The Ignored Album
by Iryna Byelyayeva
Fleetwood Mac’s 1987 album Tango in the Night is not often talked about—probably for the reason that, as far as Fleetwood Mac albums go, it’s not very poignant. In fact, it’s sort of a nothing album altogether. And that’s why I love it.
Tango in the Night is a classically 80s album. It’s got weird love songs, synths and very little of that mystical emotions that the band is so known for. But at times it’s very endearing, in a way that you can recognise every member of the band in the album. Stevie Nicks is still singing about Sara, Lindsey Buckingham is romanticising women as he’s so good at doing, Christine McVie is bringing everyone down to earth, Mick Fleetwood is waiting patiently for the songs where he can really go to town on the drums and John McVie is just being John McVie. It simultaneously feels like a strange, half-assed version of a Fleetwood Mac album and a collage of all their personalities. By 1987 the lovers had long been separated, solo careers had taken off and the band was, perhaps, not a super in the grand scheme of things.
Still, I have a soft spot for this album. Firstly, Fleetwood Mac and 80s pop songs are two big loves for me (put them together and you’ve got one of those strange cocktails that have mixed alcohol that shouldn’t go together but will still get you through the night). Secondly, I quite like the structure of the album allowing each member’s aesthetic to come to the forefront. I like hearing a classically Stevie song about the seven wonders transition into a sweet love song from Christine. Perhaps the crowning moment comes after the intense (and so out of place) guitar solo in the eponymous ‘Tango in the Night.’ The listener has just had to go through a two-song segue into Lindsey’s love for loving women and also experimenting with sounds (this time he used Eastern influences because he is a maverick, clearly). ‘Tango in the Night’ culminates in an epic solo which, I’ll hand it to him, is pretty fun to listen to when walking somewhere important. Then Christine slides back into our eardrums with her softness in ‘Mystified’ and reminds us (and Lindsey, for that matter) what it is Fleetwood Mac actually do. Lindsey gets reeled back in. This is not going to be another Tusk (1979) situation—everyone gets to have their songs shine in this one.
The first Fleetwood Mac song I ever heard was ‘Little Lies.’ I was very young and loved it. I loved the video clip with the two women with beautiful blonde hair in black clothes. I like the fuzziness of the cinematography. I decided I wanted to be like Christine McVie when I grew up. That, and the fact that no matter what I do to it my hair is obsessed with emulating Stevie Nicks, aside ‘Little Lies’ is a wonderfully 80s song. ‘Little Lies’ and the dangerously underrated ‘Isn’t It Midnight’ are great 80s pop songs. They make me want to dance in circles every time. Both, I’d like to point out, are sung by Christine. Is this the album that finally let her voice take centre stage? I think Christine McVie is incredibly underrated—go listen to this album just for her effortless charisma.
Tango in the Night is exactly what you would expect a Fleetwood Mac album a whole decade after Rumours (1977) to sound like: Fleetwood Mac but not quite. It doesn’t have any of their urgency and is mostly filled with cute pop songs about being a family man, girls at midnight and wondering whether things will be the same the next time you (they?) meet. For this reason it’s mostly ignored when thinking about the iconic line up. But when it comes down it, this album is still Fleetwood Mac (meaning it’s still very good) and is a very fun listen. It’s calm listening. If I want to wake up all my emotions at the same time I listen to Rumours; if I want to sit in sunshine and relax I listen to Tango in the Night.
Iryna is a creative lady living in Melbourne, Australia. She is the editor of The Wall Mag and gets published here and there. She can be followed on twitter @irynabyel