on April 16, 2003
Hard core fans are gonna want the enhanced CD. No two ways about it. The bonus disc has enhanced video footage to be played on your computer. But the really cool stuff are the 4 bonus songs on the bonus disc. Love Minus Zero/No Limit is a Bob Dylan tune. When have you ever heard Lindsay Buckingham sing Dylan! Wow. This band is great. They have played together so long, that the interaction is effortless. They are also playing better than ever. Lindsay is soaring on guitar through out the CDs. Why doesn't he get more credit as a guitar god? Not Make Believe is an extra Stevie Nicks song. Some of her better writing and singing are on this album. I suppose her working stint with Sheryl Crow has paid off well. It really shows that Stevie has been working on her craft. Lindsay also draws the best out of her. Live versions of Peacekeeper and Say You Will round out the bonus disc. They were taped for a live AOL Session on Feb. 28th, 2003. Mick Fleetwood & John McVie prove yet again why they are one of the tightest and most complementary rhythm sections in all of rock. With these guys behind you, anyone would sound good. The dynamic of the band is a bit different from the past. Christine McVie is no longer part of the band, so all the songwriting and vocals are shared by Stevie & Lindsay. It makes for a very groovy album, full of surprises and rich textures of mood and sound. It is kinda like the feel of Buckingham/Nicks, but done by much more mature artists. It certainly IS Fleetwood Mac. You kinda don't notice that Christine is gone. This 18 track album is fantastic. Not a dud on the album. Now of course I just got it and I am still living with it, but I really do enjoy it. Lindsay orchestrates guitar part upon guitar part, like a modern day Brian Wilson. Any fan of Stevie, Lindsay or Fleetwood Mac, would be sure to enjoy this album. And go ahead and shell out for the enhanced edition. You'll be glad you did.
on April 15, 2003
Nobody was more excited about the prospect of a new Fleetwood Mac album in 2003 than me, so even if the Mac put out a relatively "bad" album, it would still have been alright because it is "The Mac," as I have always known and loved them. But if they had put out a phenomenal album, and if they garnered a new generation of admirers as well as the commercial success they so richly deserve, I would have been downright ecstatic. That said, I am very happy if not exactly ecstatic about the new album.
New albums by superstar rock artists entering the fourth or fifth (as is the case with the Mac) decades of their careers are not entirely scarce. Bands like CSN(Y), Yes, Boston, and the Rolling Stones continue to issue [bad] albums that usually prove to do little more than to tarnish their bodies of work and provide excuses to go on nostalgia tours. Then there are the rarer veteran artists who continue to create relevant, challenging music- like Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Patti Smith, etc. With "Say You Will," I can rest assured that the Mac belongs in the latter category rather than the former. This newest album has drawn comparisons to the Mac's legendary 70's output such as "Rumours" or "Tusk." But those comparisons miss the point entirely. As brilliant as "Rumours" was, it was a by-product of the lite-FM California sound at the time. "Tusk" was Lindsey Buckingham's reaction to punk and new wave. I can say with confidence that "Say You Will" seems to exist in its own timespace that stands apart from everything they have done in the past. While obviously taking cues from contemporary music and the Mac formula of triumphs past, on "Say You Will" Lindsey pushes the envelope in terms of production and arrangement. There is not a producer/musician/songwriter today who can create the orchestra of guitars that Lindsey has painstakingly framed around each of these songs. And where past Mac efforts may have sounded a bit too sweet or overproduced, "Say You Will" contains enough of a raw edge and space that keeps it from being too comfortable.
While the production and sonic texture push the envelope musically, the material is sometimes not up to par. Where Lindsey has been a solid, if not particularly profound songwriter in the past, his newest compositions are either very generic ("Miranda") or very abstract/impressionistic. There are quirky moments that actually work, such as "Red Rover," which is a fragmented sketch of a song, but is salvaged by Lindsey's layered production and virtuoso guitar technique. But other songs like "Murrow..." seem self-indulgent and unfocused.
Stevie Nicks's contributions also run the gamut from solidly sublime ("Say You Will," "Thrown Down") to subpar ("Everybody Finds Out," "Silver Girl"). But Nicks does manage to knock it out of the ballpark completely with the propulsive 80's rocker "Running Through the Garden," which is perhaps the strongest Nicks vocal since her "Rock a Little" days. Another song that gets better upon repeated listening is "Destiny Rules," with its haunting backing vocal arrangements and sparse arrangement. In general, Nicks's voice seems to have rebounded somewhat from the years of drug abuse and smoking. But her croaky, sheepish lower register is problematic. As such, some of her songs could have benefitted from a key change a couple of full steps higher.
