Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac

This collection offers a beguiling mix of different takes on a timeless cannon of songs.

Label: Decca

Rating: 7

Fleetwood Mac’s influence on alternative music seems to be becoming ever greater as they are cited by innumerable musicians from across the musical spectrum. As well as a large number of name checks, 2012 has seen yet more Fleetwood Mac interest generated by the announcement that the group will reconvene for a 2013 tour. It is therefore an extremely apposite time for ‘Just Tell Me That You Want Me’, a tribute album recorded by a disparate mix of alternative musicians young and old to be released.

One of the great things about Fleetwood Mac is the timelessness and inclusiveness of their music. They are a band equally lauded by homemakers and hipsters, connoisseurs and casual observers. Everyone has a favourite Fleetwood Mac song. The breadth of their influence is captured on this collection of covers. Contempory indie idols Best Coast, Lykke Li, Washed Out and MGMT provide different versions of Mac songs both classic and relatively obscure alongside some renditions by more weathered veterans like Lee Ranaldo, Marianne Faithful and Billy Gibbons. There are also a number of curio covers by the likes of Antony Hegarty, and DFA electronic musician The Crystal Ark. This collection offers a beguiling mix of different takes on a timeless cannon of songs.

The album focuses largely beyond the obvious hits; this is mostly to positive effect. The weaker moments are provided by The Kills’ misguided garage rock rendition of ’Dreams’ and Best Coast’s lightweight run through of ’Rhiannon’. Instead, the highlights are the versions that shine a light on the intense emotional core at the heart of their best songs. Stevie Nicks is the beating heart behind that pull and her songs are among the best here, particularly the stunning rendition of ’Silver Springs’ by Lykke Li. ’Silver Springs’ is something of a lost Fleetwood Mac classic. It was intended for inclusion on 1977’s landmark ’Rumour’ EP but was instead relegated to b-side status. It remains one of Nick’s post powerful songs and Lykke Li is the perfect singer to convey its intense rippling emotion. It is a truly stunning version.

Elsewhere, the album pays deference to the band’s more experimental side with the inclusion of five tracks from 1979’s troubled follow up to ‘Rumours’, ‘Tusk’. The best of these is Craig Wedren and St Vincent’s fuzzy electro take on ‘Sisters Of The Moon’. It is left to the typically abstruse MGMT to provide the albums’ weirdest moment however, with a psychedelic expansive, almost prog rock take on ‘Future Games’ - a track from the Bob Welch-fronted version of the group in 1971. Hardly anybody thinks of the Welch era when they think about Fleetwood Mac, but MGMT’s effort is among the very best things here. An example of this compilation’s benefits is that in delving that little bit deeper it shows there is more to the band than newcomers may expect.

‘Just Tell Me That You Want Me’ does suffer from the lack of coherency caused by the inclusion of so many different artists and styles but fortunately, when the subject and the songs are so good, this matters little. A suitably excellent tribute to a very special band.