Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Dreams" (1977)

79. Fleetwood Mac, "Dreams" (April 30, 1977, #1)

As much as I stake everything on Christine McVie as my single favorite Fleetwood Mac, and as much as I champion Lindsey Buckingham, both as songwriter and guitar player, and as much as I'm the first to snicker right along at the antics of Stevie Nicks, swirling inside her rainbow of scarves, I think it's hard to deny that Nicks is the one who delivers the most potent goods when it comes time to trample the airwaves. Sure, her big numbers tend to be all of a piece—"Rhiannon," "Sara," "Gypsy," and this, the best of them, "Dreams"—but they are also, all of them, moody, atmospheric, gorgeous exercises built to Nicks's earthy register and just made for prancing about in slow motion within haloes of cascading fabric. I don't even care that the lyrics here are just as trite as they can be: "Thunder only happens when it's raining," etc. What matters is the tight, exalted hush of the band, the simple elegance of the melodies, and, more than anything, the texture of Nicks's voice, pushing against the firm foundations of the song, lifting and rising, falling and swooping, buoyed by the otherworldly harmonies of Buckingham and Christine McVie behind her, like a leaf caught in an autumn wind. It's not coming to ground anytime soon, floating and twisting and just beautiful. I would also like to take a moment to call your attention once again to the superior rhythm section, which sets a rock-solid groove from the first second and maintains it right through. I remember feeling fortunate at the time—amazed, even—that something as good as this was on the radio every day for all those weeks.

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