Memories of Meantime | Uncut Magazine

Christine McVie on her ‘lost’ third album

In September 2004, six years after retiring from Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie released her third solo album, In The Meantime. It was a casual affair, Helped by her nephew Dan perfect and featuring contributions from former Fleetwood Mac member Billy Burnetts, ex-husband Eddy Quintela and singer-songwriter Robbie Pattern (with whom she wrote “Hold Me” in the early 1980s.

Recorded entilely in her garage in rural Kent, In The Meantime feature some of the strongest songs in decades, including the sweet opener “Friend” the globe-trotting travelogue “Bad Journey” and the devastating “So Sincere” (“Didn’t you like my love song darling? I was so sincere”). “It’s a great little record.” she says. “My nephew happens to be pretty handy with ProTools, and he plays a pretty good guitar. He did quite a bit of writing on it as well. He and I get on really well, I think because we share the same self-deprecating humour. It was a successful project inasmuch as it brought us closer together.

It was not a particular successful however, in other regards, and McVie blames herself and her fear of flying for the record’s failure to fine an audience. “I couldn’t even contemplate going on the road with it. I did fly to New York once, bit I had to get drunk to do it. So then album died a graceful death.

In retrospect, In The Meantime holds up surprisingly well, especially when compared to Fleetwood Mac’s more bombastic Say You Will, released the year before. It was the band’s first record in 36 years without McVie, and her love songs are greatly missed. “Even with John and Mick playing, it was a glorified Buckingham-Nicls album,” she says, referring to the duo’s pre-Mac release. “I think that element of me might have been missing, those love songs that are both intimate and commercial. So to be back in the band again is just magical.

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Fleetwood Mac: Tango In The Night Deluxe Edition Review | Classic Rock Magazine

The soundtrack to the Yuppie era in all its designer-suited finery.

There’s a reason that 1980s nostalgia has never really taken hold, and that’s because the 1980s generally sucked. Sure, interesting things were happening on the fringes, but mainstream culture was taking the express elevator all the way down to Yuppie Hell. And playing through the speakers in that elevator was Tango In The Night.

With 1977’s Rumours, Fleetwood Mac had accidentally invented the 80s in all its self-absorbed cocaine glory three years early. A decade on, the pharmaceutical vitality which gave that album its spirit had given way to the hollow-souled, million-dollar chintz of Tango In The Night. That it sold by the truckload tells you all you need to know about 1987.

This 30th-anniversary ‘deluxe’ edition is the musical equivalent of digging up a Blue Peter time capsule and finding the films of Sylvester Stallone on VHS. In both cases, you can’t help thinking: “Did people really like that shit?” As with Rocky IV and Rambo, Fleetwood Mac’s 14th album has not aged well. The twinkling keyboards and electronic drums that cling to Everywhere and Little Lies like an Exxon Valdez oil slick may have been state of the art in 1987, but then so was the Sinclair C5.

But the production isn’t the biggest problem here — the songs are. Whatever magic Mac once possessed had long since been dispelled by time and internal psychodramas. Lindsey Buckingham would once have dismissed Family Man and You And I, Part II for being too trite, Christine McVie’s Mystified is barely a breath away from lift music, while Stevie Nicks’ increasingly strangulated warbling has the emotional resonance of a goat being strangled by a goose.


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