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Fleetwood Mac’s strangely savage “Tusk” was the band’s weirdest hit
February 8, 2013 6:47 AM   Subscribe

AV Club discusses "Fleetwood Mac's weirdest hit" in a feature called Hear This.
“Tusk,” which is featured prominently and often in the première of FX’s The Americans... is a work of strange savagery, overlaid with jungle sounds and a thudding, endlessly repetitive drum riff that drives everything that happens in the song.
"Tusk" is a song by Fleetwood Mac from the 1979 double LP of the same name. The song reached #8 on the U.S. charts, #6 in the U.K. and #3 in Australia and Canada. It was one of the first songs to be released using a digital mixdown from an original analog source.
The song went platinum in 1979 and again in 1997 on a live album, making USC the only university to have two platinum albums. The marching band also performed the song on Solid Gold in 1980, interspersed with footage from the official music video.

In the late 2000s, Fleetwood Mac reunited with the USC band to play Tusk live.

Tusk is still in rotation by USC's Marching Band and Concert Band and has been performed by many other collegiate bands.
posted by getawaysticks (84 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's about Lindsey Buckingham's cock.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:55 AM on February 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Tusk is my favorite Fleetwood Mac album. It's a glorious mess full of amazingness. And the song Tusk is pretty much the climax of the whole thing.

I'm off to work now, but I look forward to reading the links here when I get back.

Thanks for the post!
posted by hippybear at 6:57 AM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've never really liked Fleetwood Mac* but I've loved this song ever since I first caught the video on MTV, back when MTV would show more off-beat stuff.

*Many friends have tried to bring me around, but I just don't see it. Lately though, Fleetwood Mac has moved from the "turn the radio station immediately" category to "I'll put up with it," so maybe I'll start loving them in a few years.

Rerecording Tusk in its entirety is basically what reunited Camper Van Beethoven.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:02 AM on February 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


no discussion of this song is complete without the CVB cover.
posted by mwhybark at 7:03 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the message of "Tusk," like the message of most popular songs, is "Listen to This! Listen to This!! Listen to This!!!" If there is any greater message, that is gravy. And, you know what? I listened to that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:04 AM on February 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


I don't know the pedigree of this track, but I ran across this alternate mix about a week ago and find it fascinating, especially the vocalizations in the background.
posted by 1367 at 7:04 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


My favorite part of the Tusk video is Stevie Nicks just kind of nonchalantly twirling a baton as if she's a professional majorette.
posted by xingcat at 7:07 AM on February 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


I got that album back in the day on the strength of that one song, but unfortunately the rest of the album was a hot mess.

And I had loved their previous work.

Guess I'm just a sucker for a good drum riff.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:09 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Years ago I was "treated" to a ticket to Sigfriend and Roy's Vegas stage show. At some point, after all the tigers and lions and whatever other animals and dancing girls and snakes and yadda yadda, they brought out an elephant for a "make it disappear and bring it back" schtick. And the music for the entrance of the elephant - lead on by Sigfried, with Roy sitting astride its back and clapping along - and the music for its grand exit, was a Vegas orchestral rendition of "Tusk."

And every time you mention the song to me now, Roy with his glittery codpiece and riding an elephant is all I can think of.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:11 AM on February 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Tusk is my favorite Fleetwood Mac album.

No, Rumours is your favorite Fleetwood Mac album.
posted by goethean at 7:13 AM on February 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


Every time we listened to Tusk, my dad warned me that too much dancing would make the needle jump, but who can stop a seven-year old and his favorite song? Toughskins are made for butt-shaking.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:14 AM on February 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Mick Fleetwood was on the most recent episode of Top Gear and was telling lots of great stories. The backstory of "You Make Loving Fun" was fantastic.
posted by nickgb at 7:20 AM on February 8, 2013


but unfortunately the rest of the album was a hot mess.

But... this is what makes it a better album than the mega-hit factories that preceded it.
posted by aught at 7:24 AM on February 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


My favorite part of the Tusk video is Stevie Nicks just kind of nonchalantly twirling a baton as if she's a professional majorette.

