on September 5, 2011
Taken as a trilogy Under the Sun, Gift of Screws and now Seeds we Sow have been the most consistent and enjoyable 3 albums of his career. Buckingham has now fully incorporated and perfected the glissando guitar style he began using with Big Love and used on his last 3 albums. It is omnipresent here and brilliantly used on the title cut and on Stars are Crazy. But the most innovative and interesting guitar work is on In Our Own Time, where he interweaves several ultracool guitar parts culminating in the discordant picking during the chorus that is just mind blowing. The emotional highlight of the album is End of Time, a traditional sounding Mac-style song about morality that will tear your heart out. Best album of the year for me.
on September 5, 2011
Wow. Just beautiful! Almost every song is stunning in it's own way. The guitar on One Take is crazy!! Rock Away Blind is brilliant and beautiful and on par or better than Bel Air Rain ( from Gift of Screws album )! The Rolling Stones cover, She Smiled Sweetly is just lovely. When She Comes Down...gorgeous. Really, not a clunker on here. Illumination, That's the Way Love Goes, Stars Are Crazy, In Our Own Time, Seeds We Sow, and End of Time are all great, great songs! The accoustic version of End of Time is so pretty. Actually, Gone Too Far is the only one that sounds kind of generic to me...nothing special, but still good. ALL the other songs though, are Lindsey at his best. A great album from start to finish. Put on your best headphones and kick back...you're in for a treat.
Lindsey Buckingham is one of those singer/songwriter/musicians who is truly an artist. His last two solo albums (UNDER THE SKIN and GIFT OF SCREWS) were absolutely beautiful, almost like musical tapestries (with a hefty amount of grit thrown in to roughen things up a bit). SEEDS WE SOW follows a similar vein.
From the ethereal "Gone Too Far," to the angry "One Take," to the simplistic rocking wonder of "That's the Way Love Goes," SEEDS is an almost pitch-perfect pop/rock record. Buckingham's musicianship has never been better; he can still make a guitar do things previously unimaginable. His voice has aged nicely (more like whiskey than wine, I'd say, which is just the way it should be), and his lyrics remain cryptic, yet somehow undeniably relatable.
Of his three most recent solo efforts, SEEDS is perhaps the strongest, in that the songs congeal into an amazing album, yet are listenable and fantastic on their own. (Both SKIN and SCREWS are strongest when listened in one long sitting, as opposed to one track at a time.) It's an album by a master tunesmith who has nothing left to prove, and is simply making music he enjoys making. Fortunately, it's music that still has something worth saying, that is still unique and groundbreaking.
"Seeds We Sow" makes the sixth studio solo album by Buckingham--equal to the six Fleetwood Mac albums he's appeared on. How has Buckingham managed to capture lightning mojo in a bottle at age 62? This surely completes his renaissance trilogy begun with 2006's "Under The Skin". Three solo albums of solid material, each unique in their own right. But it is "Seeds We Sow" that appears most uniform and cohesive. A tight musical vision with exceptional finger picking guitar work put on display in such works as "Rock Away Blind" and the title track.
It is difficult to critique a Buckingham solo album as they are all unusually strong, but particularly his past four. I admit to my positive bias. If you love pop music like I do, then you must have certain artists who, for reasons unknown, are like a close friend. Someone who seems to produce hit after hit, everything turning to gold. Lindsey Buckingham is like that for me. Easily in my top echelon of greatest musicians, but more importantly, as a composer and arranger. He has a gift for melody that is truly uncanny--like Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, Bruce Hornsby, Daryl Hall, Elton John or Billy Joel.
"Seeds We Sow" is one of his finest, and the reason for the five stars is that it seems of the eleven songs here there really isn't a bad one in the lot. I can listen to this disc from beginning to end, and then hit repeat. That's rare. Of course my favorite track is "Rock Away Blind" because of the way Buckingham creates a unique melody through his guitar picking and reverb. No one wields reverb like Buckingham does. Reverb becomes an instrument unto itself. "Stars Are Crazy" is close behind as it is an atmospheric track full of mood and rumination. "In Our Own Time" is a great change up track between the verses and the chorus. "End Of Time" is a strangely uplifting track about death.
