Record #338: Fleetwood Mac – Mirage (1982)

A lot can happen in ten years. For Fleetwood Mac, between 1972 and 1982, they saw at least four lineup changes, which led to the iconic pairing of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, which became the most celebrated incarnation of the band (and rightfully so). Halfway through the decade, they released Rumours, their undisputed opus, onset by the romantic tension between its bandleaders. In 1981, Stevie Nicks released her first solo record, Bella Donna. So what was next for Fleetwood Mac, five years, one album, and a solo career separated from their most iconic work?
Honestly, Mirage could be a lot worse–they avoid the ill fated synth pop of many of their contemporaries, and nothing on here is terrible (“Diane,” with its doo wop meets island pastiche is the worst it gets), but for the most part, the record is largely uninspired. The sole exception is “Gypsy,” which would fit right on Rumours (it also features one of my favorite guitar solos in all of rock history). Other than that one brilliant track, Fleetwood Mac sounds like they’re in a holding pattern. Nothing outright terrible, but a solid B- from a band who had delivered a perfect album just five years earlier.

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