My favorite part is the group toting the cardboard cutout of John McVie around. I can't remember if McVie had a legitimate conflict or if he just couldn't be bothered to show up, but I think it's hilarious either way.
posted by Spatch at 7:27 AM on February 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I had never heard this song until it was on The Americans last week, and now I'm obsessed. I'm glad to read any other stories or really - anything about it. I feel like not knowing this song existed until now is inexcusable.

no discussion of this song is complete without the CVB cover

Thanks for sharing this! I haven't heard it before. I did hear the Clown Parlour cover earlier this week and thought it was solid.
posted by getawaysticks at 7:39 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favorite part is the group toting the cardboard cutout of John McVie around.
John: When they did the video for that, I was in uh...Tahiti. And wasn't about to come back for it. So they used a cardboard cutout...which I thought was sort of semi-apropos. Uh...and I saw it when I got back, and it worked out very well. But uh...
posted by kirkaracha at 7:42 AM on February 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's about Stevie Nicks' cock.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:46 AM on February 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


That's what I said.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:51 AM on February 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


Cocaine is a helluva drug.
posted by bardic at 7:52 AM on February 8, 2013


Related and recent: Why I never liked Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumors.'
posted by General Malaise at 7:57 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


It sounds more like the older Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, who came out with songs like Black Magic Woman (before Santana).
posted by eye of newt at 7:57 AM on February 8, 2013


A few minutes into the first episode of "The Americans," I turned to The Fella and said "I never knew 'Tusk' was a GREAT song until now. I don't think I ever really heard it before."

He knew what I meant: of course I've heard it, because I was 10 when it came out as a single, and I certainly saw that football-stadium video over and over, with the marching band and the cardboard cut-out and the centurions (who are AWESOME). I just never heard it before.

Its use in the early minutes of "The Americans" felt pretty gutsy to me. It worked for the tempo both slow and fast, it gave the segment tension and rawness and power, it cemented the early-80s timeframe, and it felt fresh. I was pretty knocked out by that whole sequence.
posted by Elsa at 8:04 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


How is it that I've never noticed the, uh, oddly placed tassels dangling between Fleetwood's legs on the cover of Rumors?
posted by anthom at 8:08 AM on February 8, 2013


The weird thing about "Tusk" is that it has no dynamics. When the horns comes in, when they hit "Don't say that you love me", shouldn't that be louder? You'd think so! Instead it's totally dynamically flat, all on a level.

The other weird thing is the shifty tape-music-like sounds running under the whole song, sounds like muffled shouting or something.
posted by kenko at 8:09 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


...I certainly saw that football-stadium video over and over, with the marching band and the cardboard cut-out and the centurions (who are AWESOME).

This is part of why my having never heard it before was so jarring - I was younger than you when it came out, but I basically watched MTV (or VH-1) every waking minute when my parents weren't home - certainly I would have seen this video? I have always loved strong percussion, so I feel like it would have even caught my attention at a young age.

So strange...
posted by getawaysticks at 8:11 AM on February 8, 2013


It's about Stevie Nicks' cockatoo.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:19 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


My great quest is to find songs like it to run to. I fncking run like Forrest Gump when it's in my headphones. But the bloody iTunes genius isn't all that bright, it seems. I can't find other songs like it.

Anyone got any suggestions? I'll dedicate my Olympic medal to you.
posted by taff at 8:22 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why I never liked Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumors.'

Oooo! There's an expanded edition of Rumours!
posted by goethean at 8:34 AM on February 8, 2013


What I think of every time I hear "Tusk."
posted by dhens at 8:39 AM on February 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Related and recent: Why I never liked Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumors.'

Interesting. I'm about a generation behind the dude who wrote that, growing up after punk and for people like me Fleetwood Mac wasn't something to rebel against, just something your parents listened to, like Herb Albert had been a generation before. Sure, they showed up in the pop charts in the eighties, like so many other moldie oldies as the boomers succumbed to nostalgia, but they weren't relevenant. It's only much much later, when I really got interested in music, that I released that they were not only relevant, but bloody good.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:41 AM on February 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Anyone got any suggestions?

