Rumours Review

By Rachel Brown
125It seems to be a common thread among many great rock bands that their best work is produced during times of great strife within the group, as with The Beatles’ Abbey Road or Pink Floyd’s The Wall. One of the greatest examples of a flawless album produced in just such a scenario could be none other than Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Struggling to survive as a whole in a tangled web of mismatched relationships and bitter divorce, Fleetwood Mac banded together to produce one of the most beautiful albums of all time.
While the music was light enough to produce many radio hits, the irony of the album rests in its lyrics. Kicking off the record is Lindsey Buckingham’s toe-tapping “Secondhand News,” with a melody so delightful that you almost miss the pain it masks. The bitter rage he spits at his lost love seems to dissolve in the catchy twang of his voice.

This camouflaged frustration continues to build throughout the beginning of the album, culminating in a climax at “The Chain.” The first song on the B-side, “The Chain” is the only song the group wrote as whole, and every lyric resonates with the agony they are trying to express, attempting to function as a collective in the midst of personal conflict. It is a catharsis that has been building for six songs.

The tension now broken, the album instantly grows lighter with “You Make Loving Fun.” However, the roller coaster resumes after this refreshing intermission, and the second half of the album offers no more resolution to Fleetwood Mac’s dilemma than the first did. In this way, Rumours should be listened to not merely as a series of successful hits but as an all-inclusive work of art that represents the cyclicality of love and the broad range of emotions it invokes.

The music is beautiful and the lyrics stimulating, which is why I find Rumours timeless and worthy of being deemed flawless. Apparently I’m not the only one, as it was awarded a Grammy in 1978 for Album of the Year. Give it another listen for old time’s sake, and enjoy the raw emotion and brooding intensity that shaped this iconic album.

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