One thing you will quickly learn after knowing me for some time is that I love Fleetwood Mac. And it’s not a casual love — it’s a “I spent the entire summer before I started college researching everything I could about them” kind of love. So yeah, without under exaggerating, they’re one of my favorite bands of all time and I have a lot of feelings about them because I love them so much. Consider this first of many in a sporadic series I will title Fleetwood Mac Rants.
Let me start this rant by saying I have a favor to ask Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks directly.
Hi Stevie, Hi Lindsey — you two are icons and literally everything you both have ever done has creatively inspired me for a huge chunk of my life. And a lot of people would agree with me that your genius extends since before you both joined Fleetwood Mac. So, I am asking you to find a way to re-release Buckingham Nicks.
What’s that Kelly? Buckingham Nicks? What’s that? OH LET ME TELL YOU.
Right before Stevie and Lindsey joined Fleetwood Mac, they were a couple and a musical duo trying to make it in LA. They only released one album, the CRIMINALLY underrated Buckingham Nicks.
This album contains the seeds of genius that made Fleetwood Mac the powerhouse of emotionally poetic music that it is. Without Buckingham Nicks, there would be no solo careers from Lindsey and Stevie. Without Buckingham Nicks, there would be no Rumours. Without Buckingham Nicks, there would be no Fleetwood Mac as we know and love it. That’s a world I don’t even wanna IMAGINE.
So there’s several things I want to talk about regarding this album that clearly show why we need a re-release now.
The Musical Genius of Stevie Nicks
It is a fair statement to say that I live my life like one big Stevie Nicks tribute. This iconic woman has been crucial to my development in the world. I find endless inspiration from her in everything fashion, songwriting, learning how to be an independent woman, and in owning my femininity while still rocking out in spaces where I’m the only woman. She’s an icon for a reason and I’m one of millions of women that feel like that.
This album shows her pure, unadulterated mysticism so well. From her passionate vocals to her inspired lyrical prowess, we see the genius of Stephanie Lynn Nicks before her twirling chiffon covered stage persona took shape. And you know what, I think it’s also fair to say that this is some of her most captivating work.
The album starts off strong with her song “Crying in the Night.” It’s folky and heavy on storytelling but Stevie sings it with the Janis Joplin gusto she picked up while opening for her with her and Lindsey’s first band, Fritz.
Another Stevie highlight is the beauty of her song “Crystal.” Lindsey sings this one, but it’s all Stevie’s words. For you other Fleetwood Mac super fans, you might recognize this song as being on the self titled Fleetwood Mac album after Stevie and Lindsey had joined the band.
I was OBSESSED with this song my freshman year of college because it was haunting and the lyrics leave a lot of room for interpretation. To me, it’s been a very spiritual song and the imagery remind me of staring at the Pacific Ocean from Pepperdine’s hilly campus.
Seeing Stevie shine lyrically and vocally here shows that she’s always been the captivating presence we know her as. Her ability to draw you into a story but still leave room for interpretation is the mark of a good storyteller. God, I will never stop trying to be Stevie Nicks.
The Musical Genius of Lindsey Buckingham
When people say that their favorite guitar player is Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix or any of the usual suspects, I get it because they’re good. But I wholeheartedly believe that Lindsey Buckingham is the best guitar player of all time.
I don’t know HOW but this man makes it sound like three guitars are playing when it’s just him. He has such profound technical picking skills that it’s ridiculously easy for him to communicate a feeling in his guitar playing. He is the first person whose sheer talent has hypnotized me into realizing that words aren’t needed to feel or express something.
Another thing I love about him is his ability to go absolutely PRIMAL while performing and how he leaves room in the writing and recording for it. I’ve been blessed to see him a few times live, both solo and with members of Fleetwood Mac, and EVERY TIME, I’m floored by how INTO IT he gets. It’s something that he definitely makes space for in his writing and recording process.
To expand on that, he has a clear vision for the music he makes and it’s riveting to discover. It’s really all over this album.
The second song, “Stephanie”, is a pure instrumental that somehow exactly explains who Stevie Nicks is. THERE ARE NO WORDS BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE HER. I’m amazed.
Another shining moment from Lindsey on this album is his song “Without a Leg to Stand On.” The melody of this song will get stuck in your head. Ugh, it’s just prime Buckingham melody writing + insane guitar work.
The Magic of Them Together
Now that I’ve highlighted both Stevie and Lindsey for their own separate talents, here’s why the two of them together is distilled magic in a bottle: when Stevie and Lindsey come together, they complement each other’s ability to communicate both a story and a feeling.