I quite like The Power Is on by the Go! Team.

posted by The Whelk at 8:41 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yep, Tusk is actually the best Fleetwood Mac album. It´s going to be featured in a series on my blog one of these days along with Animals being the best Pink Floyd album and A Ghost Is Born being the best Wilco album.
posted by saul wright at 8:49 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


John: When they did the video for that, I was in uh...Tahiti. And wasn't about to come back for it.

It was both!
posted by Spatch at 9:00 AM on February 8, 2013


In the past couple years, I've become a big fan of Buckingham's solo work, which I like more than FM. I'd urge anyone who hasn't listened to LB's albums to check them out.

Side note: I saw Buckingham last September at Casino Rama (Rama, Ontario) and have determined this will be my one and only show at that venue. What a horrendous theater. He was great, but the show was further spoiled by a steady stream of exiting old couples with free tickets, who made the decision that they need to spend another hour at a slot machine, rather than listen to a brilliant songwriter and guitarist.
posted by davebush at 9:22 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


taff: "My great quest is to find songs like it to run to. I fncking run like Forrest Gump when it's in my headphones. But the bloody iTunes genius isn't all that bright, it seems. I can't find other songs like it.

Anyone got any suggestions? I'll dedicate my Olympic medal to you.
"

So you're the person that uses iTunes "Genius".
posted by Splunge at 9:24 AM on February 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


"And look at the cover art, with its wistful and graceful image of the soon-to-be-couple Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks. Back then they seemed like hippies dressed too well. These days it seems like a painting from a long ago past, almost Renaissance."

I love that line ..... but I don't agree at all with his theme. First of all, I've never encountered any 20something or younger who gushes about Rumours and I work among a lot of people that age. (Anecdata, got your anecdata here!) If they gush about anything further back than 1992 they gush about Emerson Lake and Palmer or Rush or old-school hip-hop. Second of all, being an old fart (like me, and like this guy) and putting it out there that YOU will bravely listen to new music and NOT be tainted by the taint of the past ..... well, that's a lot of things, but mostly, it's rockist. And silly as hell.

My favorite post-1976 Fleetwood Mac song is Lindsey Buckingham's "Trouble." And you know what? Tango in the Night is an awesome album -- I don't care what anyone says.
posted by blucevalo at 9:29 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


God the AV Club is just grasping for straws these days. When they're not partaking in sub-Perez Hilton style entertainment reporting, they're brandishing praise upon moldy classic rock albums.
posted by item at 9:33 AM on February 8, 2013


...and upon immediate reflection, I realize that there are a bunch of Fleetwood Mac fans in this thread and I apologize - as far as I know I've never even heard this record. I'm sure it has its merits, much like a bunch of the stuff I listen to is considered questionable by a bunch of folks but has its fans.

It's the AV Cub that I dislike and distrust, not Fleetwood Mac.
posted by item at 9:36 AM on February 8, 2013


I won a copy of the Tusk album in an on-air contest on WPLR (back when Stoneman was the DJ). Can't say it got much turntable time, but I'll have to dig it out.
posted by stargell at 9:40 AM on February 8, 2013


... a work of strange savagery reeeeeal savage-like...

FTFY.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:40 AM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's a good thing there isn't time travel, because I would go back and attempt to steal the adorably cute young Stevie Nicks. Oh and I'll just leave this here.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:14 AM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Tango in the Night is an awesome album -- I don't care what anyone says.

You are correct, sir. The melancholy of "When I See You Again" is wonderful, and teh rest of the album is just a joy to listen to.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:15 AM on February 8, 2013


kenko: I believe the dynamics and the crowd noises are due to the song being recorded in a sports stadium, with a full marching band, and a crowd.
posted by eviemath at 10:26 AM on February 8, 2013


First of all, I've never encountered any 20something or younger who gushes about Rumours and I work among a lot of people that age. (Anecdata, got your anecdata here!) If they gush about anything further back than 1992 they gush about Emerson Lake and Palmer or Rush...

Hmmm…I think that might just be your bubble. ELP and Rush?
posted by bongo_x at 10:29 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Tusk is one of those albums you have to play a few times to get into it. A lot of people don't make the effort which has the nice side effect that you can find absolutely mint vinyl LP copies very easily.
posted by Lanark at 10:49 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Charles Laquidara of the infamous WBCN once locked himself in the studio and played Tusk for over three hours straight.
posted by Gungho at 11:00 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bought the album when it came out, and liked it. Then discovered that the song Tusk was hated - fervently - by just about every teen I met. Never figured out why, but, being a teen then myself, I parked it in my soul as a guilty pleasure.