"One Take" is the most political track here railing against Bernie Madoff and other Wallstreet types, and how they just keep taking from the middle and lower classes. "Illumination" is the other rocker here. "That's The Way That Love Goes" is another good change up track. His cover of The Rolling Stones' "She Smiled Sweetly" nicely completes the album.
At this point, I'd prefer Buckingham to keep releasing solo albums at the regular 2-3 year interval. The last Fleetwood Mac album wasn't as good as his solo work has been. I'd rather Fleetwood Mac only produce new material if they could somehow coax Christine McVie out of retirement. I understand she does not wish to tour anymore, and that's fine. But she could at least write some songs, play and sing in the studio for a new Fleetwood Mac album.
I commend Buckingham for giving the record company the boot with "Seeds We Sow" and making it a homemade project on an independent label with full creative control. It works very well, and it's the second highest charting solo album of his career tying for number two with 1984's "Go Insane". Now, what would really be interesting at this point is if Buckingham collaborated with other artists. It could yield some very interesting results. I'm not saying he should pull a Carlos Santana and work with the hottest trendy youngsters of today. No, I think it would be more interesting to collaborate with unusual choices in his peer group such as Sting, Peter Gabriel, Don Henley, David Byrne, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Tom Waits, Daryl Hall, Barry Gibb, Rod Stewart, Randy Newman, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, Ray Davies, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, or maybe U2's The Edge, Jack White, Adrian Belew, Eddie Van Halen, Nuno Bettencourt, Prince, Chris Isaak, Bruce Hornsby. These people would make for a very interesting mash-up album.
Here's how "Seeds We Sow" compares with Buckingham's other works:
1973 Buckingham/Nicks: I've never heard it, will it ever become available?
1975 Fleetwood Mac: Five Stars
1977 Rumours: Five Stars
1979 Tusk: Five Stars
1982 Mirage: Three and a Half Stars
1987 Tango In The Night: Four Stars
2003 Say You Will: Three Stars
1981 Law And Order: Three and a Half Stars
1984 Go Insane: Four Stars
1992 Out Of The Cradle: Five Stars
2006 Under The Skin: Four Stars
2008 Gift Of Screws: Four and a Half Stars
2011 Seeds We Sow: Five Stars
on November 4, 2011
I'll start by saying that I am a huge Lindsey Buckingham (LB)fan, particularly because I play guitar and he is one of my favorite players. I believe that he is extremely underrated when it comes to his guitar playing. That being said, my review of this album is intended to be as objective as possible.
Before I got the album, I read Rolling Stone's review (gave it 3 of 5 stars) where they criticized the album for being overproduced, stating that LB basically didnt leave much for the other musicians to do. At first listen, I was disappointed because the album sounded overly produced like Rolling Stone said. I don't know why LB insists on using lots of echo and other effects on his vocals because I think he has a decent voice. Many of his songs also have that distinctive arpeggio or as some call it "speed picking" element to them. Between the vocal effects and that type of guitar sound, you ofen come away with what my wife calls "mood music," which is how she described a couple of the songs on the album after her first listen. In that regard, I won't argue with some of the other reviews that criticize the album for being "more of the same."
I saw LB last night in Red Bank, NJ at The Count Basie Theater. I was quite surprised (and slightly depressed) that the theater, which seats about 2000, was half empty. However, Lindsey put on a great show and his vocals were great. If you haven't already seen it, check out his DVD--Songs From The Small Machine--in which he plays about half of the new album. The live vocals and instruments make the songs sound stripped down compared to the polished element of the album and it makes you wonder why LB didnt take some of the sheen off in the studio when he made the album. In any event, he is playing the same set seen on the DVD at every show for this album tour, mixing old solo stuff, songs from this album and Fleetwood Mac tunes. Some folks I'm sure would have liked more than the 5 Mac tunes he did. He was very gracious to the crowd and seemed to be enjoying himself. I really enjoyed the show and he shows off not only his guitar playing, but solid vocals. It is rare that I have found a live performance to be better than the studio album, but I partially felt that way after the concert ended.
