This long-awaited studio follow-up to Tusk doesn’t harken back to that somewhat disappointing 1979 album, nor does it bear much semblance to the band’s earlier, more successful releases, such as Fleetwood Mac and Rumours. It is unique — pleasant enough — but hardly destined for the multi-platinum status of its predecessors.
The over-all feel is one of understatement. Nothing stands out in particular, and the group seems more interested in creating a pleasant little summertime groove than in grabbing listeners by the shoulders and shaking them up. It is an album of fair-to-mediocre songs that somehow add up to more than the sum of their parts.
The writing credits are divided fairly equally among Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, whose five numbers are all fairly banal. He writes silly, lightweight pop songs in the Paul McCartney vein, and none of the band’s remaining four members seem very interested in adding anything inspiring. As a result, “Empire State” and “Book of Love” have that same thin, unexciting feel as the numbers on Buckingham’s recent solo release, Law and Order.
However, the material by McVie and Nicks is strong enough to save the album. McVie’s songs are unassuming, but pleasant. “Only Over You” is dedicated to Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, and utilizes some nice little Beach Boys harmonies. As for Nicks, although her “Gypsy” is a song in search of a melody, “Straight Back” is the best thing on the album. Nicks’ vocals soar over a simple and pervasive backbeat, raising the song almost to the status enjoyed by such Fleetwood classics as “Rhiannon.”
Over all, though, Mirage seems a touch uninspired. In the rhythm section, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie appear to be going through the motions, straining themselves as little as possible. In fact, there’s more meat to one side of Nicks’ recent solo effort, “Dreams,” than Mirage can boast in total.
- Mirage Fleetwood Mac
- Saturday, July 17, 1982
- Warner Brothers 92 36071
Alan Niester / Globe and Mail (Canada) / July 17, 1982