|First posted 9/17/2020.|
Released: October 12, 1979
Peak: 4 US, 11 UK, 2 CN, 11 AU
Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.3 UK, 6.5 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: classic rock
Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 74:25
3.968 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)
Quotable: “a bracing, weirdly affecting work that may not be as universal or immediate as Rumours, but is every bit as classic. As a piece of pop art, it's peerless.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
About the Album:
“More than any other Fleetwood Mac album, Tusk is born of a particular time and place – it could only have been created in the aftermath of Rumours, which shattered sales records, which in turn gave the group a blank check for its next album. But if they were falling apart during the making of Rumours, they were officially broken and shattered during the making of Tusk, and that disconnect between bandmembers resulted in a sprawling, incoherent, and utterly brilliant 20-track double album.” AMG Editor’s note: is it possible to write a review of a double album without using the word “sprawling”?
By comparison to Rumours, which sold 40 million copies worldwide, spent 31 weeks atop the U.S. Billboard album chart, and sported four top-ten singles, Tusk was destined to be viewed as a flop. It peaked at #4, had two top-10 hits, and stalled at a “measly” 6.5 million in sales. “The truth of the matter is that Fleetwood Mac couldn’t top that success no matter how hard they tried, so it was better for them to indulge themselves and come up with something as unique as Tusk.
The band seemed to acknowledge that right out of the gate with the strange “marching band-driven paranoia of the title track” AMG The song signalled that this wasn’t going to be an album that actively sought pop success, although that song did reach the top 10.
That track also made it clear that this album would be a Lindsey Buckingham-dominated affair. Like Fleetwood Mac and Rumours, Tusk offers “smooth, reflective work from all three songwriters,” AMG the others being Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks. The latter most notably offers up “Dreams Part II” with Sara, another top-10 affair.
However, even when McVie and Nicks take their turns at songwriting and singing, Buckinham’s presence is still felt with “an ethereal, floating quality that turns them into welcome respites from the seriously twisted immersions into Buckingham’s id.” AMG He composed nearly half the album and “owns this record with his nervous energy and obsessive production, winding up with a fussily detailed yet wildly messy record unlike any other.” AMG
Tusk “is the ultimate cocaine album – it’s mellow for long stretches, and then bursts wide open in manic, frantic explosions, such as the mounting tension on The Ledge or the rampaging That's Enough for Me.” AMG “This is mainstream madness, crazier than Buckingham’s idol Brian Wilson and weirder than any number of cult classics.” AMG It “is a bracing, weirdly affecting work that may not be as universal or immediate as Rumours, but is every bit as classic. As a piece of pop art, it's peerless.” AMG
Notes: A 2004 deluxe edition added a second disc of alternate versions of songs from the album. In 2015, a 5-CD version was released with unreleased demos, live tracks, and alternate versions.
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