After several listens to this album, it grew on me. I really like "In Our Own Time", "Illumination", "That's The Way Love Goes", "End of Time" and "Gone Too Far." To me, they follow the vintage solo LB sound, reminding me of "Trouble" with lots more guitar added, plus a dash of Fleetwood Mac spice (think late 80s Mac) tossed in.
The only song I really didnt care for was "One Take" (Did anyone else find that the riff made you nearly sing "I'm Turning Japanese" by the Vapors?) I know one of the criticisms of LB is that he doesn't "rock out" enough, but I have found those songs on past albums to sound forced with usually over-the-top lyrics. To me, "One Take" sounded like LB was rapping over the chorus. Just didnt go over with me, but that was really the only song I would toss away. My only other wish is if he would put out some songs with a sound similar to "Never Going Back Again"--more acoustic driven without such speed picking, but I'm being picky here, no pun intended. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this album and like I said, give it a few listens and I think it will grow on you. And definitely catch LB if he comes to your town...I think you will really enjoy the current tour.
on October 1, 2011
When I experience writer's block, I turn to certain activities to help me reconnect with my subconscious mind. One of these activities is listening to the music of Lindsey Buckingham. Buckingham is best known as the lead singer and guitarist for the band Fleetwood Mac, but he has also recorded six solo albums. In the early 1990s, I was working toward a Master of Arts in English. Sometimes, as I was working on my term papers, I felt discouraged. Buckingham's solo album Out of the Cradle featured three very upbeat, positive songs: "Countdown," "Turn it On," and "You Do Or You Don't." These tracks always put me in a positive, energetic mood. My writer's block would melt away, and I would happily keep myself glued to the computer.
These are happy times for Lindsey Buckingham fans such as me. Why? Because Buckingham has gifted us with three solo albums in six years, which beats his speed record tremendously. His first solo album, Law and Order, was released in 1981. Go Insane followed in the mid-1980s, and Out of the Cradle came out in the early-1990s. In 2006, Buckingham gave us Under the Skin, which focused a bit too much on acoustic guitar playing for my taste. 2008 gave us Gift of Screws, which focused more on electric guitar work. This year, we have Seeds We Sow, which is a nice mix of acoustic and electric work. Buckingham says this is his best solo work yet. Stevie Nicks, Buckingham's former lover and current Fleetwood Mac band mate, has also praised the album.
Buckingham's lyrics are suitably thoughtful and literary for listening to while one writes. The title Out of the Cradle is from a Walt Whitman poem. The title Gift of Screws is from an Emily Dickinson poem. The title track from Seeds We Sow, a meditation on the positive and negative karma that results from our decisions, features the lyric: "Young things, pretty things are dying / In the penny arcade of Edgar Allen Poe." Is this a reference to the music business, or show business in general? I can't help but think of Lindsey Lohan or Britney Spears when I hear this lyric.
I like the songs in which Buckingham experiments with extreme alto and falsetto vocals. Seeds We Sow recalls his earlier album Go Insane, because many of the tracks on both albums feature such experimentation (but still not enough for me: Buckingham excels when he engages in such auditory magic). Buckingham is a genius with the guitar, but critics forget that he is also a vocal virtuoso who likes to experiment with his voice as if it were any other musical instrument. When the single "Big Love" (from Fleetwood Mac's album Tango in the Night) rose to the top of the charts, David Letterman joked that Stevie Nicks must have been responsible for the alternating alto-falsetto "love grunts" that characterized the song's signature sound. In fact, the "love grunts" were not only Buckingham's idea, but Buckingham's voice.
Buckingham experiments with vocals on Seeds We Sow (more than he did on Under the Skin, but less than he did on Gift of Screws). On Seeds We Sow, Buckingham walks the line between acoustic and electric guitar songs. I happen to prefer the latter. Buckingham once characterized the end of "Countdown" as "a screaming guitar solo." I like his screaming solos. One track from Seeds We Sow, "Gone Too Far," features a tasty solo and wonderful vocal styling. This track harkens back to bouncy, catchy Fleetwood Mac tunes such as "Hold Me."
