Today I’m going to Los Angeles for a six-day vacation. People associate cities with all sorts of things—memories, dreams, or pieces of art. For whatever reason, I think of Fleetwood Mac when I think of LA. The sound of the music and my impression of LA are inseparable.
Like LA, Fleetwood Mac initially gives off a tacky and artificial impression. Their music has glossy surfaces and breezy instrumentation—cleanly recorded acoustic guitars, brushed drums, and silky keyboard parts—it’s the kind of music you expect to play in stores where you buy candles and bath products. But those surfaces are deceptive: pay attention to Fleetwood Mac’s music and you’ll find that it’s often quite sophisticated and nuanced; and sometimes, as on 1979’s postpunk double album Tusk, (their best album), it can be bizarre. While I’d imagine most people hear FM rock, soft pop, and pop-country, I often hear power-pop, dub, and the art-rock of Brian Eno in a lot of their music (and all those other ostensibly less interesting genres as well).