Mirage (1982)

1. Love in Store 2. Can't Go Back 3. That's Alright 4. Book of Love 5. Gypsy 6. Only Over You 7. Empire State 8. Straight Back 9. Hold me 10.Oh Diane 11.Eyes of the World 12.Wish You Were Here


As the new decade of the eighties emerged, there were plenty of rumors that this band was through. The reasons are mostly typical of why a band would split, but in addition to the regular reasons, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks and found some success with their solo endeavors, especially Nicks. She would captivate the world as a solo artist for the next few years, and, in what is common in these cases, such artists aren't necessarily keen to leave their solo success and go back to sharing the spotlight in their particular band.

They did get back, which was good, but they managed to put out probably the weakest of their albums that featured the "classic" lineup. For the most part, the songs are all good. But that's about it - just "good". It sounds like they're trying very hard to play it safe and not venture into any adventurous, unexplored territory. It was that exploratory spirit that made their last three albums classics, but it could be that the band members were still rocked up by the Tusk album, which many saw as too experimental, so maybe they were trying to go the opposite direction and make things as simple and safe as possible.

Lindsey Buckingham is hurt the worst by this restraint. He sounds as though the other members have him on a very, very short leash. His songs are much more "pop" friendly, yet it's hard to imagine that this is what he could have wanted for his own material. Remember, it was his songs on Tusk that pushed the band the hardest into a new, strange world, so he probably recorded this album kicking and screaming. His songs like Book of Love and Oh Diane sound like he's plodding through the tunes, just trying to get through them as quick and as painless as possible. A great example of this restraint versus what it could have sounded like is his song Eyes of the World. Again, here it sounds restrained, but if you've ever seen the band play this song live, you'll note that it's almost an entirely different song. It sounds very "Tusk-ish", and it sounds much better when performed live. Maybe because he had just released his own solo album, he felt like he had a chance to let out his creative energies to their full potential, so this experience of restraing didn't "bother" him as much as it might have otherwise.

Nicks and McVie each have a couple of good songs as well. Nicks' Gypsy is great stuff, and, without a doubt, the best and most well known song here. Sadly, she only has two other tracks, both of which are o.k. Straight Back sounds o.k., but it's sadly a bit forgettable and That's Alright definitely has a Country Western feel that is surprisingly quite good and makes you wish they had explored this territory a bit more in their catalog. Christine McVie's Hold Me is another stand out (it was rightly a hit as well) and Love in Store is quite possibly the most underrated song on the album.

Whatever the intention, the overall feel of the album sounds as though they purposely played it safe. Not a bad record, but definitely subpar compared to all their great material released before and after this release.

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