Just Tell Me That You Want Me: Tribute To Fleetwood Mac
Following the heartening news that trans-Atlantic rock gods Fleetwood Mac will be reuniting for what is surely be the last time, some of the world's best have given a special salute in the form of Just Tell Me That You Want Me: Tribute To Fleetwood Mac. The 17-track testimonial features the likes of Best Coast, the Kills and Lykke Li, all of whom will attempt to pinpoint the crux in the delicate balance between preservation and originality. This quest for the holy grail in the menacing realm of covers is made that much more arduous thanks to the highest of regards that Fleetwood Mac hold in many a heart, mine included.
The album opens promisingly with Lee Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth fame) teaming up with Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis for with their heavily reverbed take on the band's utopian instrumental 1960s hit 'Albatross'. Antony (without his Johnsons) follows immediately after with a moving version of 'Landslide', which sees his ghoulish vocals perfectly suited to haunt the bemoaning subject matter.
After this encouraging start, my previously held qualms about a cover album of this nature subsided; unfortunately these were quickly returned with a limited number of questionable attempts dotted throughout. One such instance comes with Craig Wedren & St Vincent's disappointing crack at 'Sisters of the Moon', that sees a classic turned into something that would be more suited to a My Chemical Romance convention. This disappointment is shared with MGMT's self-indulgent nine minute demolition of 'Future Games' that sees the marrying of Autotune and Fleetwood Mac, a pairing I hope never to be subjected to again.
Whilst these two negative attempts left me wincing, the sheer volume of tastefully-preserved-yet-undeniably-innovative efforts restored my faith to some extent. Whether it be Lykke Li's woolgathering version of 'Silver Spring' or Best Coast's optimistic take on 'Rhiannon', a large majority of the tracks manage to find the aforementioned balance to great effect and pay homage to the establishment that is Fleetwood Mac in the best way possible.
A singular crowning moment for me was hard to pin down but personal favorites included Billy Gibbons & Co's tarnished backcountry version of 'Oh Well', which sees his whiskey-eroded vocals used to great effect. Folk legend Bonnie 'Prince' Billy teaming up with Matt Sweeney is another with their enchanting cover of 'Storms', which left me somewhat dumbfounded by its serenity and of course, the ever-present Kills manage to remain as impressive as ever with their take on 1977 hit 'Dreams'.
All in all, what this tribute album manages to do is showcase Fleetwood Mac in a light never seen before and from this huge variety of genre and style, comes the unique charm that lies within this timely collection of cover songs.