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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Muruch Classic Albums Appreciation Club: Week 18

Last week’s selection, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, is widely accepted as a classic pop-rock album due to its plethora of hit singles: “Dreams,” “Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain,” “You Make Loving Fun” and “Gold Dust Woman.” But those only familiar with the band’s commercial successes may be surprised to hear the delicate folk of the album’s non singles (of which, granted, there are few) or Christine McVie’s gentle croon on the ballad “Songbird” – probably best known as covered by the late, great Eva Cassidy. Rumours is generally viewed as Fleetwood’s Mac’s masterpiece, an opinion fueled almost as much by the romantic drama behind the scenes (particularly between lead singers Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks) as by the artistic merit of the actual music. Some of the softer songs suffered from poor audio quality – at least on the version of the CD I own – but otherwise, the album is as interesting and melodic a listen as ever and Buckingham/Nicks remain one of the most talented songwriting duos of all time.

This week’s classic album is…Pearl Jam: Ten

To recap the procedure here: At the beginning of each week, I’ll post brief thoughts on the previous week’s listening experience along with the coming week’s classic album selection. Then sometime in the week that follows, we’ll all take the time to listen to the album from beginning to end with no distractions. It can be as simple as just getting away from the computer to listen alone or you can make an event of it with candles, beverages and friends. Whatever format you play the album in or the manner in which you listen, just give the music your full and undivided attention.

Feel free to comment or email your opinions of our selections and recommendations for classic albums (from any decade, including this one).

Muruch Classic Albums Appreciation Club: Week 17

I was surprised I didn’t enjoy listening to last week’s pick, Nirvana’s In Utero, more than I did. It’s an undeniably great album and I think some of its songs – particularly “Heart Shaped Box,” “Pennyroyal Tea” and “All Apologies” – remain among Nirvana’s strongest work. Yet despite having been one of my favorite albums in high school, these days I must admit that at least part of my affection for In Utero was fueled by the iconic perception of Nirvana’s music and my teenage adversity to Nevermind‘s mainstream popularity. Over the years, I’ve come to agree with the masses that Nevermind is overall superior. But I truly love the band’s bluesy acoustic set on MTV Unplugged in New York much more than their studio albums. In hindsight, In Utero may not be the best introduction to Nirvana, but its certainly better than what passes for rock in this decade.

This week’s classic album is…Fleetwood Mac: Rumours

To recap the procedure here: At the beginning of each week, I’ll post brief thoughts on the previous week’s listening experience along with the coming week’s classic album selection. Then sometime in the week that follows, we’ll all take the time to listen to the album from beginning to end with no distractions. It can be as simple as just getting away from the computer to listen alone or you can make an event of it with candles, beverages and friends. Whatever format you play the album in or the manner in which you listen, just give the music your full and undivided attention.

Feel free to comment or email your opinions of our selections and recommendations for classic albums (from any decade, including this one).