In summary, this is a full, challenging, satisfying effort from the Mac. It is certainly not their best effort as a group, but it is definitely superior to their recent solo outings. As the old saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If there is any justice in the world, this album will attract a new generation of listeners and sell a bazillion copies. But the main hurdle to that is the fact that it is simply too bold for total mainstream acceptance and does not feature any duets with Justin Timberlake and Michelle Branch.
on May 21, 2003
Too many people have misjudged this record by summing up their evaluations after a preliminary listen. With a jaw-dropping 18 song track list, this album needs to be played a few times before one can appreciate its brilliance. I, too was lukewarm when I first heard the album. Having had it for over a month, I can honestly say that it is one of the best Fleetwood Mac albums ever, second only to Rumours. I find myself wanting to listen to it every day, it's that good. Every song is a standout as if the album was a collection of greatest hits. Equally amazing is the excellent musicianship is in the band after all these years. Both Stevie and Lindsey are in fine form, vocally and musically and have written some of their best material ever. This is Fleetwood Mac's Supernatural and should go on to multi-platinum success. I'm willing to bet that this album will win big at next year's Grammy and American Music Awards.
With so many great songs, it's hard to pick favorites. However, Peacemaker, Say You Will, Murrow Turning in his Grave, Say Goodbye, Thrown Down, Flowers in the Garden come to mind. Peacemaker benefits from Stevie's gorgeous background alongside Lindsey's. A beautiful melody, it should be higher in the charts. An appropriate choice as the lead-off single given the tie-in to modern times and also because it's catchy and positively proclaims the Mac is back. The title track promises to be a big hit, especially in the crossover and country charts. This is the song that will draw audiences to Fleetwood Mac.
Of the two albums I was looking forward to, the other being Madonna's, I can honestly state that this is the better record. The harmonies and slick production are perfectly in sync with the mood and tempo of the songs. This album proves that FM is not content to ride on the coattails of their past glory. Though some songs have a characteristic FM sound, many others explore new areas, partcularly Lindey's Murrow and Come.
I own both the Special Edition and the DVD-Audio. The DVD-Audio is worth getting for improved clarity of the stereo mix but I found the 5.1 Dolby Digital performance to be lacking. The mix is bright and lacking in bass. I don't have a DVD-Audio player so I can't comment on the DVD Audio performance. The other misgiving I have is with the menus on the DVD Audio disc which don't allow you to pause or fast forward. However, the stereo performance more than makes up for the deficiencies. All in all, an awesome album and highly recommended in any format. I'll conclude with a listing of my top 5 FM albums::
2 Say You Will
3 Tango in the Night
5 Fleetwood Mac
on May 21, 2003
When I first reviewed the 1-disc version of this CD, I gave it 4 stars, docking it 1 star because I felt that some of Lindsey Buckingham's contributions were subpar. Ironically, that's the same reaction I had 24 years ago to the album "Tusk", which is now one of my all-time favorites. While some of Buckingham's experimental stuff here can be jarring at first listen (and I still say -- he's no master songwriter), his music certainly can't be described as cliche or run-of-the-mill. After a while, I found myself looking forward to some of the kookier effects and, quite honestly, some of these songs really do sink in over time. "Red Rover", though almost overwhelmed by the production, is actually a rather compelling song, the most moving of his contributions here. And "Miranda", which I disliked upon first listen, is now one of my favorite songs on the disc. Even "Murrow Turning Over in His Grave" no longer affronts, and the urge to hit the skip button is gone. In fact, the two wildly varying styles of Buckingham / Nicks eventually compliment one another if you give "Say You Will" a chance. Stevie Nicks, of course, is the class act here, and she continues the personal renaissance she began on 1997's "The Dance". Her voice is no longer the unique instrument it once was (the harsh bleating now overwhelms its once quivering delicacy) but what she's lost in character she makes up for with a histrionic emotionalism that still connects with the material. And its her material here that is the crowning jewel. Buckingham has always been condescending in his assessment of Nicks' songwriting, but the truth of the matter is she is light years ahead of him, as any listen to this CD would prove. This time out, she holds the mysticism to a