Release Date: Aug 14, 2012
Record label: Hear Music
Wes Anderson's music guru Randall Poster produced this tribute with Gelya Robb, and it's as inspired as their 2011 LP Rave On Buddy Holly. Aside from Antony's sparkling "Landslide," the less-familiar stuff is most striking. Trixie Whitley turns "Before the Beginning" into a howling séance; Billy Gibbons steers "Oh Well" away from the Ren Faire. Some radio staples – including the Kills' leaden "Dreams" – fizzle, but Best Coast give "Rhiannon" a Courtney-meets-Darlene Love vibe.
Tribute albums are always tricky. You take the collective works of a beloved band, handpick tracks and turn them into a musical grab bag. Some will praise it, others will despise it. This is no exception. While there are some lackluster renditions of Fleetwood Mac super-hits (Craig Wedren and St ….
Tribute albums always sound a little better in theory—sometimes even that’s not the case—than they actually are once put into practice. Take a beloved band and a seemingly random collection of artists going through the motions and you’re automatically setting yourself up for disappointment. But every so often, they get done right, and this happens to be one of those times.
Fleetwood Mac was the subject of an all-star tribute back in 1998, when Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours appeared. That full-length album tribute celebrated the Mac's biggest hit in a big way, concentrating entirely on major-label acts like Elton John and Matchbox 20, but 2012's Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac is decidedly more eccentric, as its title -- a line borrowed from "Tusk" -- no doubt suggests. Apart from Marianne Faithfull and Billy Gibbons, along with Americana singer Trixie Whitley, every band here exists solely within the realm of indie rock and, collectively, there's been a decision to stray from the confines of the standards of the Buckingham/Nicks songbook, with Bob Welch and Peter Green eras almost as well-represented as oddities from Lindsey Buckingham's album tracks.
Given the mythos created by the band’s in-fighting, love affairs, and line-up changes over the span of four-plus decades, it’s little wonder that young people continue to discover Fleetwood Mac in karaoke bars and in their parents’ dens after blowing off dust on hardly-played LP records. By including several indie contemporaries alongside already-established rock and roll heroes, Just Tell Me That You Want Me will likely provide yet another way for both younger and more nostalgic generations to connect with Fleetwood Mac’s back catalog. Just Tell Me That You Want Me leads off with “Albatross” by the Lee Ranaldo Band with a little help from J Mascis, proof that Fleetwood Mac’s corpus is in very capable hands throughout the album.
Fleetwood Mac were always cool. Their recording sessions had more sexual tension than a book club reading of Fifty Shades Of Grey. The band members treated private jets like Boris Bikes. They tried to credit their dealer on an album sleeve. They recorded an album, 1977’s ‘Rumours’, that’s ….
Given Fleetwood Mac’s winding history and stylistic diversity that runs from rootsy, psychedelic blues to West Coast dream rock and the sparkly yet occasionally dark and introspective Buckingham/Nicks era folk/pop, it’s no surprise that this “tribute” is just as eclectic. Unlike other such compilations, it features somewhat obscure, mostly edgy contemporary indie acts, mixed with a few old timers like Marianne Faithful, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Sonic Youth’s Lee Renaldo with Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis.
Rather than trying to concoct some specious sociological explanation for the existence of this compilation of alt. rock Fleetwood Mac covers, let’s be clear that indie’s only fractionally ironic love affair with the AOR legends is long lasting and well documented. The Smashing Pumpkins scored a hefty radio hit with a cover of ‘Landslide’ back at the height of grunge; and for reasons I’ve never quite understood, cow-punk deities Camper Van Beethoven once released a track-for-track cover of the Mac’s 1979 double album Tusk.
An eponymous record is the kind of thing most bands get just one shot at. Fleetwood Mac had two. The band's self-titled 1968 debut was the product of what was, at that time, a London-based blues-rock four-piece fronted by guitarist/vocalist Peter Green; the second came out nine albums later, in 1975, and solidified their iconic lineup. Up until then, the group had cycled through members, gradually transforming into a more stable pop-rock unit.
It's a bit of a curiosity that in the past year or two, Fleetwood Mac has turned into a cornerstone of influence in indie-rock. Certainly many of those in their 30s grew up with their parents playing Rumours and Tusk, but 20-somethings today would be lucky to even have been born by the time Fleetwood Mac released the last of their first run Buckingham/Nicks-era albums, Tango In the Night. Still, Just Tell Me That You Want Me collects 17 cover songs, spanning all eras of Fleetwood Mac, from Peter Green's late-'60s incarnation through the Buckingham/Nicks heyday, though the album is predictably weighted heavily toward the latter.
On New Year’s Eve 1974, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac. This solidified a lineup of musicians that would become one of the most enduring pop ensembles of all time, but that was only one incarnation of Fleetwood Mac. The band had existed since 1967 as a blues-rock outfit fronted by Peter Green, but the group couldn’t hold down a consistent lineup, losing guitarists and songwriters to drugs, legal entanglements, and even religious conversions.
VARIOUS ARTISTS “Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac” (Hear Music) With few exceptions, multi-artist tribute albums are irritatingly patchwork, too sympathetic or too perfunctory, overthought or underthought. They age badly or aren’t worth a second thought. (The producer Hal Willner has created more than his share of the exceptions.) Sometimes they want to be liked by the wrong people: those receiving the tribute, not the audience.
Fleetwood Mac’s influence on alternative music seems to be becoming ever greater as they are cited by innumerable musicians from across the musical spectrum. As well as a large number of name checks, 2012 has seen yet more Fleetwood Mac interest generated by the announcement that the group will reconvene for a 2013 tour. It is therefore an extremely apposite time for ‘Just Tell Me That You Want Me’, a tribute album recorded by a disparate mix of alternative musicians young and old to be released.One of the great things about Fleetwood Mac is the timelessness and inclusiveness of their music.
A well-compiled covers set with some true standout interpretations. Mike Diver 2012 Much like Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac have managed to bridge the divide between stadium-packing mainstream appeal and contemporary indie-scene credibility. Head to any All Tomorrow’s Parties festival and there’s a strong likelihood that a DJ will be spinning Rhiannon or The Chain to a swollen dancefloor (one writes from experience.) So it was inevitable that a gaggle of above- and below-radar sorts from today’s indie world would eventually pay tribute.