Album Review: Why ‘Tusk’ is Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Creation

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

One of the most well-known and influential music groups of the 1970s was Fleetwood Mac. Blues, folk, and rock were all present in Fleetwood Mac’s distinctive sound, which also included aspects of soul, funk, and gospel.

Additionally, Fleetwood Mac had a significant impact on the growth of rock music. Their music served as a forerunner to the enormous success of the “soft rock” subgenre in the 1980s, and many later bands including Sting, Fleet Foxes, and Bon Jovi have acknowledged their impact.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac on New Year’s Eve 1974, beginning a year of change. With the release of the self-titled record in 1975, which featured the singles “Rhiannon” and “Landslide,” Nicks’s lyrical skills were introduced to the world.

Fleetwood Mac marked a turning point in the band’s development, but the explosive and immensely well-liked Rumours (1977) record ultimately served as the band’s entry point to commercial success. Even though it has received a lot of attention and money, Fleetwood Mac’s subsequent album, Tusk, is a powerful contender for the title of the greatest album of all time in their discography (1979).

Tusk, is considered to be the band’s departure from their more traditional sound and into the realm of more experimental and eclectic music. The album contains a wide array of musical styles, including reggae, new wave, punk, and world music.

Some fans who presumably anticipated Rumours mark two have also criticized Tusk for being indulgent (primarily on Buckingham’s part) and a little pretentious. I partially concur with this statement, but I disagree that indulgence is necessary for artistic development and that a little pretense never hurt anyone.

In 1978, when Fleetwood Mac and Rumours were at the height of their popularity, Buckingham expressed his wish to move away from that style in favor of something more avant-garde and diverse. Hesitantly, his friends concurred. Tusk clearly felt Buckingham’s interest in the burgeoning post-punk scene. He was “desperate to make Mac pertinent to a post-punk world” after becoming fascinated with bands like Talking Heads.

Nicks’ melancholy balladry in “Storms” and “Beautiful Child,” the tumbling tribal juggernaut that is “Tusk,” and the mysterious hippie hangover vibe of “Honey Hi” provide equilibrium on Tusk.

Buckingham has also talked about his musical journey. Last year while talking with Forbes, Buckingham revealed that he didn’t want to make Rumours 2 at any cost. He talking he also mentioned Tusk and said, “The whole impulse was to make sure that you didn’t succumb to the external expectations that begin to sort of close in around you in terms of commerce from the label or in terms of just the set of preconceptions that people have about you that they want you to sort of formulise and stick to for the rest of your life, which is tantamount to painting yourself into a corner creatively.”

“And I was never one who wanted to do that, I always wanted to define myself as an artist in the long-term, as much as I was able to. And so those are choices you make, and there are outcomes you make.”

According to Far Out Magazine, Buckingham elaborated on the idea by comparing his artistic outlook to that of a director of a motion picture. “The solo endeavors I probably lose nine-tenths of the people that might gravitate to Fleetwood Mac, but it’s a difference between, “Do I want to be Steven Spielberg or Jim Jarmusch?” he said in reference to his less popular solo work at this time.

Then he continued, stating that he would prefer to emulate the less well-known filmmaker Jarmusch because he put more of an emphasis on avant-garde and creative exploration than he did on stale “sequels.”

Due to its experimental nature, the album was initially not as commercially successful as its predecessor, Rumours, but has since been praised as a masterpiece and a timeless classic. Mick Fleetwood said in a 2019 interview with The Independent, calling Tusk his “personal favorite.”

In the end, It’s a cocaine-fueled, self-indulgent, completely insane work by a band whose members were sometimes both sleeping with and at each other’s throats at the same time. Amazingly, though, it actually functions for those reasons. It is a work of art. Tusk succeeds as high art, rock and roll, and a cultural artifact of a strange and amazing era for what was, at the time, the biggest band in the world.

Write A Comment