A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours
This is a great tribute album and sticking with the original line-up of songs enhances its efficacy. If you have a copy of the Fleetwood Mac release handy, grab it and follow along. The first song on the album is "Second Hand News," rendered here by Tonic. It is truly excellent, easily the best cut on the CD. Melody, harmony, and instrumental tracks are handled effortlessly by this talented band. "Dreams" is given to us by The Corrs in a slightly Celtic flavor, understandably. It is a haunting song and they focus nicely on this quality. Next on the list is "Never Going Back Again," delivered in a bluesy vein by Matchbox 20. It's an interesting interpretation, but it grates against the original aesthetic of the song. Master popster Elton John next gives us "Don't Stop." The vocals are lackluster and the music contains too much synth and electronica. This wonderful Christine McVie tune deserves a more purist approach. This is the first stinker of the album but certainly not the last. At first blush, Dolores O'Riordan's Irish soul voice sounds uncharacteristically weak in "Go Your Own Way," but soon the feeling comes through and the honesty of her rendition proves itself. The Cranberries have given us an excellent, worthy version of this song.
Duncan Sheik, the jazzy balladeer, has recorded perhaps the best artistic track on the album. His ethereal, understated interpretation of "Songbird" is an amazing tour through the lovesong genre. The second stinker of the CD is brought to us by Shawn Colvin. She delivers a version of "The Chain" that is both vapid and sterile. The shortfall of this cut is the instrumental accompaniment. The band just plain sucks. Jewel, who has been canonized and vilified, often in the same paragraph, brings us a luke-warm rendition of "You Make Loving Fun." Her innocent, little girl voice has slipped into the mire of an Alanis sound-alike, but it almost works here. Tasty licks from her band cannot save this one, though.
"I Don't Want to Know" by the Goo Goo Dolls is a great upbeat version, but it misses the mark. Making a song one's own is admirable, but they outright mugged and kidnapped this one. The band is much better than this. Who in the hell is Tallulah and why was she allowed to record "Oh Daddy" for this tribute? She apparently has never listened to Fleetwood Mac for even a minute in her entire life. Production by Phil Ramone is futile here. Sister Hazel close out the set with a solid version of "Gold Dust Woman." These guys, never afraid to go out on the proverbial limb, attack this song with spirit, gusto, and even a sitar. They provide a nice, competent close to this rocky road.
Overall, this tribute does no harm, but few cuts honor the original album in any meaningful way. Tonic, The Corrs, and Sister Hazel provide a trio of honest homage; the rest can and should be ignored. By the way, if you don't own a copy of the Fleetwood Mac original, regardless of your chronological age, you suck.
--David A Clark