Top 100 Album Review: #25 – Rumors, Fleetwood Mac (1977)

What a Top 100 Album Should Be.

Multiple good songs with great lyrics in a unique sound that impacted culture along with high record sales. BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM. 

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #25/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Not every Rolling Stone Top 100 Album is a good listen. There seems to be cognitive dissonance about having too much music that’s enjoyable to listen to, as if heralding it will encroach on the art form itself and cause it to self-destruct. So albums that have some “high art” angle get elevated, even if the work as a whole isn’t good (take the inclusion of Frank Sinatra’s “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” over his better albums because it’s “artsy”).

Rumours is a rejoiceful reminder that music that has memorable compositions with ear-worm hooks can be every bit as impactful as some avant-garde release, and hell, it might even be enjoyable to listen to!

fleetwood-mac-rumors-10-things-you-didnt-know-c34d3ad5-4224-417d-8e85-fbe6fedc4548[overview.] The band Fleetwood Mac was being torn apart by drugs and relationships. The band members Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Stevie Nicks were succumbing to each individual’s brand of infighting and turmoil: Christine and John split up; Lindsey and Stevie kept fooling around; Fleetwood found out about his wife’s infidelity.

Out of this came the Album of the Year, selling more than 40 million records world-wide to date. Fleetwood Mac released 10 albums previously, but never to this acclaim. This lineup had just released a successful album in 1975 that was eponymous, and oddly enough, that was their second album to don the name “Fleetwood Mac.” This featured the new lineup that would make “Rumors” so delightful, with each band member contributing their own individual pieces. “The Chain” is the only collaborative song on the entire album.

[track listing.]

1. Second Hand News (2:43)
2. Dreams (4:14)
3. Never Going Back Again (2:02)
4. Don’t Stop (3:11)
5. Go Your Own Way (3:38)
6. Songbird (3:20)
7. The Chain (4:30)
8. You Make Loving Fun (3:31)
9. I Don’t Want To Know (3:11)
10. Oh Daddy (3:54)
11. Gold Dust Woman (4:51)

[best track.] You Make Loving Fun

Christine McVie’s contribution that was a nod to a relationship post John. Reaching the chorus is the moment you realize this song is quite good, as back up vocals create a angelic surrounding to Christine’s controlled belting.

I never did believe in miracles
But I’ve a feeling it’s time to try
I never did believe in the ways of magic
But I’m beginning to wonder why

[best track – runner up.] Dreams

Stevie Nick’s contribution is the perfect breakup song. Its melancholy is reflected in the soft-down tempo and poignant lyrics.

Thunder only happens when it’s raining 
Players only love you when they’re playing 
Say, women, they will come and they will go 
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know 

[best hidden gem.] The Chain

This is my favorite song for running hills. It has a similar trajectory as it begins with soft guitar work and sparse arrangement that picks up momentum in spurts, going up and down just like the rolling piedmont. It then ends then with a massive jam out session.

And if you don’t love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying
You would never break the chain (Never break the chain)


Thank you Fleetwood Mac for such an impressive collection of songs. There isn’t a bad take on the entire album, and I would add each track to any playlist.

Other People’s Takes: 

  • One in Seven: “These tracks, and the album as a whole, have the ability to both pep me up and lull me into a daydream, which is something of a feat really.”
  • The Rock Bible: The Rumours studio sessions were marked by hedonistic behaviour and interpersonal strife among band members, which shaped the album’s lyrics.”

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