Same thing happened to Daylight Again by CS&N. Also vindicated. Teen tastes suck, by and large.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:15 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Animals being the best Pink Floyd album

Yes! Also Ummagumma, because to be fair there must be two best of everything.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:27 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


My point of entry into Fleetwood Mac was The Dance, the 1997 reunion concert/live album. Your "late 2000s" concert video is from that, by the way.

I've gone back to the originals since then, but in a lot of cases I like the 1997 version better. They're a band that's made the effort to keep their sound up to date with the expectations of modern audiences, to a certain extent. I wasn't around in the 70s, so it was pretty jarring for me to get used to the band sounding appropriate for the 1990s and then go back to them sounding appropriate for the 70s, a sound I had a lot less cultural context for.

A lot of it is Lindsey Buckingham; his singing style is very different between the original albums to now. He sings in a lower register, with a lot more forcefulness. Compare "I'm So Afraid": from the 1997 reunion and from the original. There's the lower key, reworking the phrasing of the lines, different guitar tone, and also just a little less going on in the track. It's more pared-down, in a good way, in a way that I don't really think is entirely attributable to the album to live transition.

In "Tusk" up above, the more recent version is sped up, but this song is slowed down a little, and since it's live, he really takes the time to stretch out and dig in with the solos, something which you can't always do on the album version due to space constraints. It's one of my favorite tracks from that album, but I remember being pretty disappointed the first time I listened to the original version. I like it better than that now, but I still like the recent version best.

Also, dear lord does Mick Fleetwood make silly faces when he's drumming.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:29 AM on February 8, 2013


The adjective "savage" seems rather excessive to someone who is partial to a bit of Merzbow, but I do agree that "Tusk" was one of later-incarnation Mac's finest tracks.
posted by Decani at 11:38 AM on February 8, 2013


What I think of every time I hear "Tusk."
posted by dhens at 4:39 PM on February 8


Good god, that made me laugh so hard I think I enlarged my hiatal hernia.
posted by Decani at 11:40 AM on February 8, 2013


Tony Harrison: I've got it, Saboo! An idea is formulating!
Saboo: What?
Tony Harrison: Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk," in its entirety!
Saboo: Are you insane? There's at most... one track I can get away with off, maybe, "Rumours."
Tony Harrison: Come on! "Tusk," in its entirety, with the pauses as Lindsay Buckingham intended! Watch the room crumble at the aura of the H-Man!
Saboo: Why not just give me a .44 so I can spray my brains across the decks?
Tony Harrison: What is your beef with the Mac?
Saboo: The same beef every right thinking man has: they are bullshit munchers!
posted by How the runs scored at 12:00 PM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


OK, OT, but here's the thing about Fleetwood Mac that's different from some other bands for me. I think it's because they had (after Buckingham and Nicks joined) three lead singers and two and a half principal songwriters.

The different thing is that no matter how the songwriting/performance/production may seem dated, the songs themselves seem to slither into representation of some aspect of your life even though they haven't done anything new in decades.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:02 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had zero interest in Fleetwood Mac growing up. They were one of the acts that many of us were rebelling against. Then, a few years ago, I encountered the songs "The Chain," "Silver Spring" and "Tusk" in swift succession and my opinion changed. I think what finally made me interested in the band in a more serious way was watching Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham sing "Silver Spring" at each other with murder in their eyes. "Damn, that is some drama right there," I remember thinking.

So I now feel like Fleetwood Mac were a genuinely interesting band despite their massive success. Also, they recorded this at a different stage in their career and really they get a free pass on everything after that.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:57 PM on February 8, 2013


Animals being the best Pink Floyd album

I'm not going to disagree, just note that for me I spin Wish you Were Here the most often.
posted by maxwelton at 1:19 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


whenever i hear the words 'fleetwood mac' what immediately comes to mind is LSD, sex in the dune sand on a warm summer night in grand haven, tripping on the drive home as the sun rose and listening to this. such a long, long time ago...
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:23 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


So many good songs on this album. "That's All For Everyone", "Over and Over", "Never Forget", that one song that starts with "Countin' on my fingers, countin' on my toes", "Sara"...I'm sure I missed some.

