Monday, January 27, 2014

Christine McVie - Christine McVie

Today (January 27th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Christine McVie, the self-titled solo album from the Fleetwood Mac singer. The 1984 release went to number 58 on the UK charts and number 26 on the US Billboard Album chart. It was her first and only solo album in the 80's; her previous solo effort was 1970's Christine Perfect.

Besides vocals, McVie also played keyboards and percussion. She was assisted by Todd Sharp (guitar and vocals), George Hawkins (bass and vocals) and Steve Ferrone (drums and percussion). Lindsey Buckingham provided backing vocals on three tracks and guitar on three tracks as well.

Side one opens with "Love Will Show Us How"; as the second single it peaked at number 32 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and number 30 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song features a bouncy rhythm to it that fully supports the lyrical optimism.

"The Challenge", a song about moving on alone after a life-changing break-up, features Eric Clapton on lead guitar.

"So Excited" has a rousing guitar rhythm, courtesy of Buckingham, and a jaunty piano riff.

"One in a Million" has a nice rock edge to it musically. However, for me, McVie's vocals fall slightly short of that edge. Luckily she has guest Steve Winwood sharing the lead vocal duty here to help it overall. Their two voices work well together.

Mcvie's band mate Mick Fleetwood plays drums on "Ask Anybody", a gentle ballad co-written by McVie and Winwood.

Side two begins with "Got a Hold on Me", the album's first single. It charted at number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It opens with a very catchy keyboard melody that carries along the entire track.

"Who's Dreaming This Dream" is next. The rolling mid-tempo tune is a little bland for me; there was not much that stuck with me after the fact.

"I'm the One" is about that person someone turns to every time something goes wrong in his life. McVie comes across though as someone who is tired of being that crutch, and that adds an intriguing element to the song.

"Keeping Secrets" has a different kind of opening, very mysterious. It is a refreshing change-up.

The album closes with the piano ballad "The Smile I Live For".

Back in 1984, I was very familiar with the hit singles from Christine McVie and liked them well enough. The rest of the record is a pleasant, light-rock collection of tunes. This review was my first listen to the entire record. I would have liked a bit more variety but I realize that McVie has a wheel-house she is most comfortable in. These songs represent that area well.


HERC said...

A little incredulous with your somewhat dismissive summary of this fine album. To each his own.

This is definitely a Spring afternoon album for me. I just put it on and let it play and enjoy the day.

Martin Maenza said...

Herc, sorry if I offended you with my review. I suspect this is one of those records that would grow on me over time. I likely will pick up a few more of the deeper cuts at some point.

HERC said...

Never apologize for your opinion. Perhaps my words were too strong. No offense taken.

What I would have liked to say was that if I had to guess, I would have guessed you were a fan of her album before I read your review. But given the body of work you've produced so far, it really should have come as no surprise: you like more uptempo stuff, club jams for your dancing feets.

We cool?

Martin Maenza said...

We totally cool!

As I said in the review, I knew the hits but not many of the deep tracks. And, of course, I knew her from her contributions to Fleetwood Mac.

The beautiful thing about how I do my blog is that I get exposed to a lot of music, especially deeper tracks, that I would not have heard otherwise. This by-release-date approach is an educational experience for me. Plus, as you know, I much prefer older music to a lot of the stuff that graces the radio these days - though some occasional songs do peak my interest now and again.