Mirage (Remastered)

Mirage (Remastered)

Given the achievements of Fleetwood Mac, Rumors, and Tusk, it’s easy to think of Mirage as an afterthought, the work of a band who conquered the world and nearly destroyed themselves in the process. The music feels warm and familiar without being fearful or staid. There are moments of optimism (Lindsey Buckingham’s “Eyes of the World”), of introspection (Stevie Nicks’ “Gypsy”), and carefree romantic bliss (Christine McVie’s “Hold Me”). Buckingham later called it “reactionary”—an unusual word in that it implies conflict where the sound does anything but. But settle into its mellow delivery and sparkling surfaces (Mirage is a smart title) and you hear what he means: They’re as good as they ever were, but grounded by the difference of not having as much to prove. In the absence of soap operas and warring egos (a tension soothed in part by a long break and solo albums for Buckingham, Nicks, and even Mick Fleetwood), they settle into the job they signed up for seven years earlier: a platinum-selling band that makes interesting pop-rock without trying to pry the form apart. Mirage came out in 1982: MTV was changing the cultural landscape, and the band’s soft-rock peers from the 1970s—the Eagles, The Doobie Brothers—were either breaking up or winding down. Fleetwood Mac wasn’t pretending they were part of the new wave, especially after the experiments of Tusk, but the videos for “Gypsy” and “Hold Me” made them seem like they were game to go along for the ride. The same year, the Easy Listening chart got a new name: Adult Contemporary, where both “Gypsy” and “Hold Me” went into the Top 10 alongside mellower, golden-years artists like Kenny Rogers and Neil Diamond. In both cases, they fit, but they also rub up against their surroundings in ways that make them stand out. Mirage moves forward the way they always have: on their own.

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