This album, like many later Fleetwood Mac albums, feels like a musical conversation. It’s a back and forth of Stevie and Lindsey trading stories and concerns about their relationship.
One of the album’s best examples of the magic of their musical partnership is the song “Long Distance Winner.”
This song is hypnotizing from the get-go with Lindsey’s picking, background wailing guitars, and that scratching percussion. Then Stevie comes in with her gorgeous lyrics and pleading rock and roll voice. “Long Distance Winner” has these minor key turns with little peeks of sunshiny major chords. It’s moody, it’s folky with an edge, and it just shows the best of both of them.
The magic in this album hits a climax in the final song, “Frozen Love.”
That song. Oh Jesus THAT SONG. I have so much to talk about THAT SONG. What I’ll say here is that it explains the tension of their relationship better than ANYTHING they have written after.
It’s tense musically, yet there’s a sense of support in the lyrics. Y’all, THERE IS NO BETTER WAY to describe the Buckingham/Nicks partnership than tense but with undertones of support. Lindsey and Stevie know they have a special magic together but have constantly butt heads for decades. For a long time, they were able to put aside their differences to keep the magic going. Unfortunately, it looks like they’re not on the same page with that currently. God, I hope they change their minds soon. Because ugh, the music they make together is so beautiful, so timeless, and I feel like their musical chemistry shouldn’t end on a sour note.
Together, they complete the picture of what it means to communicate vulnerability in music. Stevie brings the vulnerability in the lyrics and Lindsey brings the vulnerability in the music. Simply put, that’s why they complement each other so well. It’s a musical partnership that JUST WORKS.
Fleetwood Mac History
Now let’s talk about the cultural significance of this album.
One of the things that makes me proud to be part of the older Gen Z crowd is how much we love Fleetwood Mac. Like idk if everyone’s here for the music, the drama, the fashion or what but I’m not the only one who’s here for Fleetwood Mac. We literally made a dude on a skateboard drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice and vibing to “Dreams” go viral on TikTok last year. Like “Dreams” was on Spotify’s Viral Hits playlist because people were VIBING. Then, for a second, Fleetwood Mac UNITED because of that amidst yet another period of drama.
All that said, Gen Z and future generations deserve to see where this part of the magic started.
Thanks to Mick Fleetwood, the first few chapters of Fleetwood Mac the blues rock band have been pretty well-preserved. I gotta tell y’all about them in another rant because they deserve recognition and praise too.
But without this album, Fleetwood Mac as we know it would not exist. Like Lindsey and Stevie would’ve never joined the band without it. That’s actually all thanks to “Frozen Love.” Yes, THAT SONG. Do you have chills yet?! Because I get chills EVERY TIME I REMEMBER IT WAS THAT SONG THAT STARTED IT ALL.
So the story goes that Mick Fleetwood was touring Sound City, the studio where Stevie and Lindsey recorded the album. Mick was getting a tour from their producer, Keith Olsen, who worked at the studio. Literally with just the intent to show off the studio, he played “Frozen Love” and that gave Mick the lightbulb moment of all lightbulb moments: “This is the guitar player I’ve been looking for to join Fleetwood Mac.”
This MASTERPIECE of a song is chilling in a truly supernatural way. Like I mentioned earlier, it perfectly illustrates the Buckingham/Nicks relational tension and both of their pure musical genius minds. On top of that though, it’s the same hypnotism that Fleetwood Mac is KNOWN FOR. You listen to this song and it’s crystal clear (no pun intended) why Mick Fleetwood was like “who’s the guitar player here? I want him to join the band.”
I’m sorry, I should ask again. DO YOU HAVE CHILLS YET?! Like have you ever seen such a perfect introduction to inviting two people into a band. I have yet to see something as cinematic as this play out in real life. I need this whole thing dramatized NOW.
So now that I’ve finished imploding my feelings all over the internet: Stevie, Lindsey — I hope you consider putting aside your differences to join forces in blessing the world once again with your talent. This album is what we call a “no skips” album because of the genius you both possess and the cultural significance to the story of Fleetwood Mac. Please consider my plea as a huge fan of both of you.
P.S. I won’t be hurt if you don’t do it, but I will be very very very very very very sad. So please. Don’t make me cry any more than this album already has.
Aaaannnddd just so we can all get on the same page, here’s the full album on YouTube (for now). This is a “no skips” album so please give yourself space to be wowed as you listen.