I think people hate Fleetwood Mac for the same reason they hate Billy Joel or Coldplay. These acts, they write SONGS, good ones, catchy ones, which is sort of the whole point of pop music, and Mr. Indie over here with his "songs" about "oh, this is what I'm feeling", as if anyone gives a shit, is shocked, SHOCKED that people don't wanna listen to that kind of tripe and thus resentment against popular acts is born. That's my theory anyway.
posted by MattMangels at 1:45 PM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


What I hate about popular music has nothing to do with Billy Joel, Coldplay or Fleetwood Mac. I think all these acts had songwriting chops and excellent production, and I think they were popular for the right reasons.


Some other acts I could mention were and are NOT.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:54 PM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


So many good songs on this album. "That's All For Everyone", "Over and Over", "Never Forget", that one song that starts with "Countin' on my fingers, countin' on my toes", "Sara"...I'm sure I missed some.

"Angel" is one that always seems to get people's toes tapping when I play it. I think this is a great album, the punk influence isn't obvious but it is pervasive. Too bad I found it after I stopped listening to albums as a whole.
posted by viborg at 2:38 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Animals being the best Pink Floyd album

I'ma gonna stop you there, but sometimes the obvious answer is the only answer: anything but Dark Side of the Moon is wrong and only chosen to not appear too obvious. Animals and Ummagumma and Wish You Were Here were great albums, but Dark Side was perfect.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:40 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's funny - I've never liked Fleetwood Mac (though mostly knowing the singles -- which I think "Go Your Own Way" is a damn fine pop song that I really do enjoy, but most of the rest leaves me cold)... but a friend of mine sent me Tusk and really talked highly of it... and since we have really similar tastes, I held my nose and gave it a shot.

...and damned if he wasn't right. It's a great album. And not at all what I was expecting from Fleetwood Mac.

I still don't have any real desire to check out any other Fleetwood Mac stuff that's not Tusk (or "Go Your Own Way"), but hey. Tusk is rad.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 2:47 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think people hate Fleetwood Mac for the same reason they hate Billy Joel or Coldplay.
Actually, most people hate Coldplay because their frontman "sings" like a feral cat with a toothache, and because their self-pitying lyrics sound rich coming from a multi-millionaire who's married to one of the most self-absorbed and least talented actresses of her generation. I'll give you the others, but Coldplay have different baggage.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:30 PM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


God the AV Club is just grasping for straws these days. When they're not partaking in sub-Perez Hilton style entertainment reporting, they're brandishing praise upon moldy classic rock albums.

You may need to readjust your hipster meter, because Pitchfork just gave the Rumors reissue a 10.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:52 PM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The nice thing about being a mature adult is that I don't have to justify my musical tastes to my 20-year-old self anymore. The nice thing about having headphones is that I don't have to justify them to anyone else either.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:16 PM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like the original, but the one two punch of Go Your Own Way and Tusk from the Dance is magnificent. I might be biased in that the two songs lined up unfortunately well with my life when it came out.

The original sounds like the artifact of the volume of coke that went into the Tusk recording sessions (you might notice some similarities to 70s era Stooges and Bowie) along with the mercifully short period of time that it was trendy to make drums sound like cardboard boxes. A very ersatz representation of emotion. The menace is so much more palpable in the 1997 version, particularly given the pleas of Go Your Own Way.
posted by Candleman at 4:54 PM on February 8, 2013


Nthing the love for recent Lindsey Buckingham. I saw him do Tusk live with his band in Houston a couple of years ago and couldn't believe how he rocked the house. (Also saw him at Antone's last summer and if you ever get a chance to see him in a small venue like that, he's worth it.)

