Tusk (Outtakes & Alternates) - 1979
Following the overwhelming success of their self-titled 1975 LP and 1977's Rumours, Fleetwood Mac's chief songwriter Lindsey Buckingham began writing material with the intention of creating not only the band's most experimental LP of its career, but his own answer to the low-fi new wave movement that threatened to turn his beloved Mac into 70's rock dinosaurs. With a multi-million dollar budget in tow, Buckingham began creating quirky home demos that employed minimalist drumming, overdriven acoustic guitar, brisk tempos and uncharacteristically rushed, almost claustrophobic vocals with layers and layers of odd harmonies. For proof of the band's notorious amphetamine intake around this time, look no further. Many of these home demos sound strikingly similar to their album counterparts, and as such, are easily the high points in this collection of rarities. Stevie Nick's input, in contrast to her ex-partner's, was much in the same vein as the songs she contributed to the band's previous two albums, and "Sara", included here in a very extended take, remains one of their signature tunes. All told, the brilliance of the album has always been the way in which is revealed so many radically different sides of the band, yet remained anchored to Buckingham's slices of bizarre, heady pop. What's equally intriguing is how this collection of demos, outtakes and alternates reveals how this formula was in place from the beginning. A fine companion piece to the original album that was issued as the second disc of the 2004 remaster, and one that holds up very well on its own. If you're anything like me, you'll be slightly disappointed that an alternate version of the title track isn't included. A great set none the less.