minimum ("Illume" and "Running Through the Garden" are the only examples), preferring instead a more direct, accessible approach that both expands on Nicks' style and fills in at times for the missing Christine McVie. "Say You Will", "Thrown Down" and "Destiny Rules" are three of the best songs she's ever written, filled to their brims with hooked-ladened ear candy. "Running Through..." and "Everybody Finds Out", on the other hand, are two of her best all out rockers in years, and her singing on these two songs has all the emotional urgency she's noted for. "Goodbye Baby" is the exquisite ballad that closes the first CD in hushed melancholy while "Illume", her reflection on 9/11, is actually the only fitting tribute I've heard because it doesn't directly, pedantically make cornball references to that day. Instead, Nicks comes up with one of her best recent lyrics in evoking universal longing and sadness. Here, her trademark mysticism is just what the doctor ordered. The extra CD on this expanded edition of "Say You Will" is a real treat, too. It's got two additional studio cuts, Buckinghams' quirky take on Dylan's "Live Minus Zero / No Limit" and Nicks' poppy "Not Make Believe". Here, she offers a rather pedestrian lyric, but the tune is another hook-filled delight that compliments the rest of her work on the CD. Better still are the two live versions of "Peacekeeper" and "Say You Will", both of which are superior to the studio versions because, although almost identical in execution, have the expected "oomph" Fleetwood Mac typically brings to their best live work. Credit there must also go to the phenominal rhythm section of McVie and Fleetwood. Thirty-five years later, they're still the rock solid base for this classic group. One minor gripe about the packaging: while very handsome indeed, its rather clumsily designed and will take delicacy of handling to survive the years. But the music inside? That will survive the years as a pinnacle in the legacy of one of the greatest groups of the last century. Never break the chain.
on April 16, 2003
First off let me say that I am a big fan of the way Lindsey Buckingham can craft tunes. With striking lush vocals and intricate guitar parts he is appreciated by many a fan and deserves much respect for putting this disc together. That said however, no one in the current Fleetwood Mac is dragging their feet either. Stevie has written some great songs for this album and her delivery is strong and heart felt. The grooves that John McVie and Mick Fleetwood assemble could make the most lethargic drone tap their feet in joy, ie; the title track 'Say you Will'.
There's alot of music on this disc with eighteen songs clocking in over 76 minutes. Most of the songs are stellar while some don't do much for me, like the song 'Come' with a chorus that sounds like it belongs in a Audioslave tune. I felt it took a few tunes until the record caught it's stride. Favorites for me include: 'Thrown Down' a catchy Nicks tune with a sweet chorus. "Red Rover" is a frantic Buckingham gem with a bit of a disturbed chorus, the only gripe is that I thought it needed bass from McVie to give it more bottom. "Say you Will" is a perfect pop tune delivered compliments of Stevie. "Peacekeeper" is the haunting first released single. "Smile at You" is an understated Nicks tune draped in lush vocals and melodic bass from John. "Running through the Garden" I thought is a good uptempo tune but with a keyboard part that sounds a little too 80's like. "Steal Your Heart Away" is a beautiful sunny tune with lyrics "all alone we go all day after day/all alone we suffer oh to steal your heart away". My personal favorite track is "Say Goodbye" penned by Buckingham. It's some of his most divine guitar playing wedded to some of his most self revealing lyrics. It's so sadly beautiful you'll find the images evoking strong emotions. You'll have to hear it to believe song crafting is still this good. This record leaves me optimistic about the state of popular music today and points to finely crafted songs not marketing hype.
There has been some complaint that SAY YOU WILL doesn't sound like a typical Fleetwood Mac album. The irony, of course, is that there really isn't any such thing as a "typical" Fleetwood Mac album. With a history stretching back to the 1960s and line ups that have included Peter Green, Jeremy Spenser, Bob Welch, Billy Burnette and Rick Vito, the band has never really generated a consistent sound. And that has even been true of the "golden" line up of Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood, whose work has run from the folk-hard rock fusion of their blockbuster RUMORS to the angst-ridden and anxious art rock of TUSK to the chime-like pop gloss of MIRAGE. So if you expect the same thing you've heard before, you're out of luck--and that's pretty much true regardless of which Fleetwood Mac albums you happen to be comparing at the moment.