I was a little too young to love Tusk that much or to need to hate it when it first came out, but my love for Fleetwood Mac (and Buckingham) is solid and unashamed now.
posted by immlass at 4:58 PM on February 8, 2013


st people hate Coldplay because their frontman "sings" like a feral cat with a toothache

He sounds perfectly mellifluous compared with, say, Dylan. He's fine and his voice fits his music and I don't care who he's married to as it has nothing to do with his music. I mean, really.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:11 PM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I still don't have any real desire to check out any other Fleetwood Mac stuff that's not Tusk (or "Go Your Own Way"), but hey. Tusk is rad.

I would like to introduce you to, The Chain - one of the awesomest songs ever recorded about being painfully in love with someone who no longer loves you back.
posted by echolalia67 at 5:26 PM on February 8, 2013


I'm a 20-something and I gush about Rumors. I don't know what it is as I'm not always to most articulate person at times, but hot damn I can say that Rumors and Fleetwood Mac in general are some of my favorite music. In fact my girlfriend was going to buy me tickets to their reunion tour in Chicago but apparently most of them were presold and the best she could find for something approaching a reasonable price was in the nosebleeds behind the stage.
posted by Carillon at 5:56 PM on February 8, 2013


"i want to be a star - i don't want to be a cleaning lady"
posted by pyramid termite at 6:19 PM on February 8, 2013


My favorite FM track predates Lindsay: Hypnotized. Bob Welch left us last year, RIP.
posted by waraw at 6:52 PM on February 8, 2013


The first time I heard "Tusk," I was crouched in bed next to my clock radio. It was a few months after my 13th birthday, and I was fresh off a cross-country move from South Jersey to a small desert town in Oregon. I didn't know anybody. We lived about a quarter mile from a top 40 radio station, and it was my first immersion into pop music. Prior to that, radio meant Phillies games and pop music was what I picked up listening to what the kids were singing on the bus. Now I was reveling in songs like "Drivers' Seat" and "My Ramona" and "Don't Bring Me Down" and other really weird, cool songs. (I miss how different everything sounded on top 40 then. /nostalgia) So it came time for the NEW FLEETWOOD MAC SINGLE! The DJ wanted us to be excited about Fleetwood Mac, of whom I was vaguely aware. Then there was this blast of wind and marching band and chanting and energy. I felt part of something new and cool. Later, I learned that most Fleetwood Mac fans did not like "Tusk." That made me love it all the more.

(On preview, I loved "Ebony Eyes," waraw.)
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:59 PM on February 8, 2013


So Tusk is Fleetwood Mac's Sandinista!?
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:48 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


So Tusk is Fleetwood Mac's Sandinista!?

Yes, in a way. As I understand, LBuck (can we call him LBuck? El Buck?) was a kind of introverted Brian Wilson fanatic who was unnerved by Rumours' crazy success, and soon after discovered the Clash and Talking Heads. And thus Tusk. His three decades of solo records are similarly personal and kind of exploratory for pop.
posted by methinks at 8:58 PM on February 8, 2013


The Card Cheat: So Tusk is Fleetwood Mac's Sandinista!?

No, Tusk is The White Album. Follow-up to an epoch-defining smash; messy, inchoate, stuffed to the gunnels with drugs; recorded by a band who mostly couldn't stand to be in the same room as each other; full of whimsy and experimentation and cardboard box drums and songs that just... peter out; a big, unholy mess. But if you try to whittle it down, if you try to knock it into shape as a single album, you kill it stone dead. Its brilliance and its beauty lies in the fact that it's a big, gargantuan, sprawling oddity. It's a righteous, disastrous mess, and that's why it's such a great album.
posted by Len at 9:12 PM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


dhens above links to the extended MST3K riffing to Tusk that they did over the end credit music to Werewolf. It's one of the best credits gags they did.
posted by JHarris at 10:23 PM on February 8, 2013


Showing up late to the party to say that "I Know I'm Not Wrong" is a flawless slice of Rumours pop amid the mess, as well as a great little exercise in irony.
posted by gompa at 10:28 PM on February 8, 2013


Unusually timely post for me, just this morning I heard "Little Lies" at the local super and god damn if that chorus didn't get lodged in my brain on hard loop. The only thing for it was to put on Rumors and just let the Mac have its way for a bit. I haven't actually listened to or thought about this band in years. Really, that album is pretty good (at least, some of it) but i can't help but hate it. It's inextricably linked with memories of the awful relationship I was in when I was first introduced to it, on account she played it over and over (talk about a red flag, in retrospect!). I'm astonished people have so much to say about this band, I didn't realize they were A Thing. I haven't heard Tusk, but am strangely curious now.
posted by cj_ at 5:13 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I never heard this song until now. I had avoided that album because of the reviews.