Going back to Gift of Screws, the best three tracks from that album are "Wait For You," "The Right Place to Fade," and the title track. All three tracks showcase Buckingham's instrumental and vocal talents. On Seeds We Sow, I especially like "When She Comes Down." It reminds me of "D.W. Suite" from the Go Insane album (Buckingham's tribute to Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson). While I am on the subject of Gift of Screws, I will ask you to go back and listen to the lyrics of "Underground" from that album. You will learn why Buckingham decided to break ranks with Warner Brothers and release this latest album on his own. Buckingham has always been true to his own music, to the exclusion of the desires of the Corporate Masters (whose control over the music industry seems to be slipping, thanks to the Internet).
"When She Comes Down" is also a fun track because of the ambiguous nature of its lyrics. Is it about Gaia (the Greek earth goddess)? Is it about the Virgin Mary? Is it about Stevie Nicks? (Just kidding!
If you buy Seeds We Sow, I highly recommend that you also buy the three "B-Sides" that are available for download from Amazon.com. These are: "Sleeping Around the Corner," "End of Time (acoustic version)," and "Seeds We Sow (electric version)." "Sleeping Around the Corner" is a joyously-catchy song with the same kind of infectious hook as "Holiday Road." (the theme song of the film National Lampoon's Vacation.) The lyrics are sexy and romantic, with suggestive lines such as: "We made sweet love over and over / she said oh sweet darling I'm your little red rover." That last line is a reference to "Red Rover," a song from Fleetwood Mac's Say You Will album. "End of Time" is a touching and poignant song about healing emotional wounds, and the acoustic version emphasizes the song's emotional impact. The electric version of "Seeds We Sow" is a faster version of the song that reminds me of the best sonic treats from the Go Insane album (such as "I Want You.")
If you don't know any of these album or song titles, never fear: they are all available online through Amazon.com and Itunes.com. If you have never heard Lindsey Buckingham's music, you are in for a treat. I am grateful for my creative muses, and Mr. Buckingham is one of them.
on September 6, 2011
Those of us who "got" Tusk by Fleetwood Mac realized that we loved it because of what Lindsey brought to that record, which was a sense of adventure. With the advent of that album a micro-fandom emerged and that was the Followers of Buckingham. We bought subsequent Mac albums BECAUSE of Lindsey. And even when they reeled him in as a producer his ideas still managed to creep into via his guitar and vocal arrangements with Stevie and Christine (those 3 singing together is a real thing of beauty).
His solo albums were always an event. My favorite until now was "Go Insane" because that album was...insane (and I mean that in the best possible way). And it was also focused, which many of his solo collections aren't even though they contain moments of astounding music. But starting with his last "Gift of Screws" and continuing through this, a clartiy of purpose in his writing has begun to take shape. This is the best thing he's done as a solo artist.
on September 5, 2011
Lindsey Buckingham always creates the most interestingly beautiful music. With this collection of songs "Seeds We Sow" he's gone so far above and beyond the greatness of his previous solo work. I have to ask, what planet is this guy from? Seriously. I want to go there, now! The shimmering splendor of this record sounds like it comes from a place too strange to be human , but it feels just the opposite. It's all about the feel. Nobody else captures deep human emotion and other-worldly imagination through music so artfully as Lindsey. If I had never listened to his music I wouldn't know what many feelings sound like but now I do. I understand the truth of words I didn't before from hearing the sounds of longing, loneliness, fear, despair, dishonesty, guilt, shame, greed, lust, passion, pain, hope, faith, redemption, forgiveness, and most of all love. His cryptic lyrics leave much to the imagination but the raw emotion he delivers through music is nothing short of jaw dropping and awe inspiring. He's in a class by himself when it comes to knowing what "it" sounds like. You can substitute "it" for any word, thought, feeling, or experience. Lindsey knows what "it" sounds like and communicates that to others better than anyone in popular music. If you only know his work from Fleetwood Mac, you're missing a lot. He's always created ear catching hooks and lush melodies in the band environment, but the full emotion of his artistry is usually constrained except when unleashed through his production of the other writers' songs. In this solo outing Buckingham does everything himself, from start to finish, including a "do it yourself" distrubution of the music. He also runs the table on everything possible and amazing that can be captured in music. Each song is an adventure for your ears, your mind, and most of all your heart.
