Monday, February 04, 2008

Pain+Love = Brilliance

I often think that I missed out not being of age to fully understand the music of the 1970's. I didn't really get into music until well into my high school years (late 80's, early 90's) so much of the 1970's was a mystery to me. I had an aunt who gave me THE EAGLES "Hotel California" when I was like 8 and although I enjoyed the music I didn't get the lyrics (which in restrospect is probably a good thing). When I hit college I began to slowly dip my toe back into music history to try to understand where my favorite bands got their inspiration. REM and U2 turned me on to THE VELVET UNDERGROUND. NIRVANA and PEARL JAM got me interested in NEIL YOUNG. SOUNDGARDEN begat LED ZEPPELIN and so on. I can't really remember how I found FLEETWOOD MAC's "Rumours". I did spend at least one afternoon a month at a local record (and by record in this case I do mean the actual vinyl) store diving into the stacks for anything of interest which is probably where I came across this record.

Most people know the story of the FLEETWOOD MAC (if not here is the Wikipedia link for the tale) but what strikes me even to this day about this album are three things:

1) The music is just absolutely perfect in every sense of the word. Back then bands would take forever to make a record and the studio was more of a lab than a location. Today, bands rip through a session in a few weeks and often put out material that has a shoddy or half finished sound. Fleetwood Mac took their time, thought about every song and every step and the results are an album with no visible flaws. What was the last record you bought made recently with no filler?

2) The lyrics and songwriting are heartbreaking. For some reason, great music comes from pain and misery more than joy. We identify with the pain that these singers are going through (mostly because the entire album is a prolonged break-up story). I doubt the record would be as good if the writers were in a happy place. Stievie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham are giving us a peek into their souls and allowing us to truly feel the pain of their deteriorating relationship. All in the context of truly brilliant pop songs that are memorable for their feeling and their sound.

3) The sounds recorded in the 70's just sound fuller and richer (even digitized for today's consumption) than anything today. Now, this might be due to the use of analog tape or just the quality of musician but their is just more depth to the sound. It has a distinct sound.

Does this mean music recorded today has no merit? Of course not! But it doesn't hurt to take a trip back in time every once and awhile to see what influenced the music of today.

This has to be one of the ultimate break-up songs. There is so much anger and bitterness here and yet the music makes the song irresistable. This is my favorite song of their entire catalog.

This song has such a great guitar, bass and drum interchange in the second half. Here is the best example of the band as professional musicians.

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