SAY YOU WILL is easily the most edgy album the band has done since TUSK: at times grating, jarring, and incredibly dissonant, at times lyric and liquid and smooth. At it's best, it is Fleetwood Mac at their best; at it's worst, it's at least interesting. The CD is a bit slow to start, with a streak of four selections ("What's the World Coming To," "Murrow Turning Over In His Grave," "Illume," and "Throw Down") more interesting than actually enjoyable--but the Mac hits its stride with the fifth cut, "Miranda," and from there it never lets up, belting out one memorable selection after another.
But there's something missing here, and it's Christine McVie. Both Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks are what you might call extreme artists, each in their own way working in opposite directions, and left to their own devices they can edge toward the self-indulgent. And in her absence, it becomes very obvious that the cool edge Christine McVie brings to the band with her rain-spattered blue voice and meticulously crafted pop melodies has been the artistic bridge between the two extremes; her sound--be it at the keyboard or her graceful and perfectly controlled vocals--is sorely missed here; without it, the band seems to lack a center.
All of that said, and while SAY YOU WILL falls short of the mark in Christine McVie's absence, it is still a solid Fleetwood Mac album--and perhaps more than any other of their albums it is one that requires several listenings before you begin to develop a feel for what Lindsey, Stevie, John, and Mick are creating here. Recommended--but if you're expecting the Fleetwood Mac of RUMORS, you'll be just as disappointed by SAY YOU WILL as you probably were by TUSK. And Christine McVie, if you're reading this, we all need you back with the Mac!
--GFT (Amazon reviewer)--
on June 27, 2006
Fleetwood Mac has had a long and varied history, with lineup changes, legendary classics, legendary 'flops', love triangles, blessed reunions, and internal disentigration. After 16 years, the "golden duo" of former lovers Nicks and Buckingham are reunited on this disc, with the unfortunate omission of Christine McVie.
However, even with her absence, the Mac makes one of their most solid later albums, and definitely the most experimental since 'Tusk' closed out the '70s. Buckingham is INVOLVED, and it's undeniable. He hasn't displayed this much passion probably since his early opus 'Tusk'. For evidence of this, check out the 'making of' dvd, 'Destiny Rules.'
A lot of other reviewers are remarking that this disc is good, but falls short of being an important FM work. I have to disagree, if for no other reason than the fact the group could come back together in their "original" lineup (not exactly, but the original 'Rumours' lineup at least) after a decade and a half and produce a solid, sturdy, meaningful album is a stunning feat in itself. The songs here are good, with Nicks providing some of her best pieces in years (and continuing on her 'Trouble In Shangri-La' sound) and Buckingham showing, yet again, why he is probably one of the most gifted (albeit perhaps somewhat underrated) musical geniuses of his time.
Originally his concept called for this to be a double-album, and while that would have been a hard sell, at a steep sale price, and a LOT of material for the first album in so many years, fans may have found it difficult to fully sink their teeth into such a glut of work all at once. Perhaps some of what wasn't included in 'Say You Will' will make it onto future records. Let's hope so. The trimmed down version, at 18 tracks, is a beast of an album, and while stylistically "uneven" (I prefer diverse) it WORKS.
The tracks are strong, some graceful, some anxious, some thought-provoking...and there is often the familiar pang of Nicks' and Buckingham's former love affair, most notably when, on "Thrown Down", she sings, "You've shaken your faith in me, no...you've shaken my faith in everything else...a decision no one makes, and now you're going home...Faith is a hard thing to hold onto, something inside you says 'I don't have to'...you're not like other people, you do what you want to..."
Wow, you can FEEL that sting, after all these years, and feel the kind of deep bond, pain, and anguish that would provoke such songwriting, so obviously about Buckingham, some two decades after their breakup. This is the stuff Mac is good at, blisteringly solid music, experimentation, mysticism, and mood. One of my favorite Mac albums, without a doubt.
"Rumors" was an unforseen fluke, a leviathan of a record that steamrolled past all expectations. We can't compare everything they release to that...that would be like comparing every Prince song to 'Little Red Corvette' - it was a different time, a different era, a different world, and these people have 30 years more experience and are STILL producing music better than pretty much anything on corporate radio today. And THAT, my friends, is a triumph, and that is why FM are one of rock's most remarkable and storied bands. This is the stuff of (and by) legends.
on April 2, 2004
I am surprised as to how much I like many of the songs on this CD, and although I give it three stars, those stars are well earned.
What I liked:
1) Lindsey Buckingham's amazing production. This is a man who obsesses over this process and the results are well worth it as the sound is crisp and innovative BUT does not make the mistake of trying to "update" the Fleetwood Mac sound to reflect current production bells and whistles. Any bells are strictly Lindsey's and he has gotten better with time.