When I was a kid I had a huge crush on Stevie Nicks and had a Fleetwood Mac poster in my bedroom.
posted by mike3k at 10:24 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


echolalia67: Oh, man. The Chain - specifically the outro - is a time machine. Tusk is a lot of fun, it can't make me feel like I'm in primary school again and hanging out with my friends to watch the Adelaide Grand Prix on Channel Nine's Wide World of Sports coverage at whoever's house had the biggest and loudest TV in the way that The Chain does. Except if I'm in the car. I probably shouldn't listen to The Chain in the car. It's pavolvian. Music to Get a Speeding Fine by. Edited to add: I totally didn't know until just now that the ending bassline in The Chain was also used to advertise my first car, the Fiat 131s Supermirafiori! Damn, I had so much fun in that car, even if it was rusty as hell with questionable rear brakes.
posted by MarchHare at 2:39 PM on February 9, 2013


> Follow-up to an epoch-defining smash; messy, inchoate, stuffed to the gunnels with drugs; recorded by a band who mostly couldn't stand to be in the same room as each other; full of whimsy and experimentation and cardboard box drums and songs that just... peter out; a big, unholy mess.

Yeah, that sounds a lot like Sandinista!...which, I suppose, was The Clash's White Album.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:09 AM on February 10, 2013


Not that I want to argue about the Clash with someone named The Card Cheat, but I don't reckon that description of The White Album can be applied to Sandinista! at all.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 4:16 PM on February 10, 2013


It's funny - I've never liked Fleetwood Mac (though mostly knowing the singles -- which I think "Go Your Own Way" is a damn fine pop song that I really do enjoy, but most of the rest leaves me cold)... but a friend of mine sent me Tusk and really talked highly of it... and since we have really similar tastes, I held my nose and gave it a shot.

...and damned if he wasn't right. It's a great album. And not at all what I was expecting from Fleetwood Mac.


This was exactly my experience. In fact, I'd never listened to the album "Tusk" until this thread, and ... holy crap! It's like, there was a bold, incredible, risk-taking band hiding behind the hit machine the entire time. This album made me change my entire opinion of FM.

Somewhere therein lurks an AskMe question to the effect of, "What other albums are so different from a band's other work that it could make me like them if I didn't previously?"

along with Animals being the best Pink Floyd album

The best Pink Floyd albums weren't albums at all, but their live stuff from 1970-1973. The best official representations would be the Ummagumma live album or Live at Pompeii, but if you wanna hear what the Floyd were really all about, you gotta go to the boots.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:26 PM on February 21, 2013


"What other albums are so different from a band's other work that it could make me like them if I didn't previously?"

neil young's trans - most of the songs are techno with vocoded vocals

bob seger's brand new morning - just him and acoustic guitar, although the songs are pretty much what you'd expect

lou reed's metal machine music - well, no, that will probably make you hate him

america's first album - still twee, but the three acoustic guitar sound is different than everything they did later and better

pink floyd's obscured by clouds - short songs, modest ambitions, and a real balance between songwriters - it's a shame they never did another one like this - (and yeah, i was into them before dsotm - started with ummagumma)

grateful dead - infrared roses - nothing but edited space jams

xtc pretending to be the dukes of statosphear, a 60s psychedelic band, has been proven to win over people who weren't into xtc on this very website - come to think of it, i'm not really into them except for this

the four seasons - genuine imitation life - in which they go for fairly complex psychedelica with interesting results

keith - the adventures of keith - remember 98.6? - this is nothing like this - weird arty music with lots of strings

lydia lunch - queen of siam - in which she pretty much drops the no wave/punk guitars and goes big band swing

both howlin wolf's and muddy water's electric psych albums of the 60s are seriously underrated - maybe they're not good blues albums, but they sound a lot like early funkadelic to me
posted by pyramid termite at 5:33 PM on February 21, 2013


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