16th Feb 2017
We’ve got an early version of one of the standouts from Tango in the Night for you. Have a listen and let us know what you think
Fleetwood Mac have spent the past few years reissuing their peerless back catalogue in the obligatory remastered, expanded, deluxe editions. Last year brought us the 1982 album Mirage, which somehow managed to make an album already slathered in cocaine sound even more cokey, all sheen and shine.
Next up is Tango in the Night, coming out on Warner on 10 March, and we’ve got this early, unreleased version of the Stevie Nicks track Seven Wonders for you. It’s longer but also a little harsher than the album version, drawing out the fatalism of the chorus and de-emphasising the keyboard hook.
Tango in the Night came out five years after Mirage, and had originally been planned as a Lindsey Buckingham solo record – Nicks spent only two weeks in the studio with the band because she was concentrating on her solo career. Be thankful that it became a full-band record, because the album became defined not by his songs but by the contributions of the other writers; without the two singles from Christine McVie – Everywhere and Little Lies – it would be a very different record. While many Mac fans might have their favourite writer in the group, it takes all three of Buckingham, Nicks and McVie to balance the group. It was noticeable how different the shows with McVie back in the band were to those when the group was performing only the Buckingham and Nicks songs; it was if her songs were the bridge between Nicks’s airy proto-gothiness and Buckingham’s barely suppressed rage.
That balance is what makes Tango in the Night so great. For all that the music is of a piece – sophisticated, slick, without ever being over-complicated – it manages to shift through moods effortlessly. Buckingham is on edge throughout and has explained that Big Love, his single from the album, gets misinterpreted: when he sings that he is “looking out for love”, he doesn’t mean he is looking for love, he is putting himself on guard for it. In the title track, he’s restless, discomfited (“Try to sleep, sleep won’t come”); Caroline upbraids a woman who is crazy and lazy; Family Man seems to be a hymn to domestic stability, but even then he can’t help observing that “the road gets tough”.
McVie’s songs appear much more straightforward. Everywhere is a simple, gorgeous statement of love; Little Lies its counterpart, the realisation that the feelings of Everywhere depend on self-deception. Nicks’s are neither straightforward, nor angry: Welcome to the Room … Sara was written after treatment at the Betty Ford clinic, and uncertainty echoes throughout her contributions (“If I see you again / Will it be the same?” she asks on When I See You Again. “If I see you again / Will it be over?”), and Seven Wonders exemplifies that, with Nicks confronting the notion that even living to see the seven wonders will never match what she has lost.