2) Many of the songs are really great. I partularly liked selections 1,3,4,6,7,12 (I love thing song!), 13, and 18.
3) Both Stevie and Lindsay sound great, and I have the feeling that Stevie is on a growth curve that will bring her to even higher highs than she has ever enjoyed.
4) All in all, it's really great to listen to a group that you grew up with sound so great and not have become a case of warhorses trying to make a buck off the past. This is a relevant release and not the product of nostalgia.
What I disliked:
1) Some heavy-metalish guitar work on several songs that does not fit in AT ALL within the context of many songs, especially in the latter part of the CD. "Come" is an example of this.
2) The CD is way too long and some songs should have been kept off the release to make it more tight. Of course you can make your own mix with less songs, which I did.
3) I was never a hard-core fan of Christine McVie's songs, but not having her play a big role in the release shows what an integral part of the group she is. Her harmonies are greatly missed and I never appreciated her contribution as much as I should have.
4) Some reviewers have pointed out that this feels in many respects like Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham solo releases combined into one product. I agree with this and although it's not a huge problem, one wonders what Christine McVie and stronger input from Mick and John would have brought to the product as it is lacking some cohesiveness.
So after all this three stars may seem stingy, but like I said they are a well earned three stars that could have been 4 by taking out the lesser songs and focusing on the cream of the crop.
on April 29, 2003
It has been a long time since any new Fleetwood Mac music. They wet our whistles with THE DANCE, and those of us who were waiting for this reunion album knew it would only be a matter of time. And now we have Say You Will.
I Do love this album. REALLY!
HOWEVER... some critques.
a) at times, this album seems like a BUCKINGHAM/NICKS album. Out of the 18 songs, Mick and John had a hand in writing....none.
Other than playing on the all the tracks, there are moments that I got lost in either Stevie or Lindseys's songs, forgetting that this was a Fleetwood Mac album. That's not a BAD thing, but it does need to be pointed out.
b) the lack of Christine, who has opted out, does leave a hole. Now, with only Stevie singing in her mystical way and Lindsay in his Hard Driving Rocker way, there is no balance. Christine, we miss you
These two points aside, This Album Does capture the soul and spirit that we have always associated with this incarnation of Fleetwood Mac and makes the passing years well worth the wait.
If you only know Fleetwood Mac from Rumours, you need to check this one out.
If you know Fleetwood Mac from all their albums, add this one to your collection.
If you know only Stevie Nicks or Lindsey Buckingham as a solo artist, this will help you discover their talent as a part of one of Rock'n Roll's greatest bands.
Whatever reason you want for getting this, GET IT. After one listen through, you will want to permanently add this to your cd player
on April 27, 2003
I have been a Fleetwood Mac fan since Peter Green was the guitarist. My favorite projects have been Rumours (of course), Tusk, Fleetwood Mac, Mirage, The Dance, Tango in The Night. That said I was skeptical of Say You Will, esp since Christine McVie, my favorite member and I believe the balance of the band, decided that she no longer wished to perform. I had read that Syevie commented that Christine is very happy with her life in England and that she just does not have the desire any more to go on the road; Chris wanted the band to carry on, but just felt that part of her life was over and wanted the remaining members to produce a classic. Lindsey, Stevie, John and Mick are excellent in their own right but it was Christine that I felt was the steadying influence. I was sure that this would be a project like Behind the Mask. I WAS SOOOO WRONG!!
Say You Will may be the best project put out by Fleetwood Mac since Rumours. In fact, dare I say it, Say You Will may at least equal Rumours!
My favorite songs ... well actually I love them all, which is something I have not been able to say about any Mac project, except The Dance and Greatest Hits. What's The World Coming To, Miranda and Bleed To Love Her, from The Dance CD, are vintage Lindsey Buckingham. Thrown Down, Goodbye Baby, Silver Girl, Illume and Destiny Rules show you that Stevie has lost nothing as a team player. Say You Will, PeaceKeeper and Smile At You are getting a lot of air play and rightly so - they sound like vintage Mac compositions. Mac does take chances though with Murrow Turning Over In His Grave and and a hard rock, Come, which I hated at first and now find the more I listen the more I enjoy.
Do yourself a favor .. buy this CD. If you don't have Rumours, buy it as well and listen to them together. I think you will agree that they are 2 of the best pieces of musical entertainment out there.