Album Review: Fleetwood Mac – “Tango in the Night”

Tango in the Night is the fourteenth studio album released by the band Fleetwood Mac; the album was released on April 13, 1987.  Tango in the Night has gone on to become Fleetwood Mac’s second biggest selling album.  In the United States, the album peaked at number seven on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, and has been certified triple platinum.  Tango in the Night was also the final studio album to feature the lineup of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood.

Tango in the Night opens with the song “Big Love,” which features lead vocals by Lindsey Buckingham. It was the first single to be released from the album, where it peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  While it’s not one of my favorite songs on the album, it still works very well as a song to open the album.  This is followed by “Seven Wonders,” which was the second single released from the album; it’s also the first song from the album that I personally remember hearing on the radio and on MTV.  This song features lead vocals by Stevie Nicks.  The single only peaked at number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but it’s one of my favorite songs on the album.  The “ethereal” sound of the song grabbed my attention when I first heard it in 1987, and it’s one of the features of the song that I still enjoy today.

The next song on Tango in the Night is “Everywhere,” which was released as a single from the album; it features lead vocals by Christine McVie.  The song peaked at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100.  I have to admit that at the time the song was originally released, I didn’t care too much for it.  As I got older and heard it again several years later, I realized it was a better song than I had remembered.  It has a sound that was definitely very friendly to “adult contemporary” radio back in the late 1980s, and now that I’m older, I can hear how it’s become such an “adult contemporary” classic.  This is followed by “Caroline,” which features lead vocals by Lindsey Buckingham.  This is a more uptempo song, where the speaker is singing about a woman he knows named Caroline; from the lyrics, it sounds like the relationship between the speaker and Caroline isn’t exactly the best.

The next song on the album is the title track, which also features lead vocals by Lindsey Buckingham.  It’s a song on the album that I really enjoy, but it’s definitely not very commercial; hence, why it was never released as a single.  It starts out rather quiet with just vocals and a stringed instrument, but as the song progresses, it gets louder, and percussion and guitar are added to the mix.  There’s a shifting dynamic between quiet and loud that takes place throughout the entire song.  Personally, I like how this song turned out, but not everyone is going to enjoy a song changing dynamics this much.  This is followed by “Mystified,” which slows the album back down again, and it features lead vocals by Christine McVie.  This is a pretty little song, which has rather minimal instrumentation.  It’s not a bad song, but I can hear why it wasn’t released as a single.

Next on Tango in the Night is “Little Lies,” which was the third single from the album; the song features vocals by Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks.  The single peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and it’s another song by Fleetwood Mac that I really like.  It has a very pop-friendly sound, and it’s easy for the listener to identify with the lyrics.  It’s not very surprising that “Little Lies” was as popular of a song as it was.  This is followed by “Family Man,” which was released as a single from the album; however, the song only managed to peak at number ninety on the Billboard Hot 100.  The song features lead vocals by Lindsey Buckingham.  Listening to the song, I can hear why the single didn’t perform in the United States.  It almost has a “blippy” sound to it, and the sound of the song just wasn’t commercial in the United States in the late 1980s.

“Welcome to the Room… Sara” features lead vocals by Stevie Nicks.  The song has an interesting sound to it, but I have to admit that I don’t totally understand what the song’s lyrics are trying to say.  This is followed by “Isn’t It Midnight,” which features lead vocals by Christine McVie.  This is a song I heard on the album that I really enjoyed, and I always thought it should have been released as a single.  It turns out that while it wasn’t released as a single in the United States, it was released in some territories in 1988.  Lyrically, the song is about a woman looking back, and realizing that a man she loved would never return her feelings.  Musically, “Isn’t It Midnight” is one of the more “driving” songs on the album, and features guitar rather prominently.

“When I See You Again” features vocals by Stevie Nicks, and the song slows the album back down again.  The only real instrument to accompany the vocals is an acoustic guitar.  This is a nice sounding song, but I can hear why it wasn’t a single.  Tango in the Night closes with “You and I, Part II,” and the album picks back up in tempo again; it’s also the shortest song on the album.  The song features vocals by Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie.  This is a nice sounding song, and an interesting way to close the album.

Tango in the Night has some really good songs on it, with “Little Lies” and “Everywhere” becoming classic songs from the late 1980s.  I would recommend this album to anyone who is interested in listening to music that would help represent the “adult contemporary” music scene of the late 1980s.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of the Tango in the Night CD that was given to me as a Christmas gift back in 1987.

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