Fleetwood Mac – Tusk – Some of Our Favorite Twisted Melodic Pop

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  • A MONSTER pressing that simply cannot be beat – all four sides (well, almost) earned our highest sonic grade of Triple Plus (A+++)
  • Staggering Demo Disc Quality sound on the more highly produced tracks, of which there are plenty spread across these two discs
  • The power of the bottom end is especially impressive on all the sides (and John McVie kills it on bass as usual)
  • 5 stars: “Because of its ambitions, Tusk failed to replicate the success of its two predecessors … yet it earned a dedicated cult audience of fans of twisted, melodic pop.” Twisted melodic pop? Sign me up!

This copy is absolutely KILLER, with the kind of transparency, space and openness you simply cannot find on most copies. When the soundstage is as wide and three-dimensional as it is here, it’s amazing how much more SENSE the music starts to make.

And the clarity is not the phony “audiophile” kind that’s the result of too much treble. The tonality is correct throughout, and there’s no lack of richness or warmth to the sound. They just don’t get any better.

The moment the needle hits the grooves you’ll be blown away by the AMAZING CLARITY and PRESENCE. The bass is deep, tight, and full-bodied. The vocals are silky sweet and the electric guitars have tons of meaty texture. The highs are delicate, the bottom end is superb, and the drums are clean and crisp, but not overly so.

Side four is wonderful. Drop the needle on Beautiful Child for some of the best Fleetwood Mac sound you’ll ever hear anywhere. Stevie’s voice is breathy beyond belief.

What these killer sides of the Last Great Fleetwood Mac Album (sigh) have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl import pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1979
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with the keyboards, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we listed above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.  

Talkin’ Tusk

This is one of the more controversial albums in the history of pop music — some people love it, others despise it, and some still don’t know what to make of it. You may not put it up there with Rumours, but when you hear these songs on a copy this good it’s easy to see why the All Music Guide gave Tusk five big stars!

Tusk suffered from high expectations, and disappointed those looking for Rumours II. There is much on this album that compares to the best of Rumours but the weak material somewhat drags the album down as a whole. About three quarters of Tusk is excellent. I made a 60 minute tape of that material and play it with great pleasure. I could tell you about lots of wonderful qualities the best tracks on the album have, but it would take too long. Sorry!

Sonically, the best sounding material ranks right up there with anything the band ever did, but there are more experimental moments such as What Makes You Think You’re The One that are never going to be Demo Quality.

One high point (both musically and sonically) is “Beautiful Child,” possibly the best song Stevie Nicks ever sang. If you listen carefully, and give yourself over totally to the sentiment of the song, and your eyes don’t well up, try opening up a vein and letting some of the ice water pour out, then try it again. Repeat if necessary. If that doesn’t work just give up and put on a Diana Krall CD.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Over & Over 
The Ledge 
Think About Me 
Save Me a Place 
Sara

Side Two

What Makes You Think You’re the One 
Storms 
That’s All for Everyone 
Not That Funny 
Sisters of the Moon

Side Three

Angel
That’s Enough for Me
Brown Eyes
Never Make Me Cry
I Know I’m Not Wrong

Side Four

Honey Hi
Beautiful Child
Walk a Thin Line
Tusk
Never Forget

AMG  5 Star Rave Review

Where Rumours achieved greatness through turmoil, its double-album follow-up, Tusk, is the sound of a band imploding. Lindsey Buckingham began to assume control of Fleetwood Mac during the Rumours sessions, but he dominates Tusk, turning the album into a paranoid roller coaster ride where sweet soft rock is offset by feverish cocaine fantasies.

Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks don’t deviate from their established soft rock and folk-rock templates, and all their songs are first-rate, whether it’s McVie’s “Over and Over” or Nicks’ “Sara.” Buckingham gives these mainstream-oriented songs off-kilter arrangements so they can fit neatly with his nervy, insular yet catchy songs.

Alternating bracing pop/rockers like “The Ledge” and “What Makes You Think You’re the One” with melancholic, Beach Boys-style ballads like “Save Me a Place” and “That’s All for Everyone,” Buckingham subverts pop/rock with weird arrangements and unpredictable melodies, which are nevertheless given accessible productions. Even the hit title track is a strange, menacing threat punctuated by a marching band.

This is as strange as mainstream pop gets, even pushing on the borders of the avant-garde. Because of its ambitions, Tusk failed to replicate the success of its two predecessors (it still went double platinum, though), yet it earned a dedicated cult audience of fans of twisted, melodic pop.