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Music / Tusk

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"It's not that funny, is it?/No one to turn you on/All your hope is gone/It's not that funny, is it?"

"Fleetwood Mac is subverting the music from the inside out, very much like one of John le Carré’s moles - who, planted in the heart of the establishment, does not begin his secret campaign of sabotage and betrayal until everyone has gotten used to him, and takes him for granted."
—From Greil Marcus' favourable review of the album

Tusk is the twelfth studio album by Fleetwood Mac, released in 1979. It was the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the 1977 classic Rumours, the top-selling album of that year and one of the biggest hit albums of the decade. The band, and especially singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, wanted to take some risks with Tusk. Compared to Rumours which had an upbeat pop/rock sound, Tusk for the most part was a bizarre collection of music influenced by Punk Rock and New Wave Music. The artistic risks to some degree backfired, along with the higher price associated with a double album and the RKO radio network broadcasting the entire album ahead of time, allowing for extensive home taping. While Tusk still sold in numbers that most bands would only dream of, it was dubbed a commercial disappointment. In the long run, though, it's been remembered as one of their best works.



Side One

  1. "Over And Over" (4:35)
  2. "The Ledge" (2:02)
  3. "Think About Me" (2:44)
  4. "Save Me A Place" (2:40)
  5. "Sara" (6:26)

Side Two

  1. "What Makes You Think You're The One" (3:28)
  2. "Storms" (5:28)
  3. "That's All For Everyone" (3:04)
  4. "Not That Funny" (3:19)
  5. "Sisters Of The Moon" (4:36)

Side Three

  1. "Angel" (4:53)
  2. "That's Enough For Me" (1:48)
  3. "Brown Eyes" (4:27)
  4. "Never Make Me Cry" (2:14)
  5. "I Know I'm Not Wrong" (2:59)

Side Four

  1. "Honey Hi" (2:43)
  2. "Beautiful Child" (5:19)
  3. "Walk A Thin Line" (3:44)
  4. "Tusk" (3:36)
  5. "Never Forget" (3:40)


Principal Members:

  • Lindsey Buckingham - lead vocals, guitar, piano, bass, harmonica, drums, percussion
  • Mick Fleetwood - drums, percussion
  • Christine McVie - lead vocals, keyboard, piano, accordion
  • John McVie - bass
  • Stevie Nicks - lead vocals, keyboard

Trope! Just say that you want me!:

  • Alliterative Title: "Honey Hi", "Over & Over"
  • Auteur License: The success of Rumours gave the band one. Warner Bros. Records revoked it after the album's relative failure. Mirage was a self-consciously commercial effort.
  • Boléro Effect: "Tusk" qualifies, since it opens with Fleetwood's repeated drum pattern and builds up from there.
  • Cover Album: Camper Van Beethoven did a full-album cover of Tusk in 2003.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The cover is a black and white snapshot of a biting attack dog, off-centre on an off-white background.
  • Epic Rocking: "Sara", "Storms" and "Beautiful Child" are all over five minutes. Being the longest song on the album, "Sara" was initially trimmed by about two minutes on early CD versions; Due to the technology at the time, the album would otherwise be just a little too long to fit on a single disc.
  • Genre Roulette: Due to the diverging interests of the three singer-songwriters. Christine McVie's work became a little jazzier; Stevie Nicks mostly stayed true to folk and country rock; and Lindsey Buckingham's songs were a product of his reverence for Brian Wilson and his newfound interest in Punk Rock and New Wave Music.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: "Tusk" is pure, uncut simmering romantic jealousy set to music.
  • If I Can't Have You...: "The Ledge" certainly sounds it.
    "Do you ever wonder
    Do you ever hate
    Six feet under
    Someone who can wait
    You can love me baby but you can't walk out
    Someone oughta tell you
    Oughta tell you what it's really all about."
  • Important Haircut: Lindsey Buckingham shed the Funny Afro he had on Rumours.
  • Irony: In their attempt to invoke the do-it-yourself aesthetic of Punk Rock, Buckingham and company spent a lot of money, booking tons of studio time only to end up recording percussion tracks on a desk chair in a bathroom.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "That's Enough for Me" never hits the two-minute mark, while "The Ledge" and "Never Make Me Cry" just barely cross it.
  • Mood Whiplash: The contrast between the tense and brassy "Tusk" and the warm love song "Never Forget" is only slightly less jarring than the "Revolution #9"/"Good Night" split on The White Album.
  • One-Word Title: "Sara", "Storms", "Angel" and the Title Track.
  • Questioning Title?: "What Makes You Think You're the One".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "What Makes You Think You're the One".
    What makes you think I'm the one
    Who will love you forever?
    Everything you do has been done
    And this won't last forever
  • Repetitive Name: "Over And Over".
  • Sequel Song: "Storms" has a one-syllable, plural title like "Dreams", which had the line "Thunder only happens when it's raining".
  • Shout-Out: The New Pornographers play a snippet of "I Know I'm Not Wrong" toward the end of their song, "To Wild Homes", as "proof that Tusk has haunted our music." They've also covered "Think About Me".
  • Special Guest:
  • Spiritual Successor: The album has been compared favorably to The White Album for its stylistic variation.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • The pre-Rumours wounds hadn't healed yet.
    • "Tusk"
    Why don't you tell me what's going on?
    Why don't you tell me who's on the phone?
    • "Never Make Me Cry"
    Go and do what you want
    I know that you have the need
    You know that I'll wait, as long as it takes


Example of: