Official Ultimate Classic Rock rating: 7 out of 10
Earlier today (April 30), Fleetwood Mac released a four-song EP, Extended Play, their first new studio material since 2003′s Say You Will. While the EP is available for purchase exclusively at iTunes, you can stream the lead track and first single, “Sad Angel,” below.
Written by Lindsey Buckingham, “Sad Angel” opens with some typically kinetic, percussive Buckingham rhythm guitar before his vocals come in, and joined later by the whole band. The rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood chug along in typical no-nonsense, muscular fashion, with some keyboards and a few layers of guitars to fill it out.
Even though she sings in tandem with Buckingham for all but the opening 15 seconds, Stevie Nicks is largely invisible. She takes her lines well and the two still blend together very well, but there’s little of her trademark personality on display. Maybe that’s a little harsh, but for a band that has traded so frequently on the duo’s history together, “Sad Angel” doesn’t offer much in the way of tension between its two lead singers.
Not that that’s a bad thing, of course. Throughout the run-up to the release of ‘Extended Play,’ we’ve heard about how those past issues are behind them — note how they’re posed in the press photo above — so what better way to prove it than with a nice, poppy song that is, lyrically, light years removed from their famously autobiographical work.
Or is it? The ambiguous lyrics could be Buckingham acknowledging that he and Nicks need each other, and are never better than when they’re together. “We fall to Earth together / The crowd calling out for more / Hello, hello sad angel / Have you come to fight the war?” they sing in the chorus. It’s hard to tell, because we usually associate Nicks with gypsies or witches, not angels.
If “Sad Angel” is about her, then it’s a nice peace offering as the two of them prepare to write the newest chapter in their incredibly long history together. If not, then it’s still a welcome return to form for one of rock’s most enduring bands.
Dave Lifton / Ultimate Classic Rock / Tuesday, April 30, 2013