on September 6, 2011
What superlatives can be added to the wonderous career of Lindsey Buckingham? He is arguably the best American guitarist in the past 50 years, and I rank him as perhaps the most innovative and stylistic player of all time. With that said, I've just listened to "Seeds we Sow" for the fifth time, allowing the songs to whirl through my mind. To me, as others have already noted, this album showcases Buckingham's talents, and reveals that he still has a powerful voice in a musical arena. He really stands alone, creating lyrics and melodies that are immeditate classics. Why classic? What defines a classic song? Anything that you're hearing for the first time, and yet you feel as if it's always been a part of you, that's the beauty and magic of great music; this is the sheer joy of "Seeds we Sow."
There's songs on this album that literally give me chills. "Stars are Crazy" is amazing, settling into a place in your conscience that leaves you feeling anxious and mesmerized all at once. "End of Time" captures the fears of lost loves and dreams, drawing you into the chorus that Buckingham emotes with such passion. I admire and respect an artist who can make me feel things I haven't sensed within myself for years. That's the true definition of an artist...and whoever listens to this album will be drawn it. By the end of the first listen, you'll settle into your chair or bed, and listen again, allowing your mind to take you places that perhaps you haven't visited in a long time.
Few albums make my list as special, and I must also comment on Buckingham's other classic, "Out of the Cradle." I've listened to that album for nearly twenty years, and it's never become stale in my mind. I suspect twenty years from now, if I'm fortuante to still be here, I'll put "Seeds we Sow" on my short list of favortie albums of all time. Everyone who loves music and lyrics should own this album.
on September 10, 2011
Lindsey Buckingham's new album "Seeds We Sow" is simply stunning. A masterful work fitting to take a place next to his previous high-water mark "Out Of The Cradle".
Now before I go any further, I will admit that I am unabashedly a Lindsey Buckingham fanatic. "Out Of The Cradle" has long been in my top ten albums of all time. I followed him on his solo tour in 2006/2007 during his promotion of "Under The Skin", catching four shows in various parts of the country. Met him after two of those shows, getting autographs and photos with one of the most humble, friendly and approachable celebrities I have ever encountered.
That said, I do not blindly take everything the man puts out and declare it a "masterpiece". He had some brilliant songs on "Under The Skin" and his follow-up "Gift Of Screws". As good as those efforts were, neither matched the genius of "Out Of The Cradle". Well, that was, until now!
"Seeds We Sow" is a return to that magical place of beautiful, compelling songwriting coupled with amazing guitar work and sonically superior production. I won't break down the album on a song-by-song basis. For one I am not yet familiar with all of them by name, but also because to me, masterful albums are a complete experience that can't be easily defined or deconstructed. I love everything about them and resist choosing favorite parts or lyrics or even songs. Maybe on lesser albums, you have to pick and choose your favorites, but not on what I call"Masterworks". And this new album fits my criteria to be called a "Masterwork".
Of course, some songs hit a certain nerve, evoke a particular memory or stand out for one reason or another. But that will depend on the listener more than anything. What delights me and my musical senses is not the same thing that will titillate you. All I can do is encourage you to take the journey and discover some magic that you can call your own.
With "Seeds We Sow", Mr Buckingham has taken his acoustical seeds; his amazing guitar prowess, his evocative songwriting, his harmonizing vocals...and sowed them into a familiar musical ground that he has been cultivating for decades, fertilized with his signature production & engineering skills and presented us yet another beautiful musical garden to explore, delight in, lay down amongst, run barefoot through...discovering wonderful new experiences like giddy little children on a sunny, endless summer day.