Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Before Its Time

Some records sound terrible when converted to MP3s and listened to on inexpensive computer speakers. Some sound wonderful.

Fleetwood Mask's Tusk falls into the latter category. There are moments when the rhythm section sounds like something taken out of a Timbaland track. More than a few, actually. "Tamped" would be a good word.

I'm only just now getting into Tusk. I didn't discover Fleetwood Mac as music until 1997 or so. Learned to love Fleetwood Mac and Rumors while Kim was pregnant. Had heard Tusk a few times when Kim played her Value Center LP on the turntable, but it didn't make much of an impression.

It was the Camper Van Beethoven "cover" of the album I picked up last year that really piqued my interest in Tusk. The Camper version is interesting on its own terms, a strange musical and temporal experience -- begun around 1987 and finished in 2002 after years of being forgotten. It's worth checking out.

But I think I like the Fleetwood Mac version better, at least when I'm sitting at the computer working.

It helps, of course, that I'm nostalgic for a 1970s I only experienced through sit-coms and magazine ads, the one in which Boulder or Marin County shimmered with the promise of a future that would never arrive.

By the time Tusk came on the scene -- and, yes, I do remember the singles "Tusk" and "Sara" and their time in America's Top 40 -- that promise was fading rapidly. The Village People's "Ready for the 80s" now sounds tragic, not silly. Chic's "Good Times" reverberates with the disasters to come. And the taut angularity of Tusk considers the prospect of a promise indefinitely deferred, with all the pressing down -- conscious or not -- that accompanied its deferral.
Tags: autobiography, music, nostalgia

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