rhiannon" respectively.

For die-hard Mac fans, this disc's rambling tendencies may not be a problem.

But had "Peace Keeper," "Run Through the Garden" and "Red Rover" been Nixed, "Say You Will" would have been a better album.

The best part about the disc is that it puts the band back on the road for a concert tour.

For a free listen to a few Fleetwood Mac tunes - old and new - the band opens the "Today" show summer concert series at 8:30 a.m. at Rockefeller Center on Friday.

Billboard Magazine

Album Title: Say You Will
Producer(s): Lindsey Buckingham, Rob Cavallo, John Shanks
Genre: ROCK
Label/Catalog Number: Reprise/Warner Bros. 48394
Release Date: April 15
Source: Billboard Magazine

On Say You Will, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks work together on their first Fleetwood Mac studio album since Tango in the Night (1987). Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie are, of course, both on board as well. However, longtime Mac member/songwriter Christine McVie is regrettably absent from the lengthy (but only occasionally plodding) 18-song set. Though McVie does provide background vocals on one track, her optimistic, poppy songs are missed. Luckily, Nicks penned the set's sunny title track, which is catchy and destined to be a radio hit. Buckingham's meaty, bass-heavy stomper "Murrow Turning Over in His Grave" is another highlight, while the driving rocker "Running Through the Garden" showcase's Nicks' passionate vocals. The bulk of Buckingham's contributions to this set were originally intended for an aborted solo album. Now, these songs have finally found a home.—KC

Uncut Magazine - May 2003

Return of the Mac
Tasty box of All-Sorts from mainstream monsters of yesteryear

Fleetwood Mac
Say You Will
* * * *

More than most bands, FLEETWOOD MAC evince complex, unresolved feelings. On the one hand they're the ultimate mainstream soft rock dinosaur, past masters of glossy emotions and overcooked arrangements. On the other hand......

On the other hand what, exactly? It's not like Fleetwood Mac are Abba - So Uncool They're Cool. But nor have Fleetwood Mac ever been So Cool They're Uncool...if you know what I mean. So what are they, and why does a goodly percentage of their music stand up after decades? I guess because a) witchy woman Stevie Nicks has the voice of a petulant siren: b) studio geek Lindsey Buckingham still wants to be Brian Wilson: and c) Fleetwood Mac were and are truly a band for boys and girls. Good things all.

So here they come again, in a post-post-punk, hip hop-dominated universe, keen to make meaningful music. And there's a historical parallel here: just as 1979's 'brave, of-the-wall' double album Tusk followed 1977's stratosphere-busting Rumours, so the almost-double cd Say You Will follows the play-safe 'live greatest hits' thing that was 1997's The Dance.

The funny thing is that Tusk, when you revisit it, doesn't sound off the wall at all. Which makes Say You Will all the more out-there as mainstream rock product. Next to Tusk, indeed, this 18-track opus is a box of All-Sorts replete with countless different colours and moods.

As one would expect, there's a slew of those Stevie Nicks songs that are essentially narcissistic hymns to, well, Stevie Nicks. One of them is called "Silver Girl", no less. Another "Illume", is a bongo-driven meditation on life post 9/11 and boasts the priceless line, "I am a cliff dweller from the old school". Gotta love the woman: on the closing "Goodbye Baby" she sounds like Kate Bush spliced with Victoria Williams

Then there are Lindsey's songs, some of which date back to the solo 'project' that should have come out after his 1992 opus Out Of The Cradle. What makes Say You Will really great are Lindsey tracks like "Red Rover", "Come" and "Say Goodbye". The heady melodicism and hyper-syncopation of "Rover" are intoxicating. The shimmering "Say Goodbye" - all dappled guitars and whispered vocals - suggests Lindsey has been listening to modern-day troubadours like Elliot Smith.

The album peaks somewhere in the middle, with "Rover" followed by the effortlessly shiny Steviepop of the title track and then by first single "Peacekeeper", a true Buck/Nicks joint effort. Both pack killer choruses, as insidiously sweet-sad as vintage Mac classics from "Silver Springs" to "Gypsy". Nicks "Running Through The Garden" is early-80's hippie power pop, with a layered keyboard hook and chugging noo wave guitar.

For the obvious reasons the only flavour missing on Say You Will is the departed Christine's perfect Tango in The Night bop-pop, making the album more Buckingham- Nicks Redux than anything else. (You can hear Chrissie, though, on the moody, thumping "Murrow".) That's OK, because there's so much here to get one's teeth into.

Tusk this isn't, but Tusk it doesn't need to be. In an age of off-the-shelf Linda Perry pop, the Mac keep the mainstream interesting. Say you'll give it a spin.

Rolling Stone

For those keeping score at home, the latest lineup of this endlessly regenerative California-rock legend goes Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and John, but not Christine McVie. It's the first Mac album in sixteen years for which Buckingham has written songs; tracks such as "Peacekeeper" and "Steal Your Heart Away" prove that Mac's singular vibe -- a sunny, countrified lope against which urgent breakup lyrics blaze -- has always been his doing. Say You Will also proves that this is the only band that knows how to play his songs. The album is a randomly sequenced display of Fleetwood Mac's best instincts: Buckingham's bittersweet tunes about playing for keeps; Nicks' tough, swirly songs about fragile and wicked women; and the experiments the group can't stop indulging in (near-classical and metal-inclined guitar, teen pop, an incoherent number about the media). And when this accumulation of chops rallies for a single, the result is the perfectly mellow breeze of the title song. Not that this is a band that needs to be relevant -- in California, no one has to grow old.

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