December 25, 1997
The '70s revival has gone on longer than the '70s did, but Fleetwood Mac's
surprisingly popular return proved that yesterday isn't gone quite yet. The
Mac are a truly totemic rock presence, and their best songs have hung
around the radio long enough to take on lives of their own: "Don't Stop"
reminds you of Clinton, "Gold Dust Woman" reminds you of Courtney,
and "Second Hand News' reminds you of Hanson, who borrowed its chorus
for "MMMBop," although they weren't even born in time for "Tusk." When
Fleetwood Mac came back to reclaim their legacy, they weren't just on a
harmless nostalgia trip: They put a spotlight on the bruised soul of the decade
and on the broken hearts of those who lived through it. Their MTV reunion
special was high-grade rock soap opera: Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham
exchanged cold stares during "The Chain," Christine McVie perched regally at
the piano, Mick Fleetwood made funny faces, and John McVie - well, he looked
as if he'd shown up for a barbecue and been surprised to find a concert going on
instead. It sure beat the hell out of the "Dallas" reunion. "The Dance" hit an
unexpected nerve with fans and radio stations; no '70s band suffered for its sins
as spectacularly as the Mac, and their battle-weary return was shockingly
poignant. The same pathos appeared on the movie screen, in two films revisiting
two very different kinds of '70s decadence. "Boogie Nights" was a sad tour
through the Me Decade porn scene, with a star-making turn from Mark Wahlberg
and his prosthetically enhanced Funky Bunch. "The Ice Storm" wallowed in a
suburban hell of passionless swinging - the grown-ups tried to act hip while their
kids just snickered at them. The '70s we saw this year were a time of pain,
betrayal, commitment and loss. Fleetwood Mac captured the decade's spirit
simply by showing us their scars and letting the landslide roll on.
Next to the above article are side-by-side pictures of Stevie and Gwen Stefani (both
standing on stage and singing) and these words Then & Now:
FLEETWOOD MAC '70s California folk-rock superstars; big hit: "Don't Stop";
blond singer Stevie Nicks epitomized the era with her witchy-woman style;
sang about their traumatic breakups with one another and glared at one
another on recent MTV reunion special.
NO DOUBT '90s California ska-punk superstars; big hit: "Don't Speak";
blond singer Gwen Stefani epitomizes the era with her skate-girl style; most
of Stefani's songs are about her traumic breakup with the bassist, and she
illustrates her bitter lyrics by glaring at him in videos.
Thanks to Sylvia Priwo for sending this article to The Nicks Fix.