Mack: Tribute to Fleetwood Mac uneven, but worthwhileWritten by Jason Mack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Various artists, “Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac”
With so many hits and lesser-known gems, Fleetwood Mac is the perfect candidate for a cover album. Few of the artists featured are recognizable, but there is a good blend of unique takes and direct covers in the compilation.
The Lee Ranaldo Band opens the album with the instrumental track “Albatross.” The peaceful, bluesy cover is an interesting way to kick off the album but might work better as a closer.
British singer Antony was smart to do a straightforward take on “Landslide.” He sounds more like Tracy Chapman than Stevie Nicks, but it works. It doesn’t come close to the original, but no cover of “Landslide” ever will.
The great thing about this album is it got me listening to Fleetwood Mac songs I never heard before. The best example is Trixie Whitley’s Led Zeppelin-esque cover of “Before the Beginning.” It’s the best song on the album with an early ‘70s trippy rock feel, strong vocals and smooth guitar riffs. I only knew a handful of the artists featured on the album going in, but I plan to get to know a few more of them now with Whitley at the top of the list.
Best Coast’s upbeat cover of “Rhiannon” sounds like it belongs on a CD for kids. It completely misses the point of the song and is a low point of this album. The vocals are reminiscent of Nicks, but the music is far from Fleetwood Mac.
Karen Elson, former wife of rocker Jack White, also sounds just like Nicks but with much better results on her cover of “Gold Dust Woman.” It’s dangerous to stick so exactly to the original when doing a cover, but Elson’s vocals are solid enough to make it worth a listen.
MGMT went in the exact opposite direction, using a heavily synthesized and electronic sound in their cover of “Future Games.” The background music is cool, but the robot singing ruins the track. This would have been an amazing and imaginative cover if they had used regular vocals. More than nine minutes of the robot voice is too much to handle.
With 19 songs, you’re going to have some hits and misses. The ratio is nearly split down the middle, but the hits are good enough to make the album worth a listen for any Fleetwood Mac fans.
**1/2 out of 5