Behind the Mask (1990)

1. Skies the Limit 2. Love is Dangerous 3. In the Back of My Mind 4. Do You Know 5. Save Me 6. Affairs of the Heart 7. When the Sun Goes Down 8. Behind the Mask 9. Stand on the Rock 10.Hard Feelings 11.Freedom 12.When it Comes to Love 13.The Second Time


When Fleetwood Mac took the world by surprise with their highly successful comeback album Tango in the Night in 1987, nobody was expecting Lindsey Buckingham to call it quits and leave the band immediately following. Especially so soon. He actually bailed before they even toured to support the album. Personnel changes were not uncommon for this band, but this was the first time they had confronted this in over a decade, and they never had these issues as soon as their popularity skyrocketed to the stars. The band quickly recruited guitarists Billy Burnette and Rick Vito as new members. Rumors were that Buckingham was such a strong presence, that it took two people to fill his shoes. Others were skeptical of such an assessment. I'm not entirely sure why myself, since I'm not much of a musician (actually I'm not a musician at all).

I am a big fan of music, and what I, and millions of others believe, is that you just can't replace a Lindsey Buckingham. Oh, they try - and this album does have a lot of respectable material. The quality songs aren't limited to the Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks tunes either, although it was becoming more difficult to distinguish songs by "person" since they were more into the "co-writing" thing and the member that sang the song may not necessarily have been the key writer. Two of the strongest songs written by one or both of the newcomers are the tribal In the Back of My Mind, which manages to sound very much in the style of Fleetwood Mac - it almost sounds as though it was written for Tango in the Night, and the rockabilly When the Sun Goes Down, which sounds very fresh and invigorating. Maybe the new guys weren't up to par with the departed Buckingham, but they proved they could write some quality, diverse music.

McVie and Nicks manage to put out some strong numbers as well. McVie is definitely in top form, and her tracks such as Skies the Limit, Save Me and the title track Behind the Mask really carry the album. Nicks, while still not as strong as she was in the seventies, manages to make dramatic improvements over the last Mac effort with songs such as Affairs of the Heart and the beautiful, quiet The Second Time.

Sadly, the album is also weighted down by too much mediocrity - especially towards the latter half of the album. Once we get to the annoying Stand on the Rock, it sounds like the band basically gave up and/or purposely put all the strong tracks at the beginning of the album. The album deserves more credit that it received, yet it was clear that the magic recipe of Buckingham-McVie-Nicks just couldn't be replicated with different members no matter how hard they tried.

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