Album Review

Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac

Danielle Raub
The mere mentioning of Fleetwood Mac, and in particular their album Rumours, is apt to send an indie-centered listener into fits of eye-rolls and scoffing. However, many indie music artists and fans may cite them, sheepishly, as a guilty pleasure. Fleetwood Mac enjoyed the forefront of mainstream rock pretty solidly throughout the 70s and 80s, and continued on with a fan-following few bands can match. I love Fleetwood Mac – and trust me, I also have the potential to be a music-snob.

This combination of indie artists with one of my favorite bands of all time should really just hit the mark for me-so much potential! But honestly, I’m a bit underwhelmed. Something like 10 of the 17 tracks on Just Tell Me That You Want Me are covers of Stevie Nicks’ songs. Let’s face it, Nicks does lend herself a little more readily to the indie music scene. She floats around the stage in ethereal black gauze and hair that would make a hipster explode with envy if not for the effortless cool that is required of them. And I’ll admit, I have a considerably-sized girl crush on Ms. Nicks. I just would have liked to have seen a more even distribution among the three main writers in Fleetwood Mac, and something more true to the emotional turmoil and intensity that is so unique to the group.

The Kills’ cover of “Dreams” is a lackluster interpretation- boring and dry at best. Best Coast’s “Rhiannon” is a bouncy and uplifting take, and manages to make itself a song completely separate from the original. I do prefer for covers to be re-interpretations rather than copies, but I’m not a huge fan of the interpretation. It lacks the original’s mystery and story-telling element. Antony’s “Landslide” and Karen Elson’s “Gold Dust Woman” are both very good if you’re looking for near-exact mimicry of the originals. Both of these covers, especially “Gold Dust Woman”, are note-for-note copies.

There are some real gems on the album, including Matt Sweeney and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billie’s “Storms.” The layered harmonies along with the sparse guitar and percussion make this a sweet and true re-interpretation – “Storms” captures the same heartache and ragged emotion of the original. Another gem is Lykke Li’s rendition of “Silver Springs.” The track has an emotional depth that, while different from the original’s dramatic intensity, makes it equally as timeless and heartbreaking.

Other favorites are the covers of “Think About Me”, “Gypsy”, and “Tusk”. The New Pornographers’ “Think About Me” stays true to their aesthetic, as a multi-textured and upbeat song that is well-constructed and intricately produced. Gardens & Villa’s “Gypsy” has a very techno and dreamlike feel that makes it a really a fun listen while The Crystal Arc’s “Tusk” is also a neat and modern twist on the original. “Tusk” plays with some fun percussive flares and retains the same tribal, group vocals that make the original so interesting.

Overall, though equally as enjoyable at times as it is lackluster, Just Tell Me That You Want Me does not quite showcase the true amount of songwriting talent in Fleetwood Mac. And it certainly does not come close to capturing the emotional intensity and sound that make Fleetwood Mac extraordinary.