My Top 1000 Songs #359: Tusk
I largely shunned Fleetwood Mac during their late 70s commercial heyday, their palatable, radio-friendly AOR way too slick and unhip for my taste. But I eventually came around (well, still mostly to Lindsey Buckingham's skewed pop; much less so for the Stevie Nicks & Christine McVie tunes). I particularly admired 1979's Tusk, where, coming off one of the most commercially successful records in history, Buckingham loads up the double-album with some surprisingly challenging cuts. The title track is particularly unexpected--a percussion-driven, dark & moody tale of romantic obsession and jealousy, interrupted by a messy drum breakdown before cutting loose into a college marching band free-for-all (with a title apparently alluding to the nickname of drummer Mick Fleetwood's member), is nobody's recipe for Top 40 airplay. Yet the band's shiny buoyancy keeps it from going off the rails, a peak-era Fleetwood Mac track for those embarrassed to listen to peak-era Fleetwood Mac.
It's also a prime example of why Fleetwood and bassist John McVie deserve to have their names up front.