Aaron Worley | Arts & Entertainment Editor
When the rock band Fleetwood Mac released “Tusk” in 1978, it shocked critics and audiences alike. It sounded like a new genre of music, something much more experimental than what was done by the band before. That was the intention of one of the band’s members, Lindsey Buckingham, who was influenced by some of the other styles of music at the time, particularly punk rock and a choppier version of blues music called, “New wave.”
With their next album, “Mirage,” the band ventured back into the roots that made them so popular; a soft rock journey which gave them the appeal of many listeners worldwide and that commercial-friendly sound that was almost universal in emotional connection towards the same people. The album, also drawing from varying areas of pop rock, revealed the key features of the band that made them so popular: harmonies, smooth guitar, and Stevie Nicks’ mystical, yet captivating voice.
“Book of Love,” for example, showcases the raunchy fierceness of Buckingham’s vocals, coupled with an electric guitar overdub which gives the song a groovy feel. Perhaps the most organized of all the tracks on the album, the harmonies are soft enough in the background to keep from overwhelming the song, while giving it the tried-and-true commercial sound. This technique is again replicated on the preceding track, “Gypsy,” which is disputably one of the most popular songs on the project.
Nicks makes the song personal as she should; behind the scenes, it serves as a testament to her life before joining the band, including a brief musical group called, “Buckingham Nicks.” Obviously this is a juxtaposition formed by the last names of the two members, who would of course join Fleetwood Mac later. It describes their struggles, the poor conditions that they had to endure to eat and sleep properly. A prime example of the soft rock turn, the drums fully complement Nicks’ vocals, as she sings, “And you see your gypsy” as one of the standout lines of the track.
As a track by itself, “Hold Me” gives many of the elements present for an enjoyable listen; one that is both comforting and gratifying. The guitars screech in conjunction with soft piano, and the complemented sound that this gives off highlights the production on the album, and arrangement techniques. Made for the average listener, yet complex enough for an aficionado of the band to appreciate in a deeper way, the widespread versatility of the composition is something to be genuinely admired.
“Wish You Were Here,” the closing track of the album, traverses into the territory of an almost romantic side of the band. Bass and unified synchronizations between the band’s singers pepper the track, adding more definition to the sensitive excursion that is meant to be taken. The best part of the project as a whole, though, is not that it blends multiple genres successfully, while making them unique to the band; instead it is the heartfelt tugs that Nicks pulls within the listener. They are captivated by the experience, drawn closer to it, and unconsciously react to the lyrics that give them a true sense of the album’s timeless sentiment. That, therefore, is the true beauty of “Mirage.”