Various Artists: Just Tell Me That You Want Me – Tribute to Fleetwood Mac

If any band deserves one of these ever popular tribute albums, it’s Fleetwood Mac. Just Tell Me That You Want Me is a mostly solid collection of classic Fleetwood Mac songs as covered by a diverse selection of modern bands. Among them are Antony (of the Johnsons), Lykke Li, Bonnie Prince Billy, Marianne Faithfull, The Kills, St. Vincent, The New Pornographers and The Crystal Ark. You can stream the entire album below.

“Albatross” by Lee Ranaldo Band featuring J Mascis is a disappointingly bland instrumental intro, but the album soon gets off to a proper start with Antony‘s lovely and unexpectedly understated cover of “Landslide.”

Trixie Whitley gives a soulful, gut-rumbling blues rendition of “Before The Beginning.”

Billy Gibbons & Co.’s “Oh Well” is a clanging, thumping, thunderous piece of blues-rock machinery.

Best Coast’s peppy “Rhiannon” is a painful example of lost potential. Their claphappy retro girl pop rendition strips the song completely of all its magic and drama.

If only Lykke Li had been granted that cover in addition to her spectacular, ghostly rendering of “Silver Springs.” Now this is an artist who knows how to interpret a song in a fresh and enchanting way without sacrificing the substance of the original.

The Kills’s dark-rock “Dreams” is equally mesmeric.

Karen Elson also does a surprisingly worthy cover of “Gold Dust Woman.” She made a smart choice by going for something in between the rocked up definitive cover by Hole and the haunting, more acoustic style of Fleetwood Mac’s original. Elson was also a highlight on last year’s Rave On Buddy Holly tribute.

Gardens & Villa’s languid take of “Gypsy” isn’t quite as atmospheric as the original, but it’s still good.

The Crystal Ark are one of the few here who successfully alter the integral arrangement of a Fleetwood Mac song. Their futuristic, electro-funk retooling of “Tusk” works amazingly well.

MGMT, however, failed to do the same with their annoying computerized “Future Games.” It’s almost funny how I can consistently dislike a band even when I don’t realize it’s them I’m listening to.

The remaining tracks aren’t interesting enough to warrant either praise or criticism. All in all, it’s definitely one of the better tribute albums to be released in the past decade. But there are some glaring omissions – most notably “The Chain” and “Go Your Own Way.” And, like most modern compilations, its long-term appeal may suffer from too many forgettable of-the-moment bands.


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