We are starting to feel spring in our bones and on our minds. A couple not-totally-miserable days here and there make the season’s arrival seem scandalously close. Of course, any day that’s over 30 degrees tricks you into thinking the harshness of this dark Midwestern winter has passed, even if it’s in the middle of January. But with our clocks springing forward, Spring Break days away (Spring Break!) and the official first day of spring a week away … it looks like we may be in the clear.
Here at Spin It Round, when spring comes to town, so do a couple of artists that haven’t been heard of in the winter months. Groups like Junior Senior, The Strokes and The Hives enter heavy rotation in the first weeks of warm weather. But like budding flowers, these bands appear quickly, present themselves boldly and fragrantly, and then fall off the tree and out of my CD player in a matter of weeks.
However, the band that stays with me as the composers of the quintessential spring soundtrack, that stays with me all year like the memories of green grass and cool breezes, is Fleetwood Mac.
I hate people that don’t like Fleetwood Mac. You literally urinate out your ears if you don’t dig on Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. “Oh,” someone is saying, “that’s not even Fleetwood Mac.” Peter Green’s Fleetwood was pretty kicking too, but I think Buckingham and Nicks-era is (no offense to white blues aficionados) way better.
Not only are their songs disgustingly likable and accessible, perfect for picnics and cruising on country roads, but their songs are also so menacing and miserable; filled with sadness and frustration. These different elements mold together so perfectly because of one thing — love. And love is what makes spring so great (i.e. baby rabbits) and, using the transitive property of mathematics, what makes Fleetwood Mac so good.
During the making of Rumors, Buckingham and Nicks broke off their longtime relationship and bassist John McVie ended his marriage with keyboardist Christine. They were all on crazy amounts of drugs, touring and recording with people they previously loved and probably kind of hated at the time, which is a lot of shit for a band to endure.
But somehow, they did it! And not only did they make Bill Clinton’s all-time favorite album, they made one of the best pop records ever. “You Make Loving Fun” and “I Don’t Wanna Know” are classic Fleetwood duets. “Never Going Back Agains” and “Second Hand News” are genius precursors to freak-folkers Devendra Banhart and Animal Collective, who were both influenced by Buckingham. “The Chain” is just awesome beyond all other definitions of the word.
Rumors is great but Tusk is way better. Nicks and McVie are good songwriters, but clearly Buckingham is the genius of the group. Here he (and his heroin issue) get center stage. It wasn’t the critical success that Rumors was, but instead you get an expression of a man who was way ahead of his time. “The Ledge,” “What Makes You Think You’re The One” and the title track “Tusk” sound like an EP for a wild psychedelic folk band that just came out of Portland. A lot of it is really visionary and not only that, it’s great pop. I mean if Devendra Banhart and Lindsay Lohan can love the same band, isn’t that enough to declare them the best band ever? Or at least the best band for the best season, right?

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