Christine McVie’s has always been my favorite member of Fleetwood Mac. Her self-titled solo album released in 1984 is the only one she released while she was still with Fleetwood Mac. She released another solo album, In The Meantime, after she left Fleetwood Mac. This album came on the heels of Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage.
The main complaint about this album from critics is that it isn’t Fleetwood Mac. “The drums aren’t as intense as Mick’s. Her guitar player isn’t as good as Lindsay …” Some said it was just another run-of-the-mill, highly-produced 80s pop album. Or my favorite criticisms,”too lacking in variety,” and “all of the songs are about the same thing.”
This album features both Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, as well as Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, many years before they finally reunited and toured as Blind Faith. Though these are mainly easy-going ballads, they cover a range of tempos, dynamics and emotions. The songs all center on relationships, but they’re not all head-over-heels. There’s complexity and nuance in the lyrics, as well as in the composition and arranging. There are depths to this album which transcend the “pop-rock” label.
The album opens with the rocker “Love Will Show Us How,” featuring the guitar work of Todd Sharp. All of Todd’s parts are imaginative and well thought out, with an effective use of open strings and standard tuning harmonics. Next is “The Challenge,” where Eric Clapton plays tasty rhythm guitar, and a sweet, melodic lead which ranks among his finest solos. Every Clapton fan should hear this cut. In “Ask Anybody,” Steve Winwood does some great solo synth work. Winwood has been recording evocative synth leads going back to Traffic and When The Eagle Flies. Each of the guest artists and collaborators displayed their best efforts. You can tell when the session musicians really like the project they’re working on. As far as I’m concerned Christine McVie is a solid album. There are no throw-away cuts, no fillers.
These are links to my favorites, practically the whole album. This is an album, like Avalon, or Exodus, or Deja Vu, that I like to play start to finish. Like most albums, it sounds especially good on full-spectrum vinyl.
Love Will Show Us How featuring Todd Sharp
The Challenge featuring Eric Clapton
Ask Anybody featuring Steve Winwood on synth, Mick Fleetwood
One In A Million featuring Steve Winwood on synth and vocals
Who’s Dreaming This Dream featuring Lindsey Buckingham, vocals
The Smile I Live For featuring Lindsey Buckingham, lead guitar