Lindsey Buckingham has been tagged with many titles: Rock's most underrated guitarist; the musical architect of Fleetwood Mac; an underappreciated talent; etc. Lindsey himself eschews these titles, showing a humility that is striking in the face of his immense talent. "Under The Skin" is an overdue display of this uncommon talent. This album was in the making for quite a few years, and as everyone knows, Fleetwood Mac intervened and the project was put on hold. So besides being a labor of love for Lindsey, the album also displays a tangible sense of relief and thankfulness for finally being completed. Created in an intimate and personal style, this album channels a dichotomy of tension and ease in both the music and the lyrics. Lindsey's incredible self-taught fingerpicking is on full display, and his lyrical abilities have improved since the Fleetwood Mac heyday, which he attributes to having children. "Not Too Late" begins the journey with an incredibly fast finger-style explosion, and lyrics that are intimately searching. "Under The Skin" is a lovely, understated example of Buckingham's ability to tone down his legendary intensity (and it's also one of the very few songs you'll ever see him play with a pick in concert). The two covers on this album also provide an interesting insight into Lindsey's interpretive abilities. "I Am Waiting" by the Stones is beautifully haunting, and the chorus shows off Lindsey's urgent tenor. (You can also see Lindsey playing a version of this song with Stevie Nicks doing some harmonies on the "Destiny Rules" documentary, leading me to think that this song was in the running to appear on "Say You Will"). "To Try For The Sun" by Donovan is radically transformed into a rapid-fire gem that displays some of the best finger-picking I've heard from Lindsey. This is definitely one of the stand-out tracks on the album. Another fascinating example of Lindsey's ability to interpret (not included on the album) is his version of "Here Comes The Sun," which was in tribute to George Harrison at the time of his passing (the video of Lindsey's performance is available on YouTube). "Cast Away Dreams" is another introspective lyric, with Lindsey verbalizing his forward-reaching outlook instead of dwelling on dreams past. This is also another of the very few songs that Lindsey strums with a pick. "Shut Us Down" is a bit darker than the rest, with a sepia-toned melody and a delicately devastating vocal. The way this is played perfectly mirrors and complements the content of the lyrics, which is something Lindsey is an expert at doing. The standout track of the album to me is "Down On Rodeo," which Lindsey began writing a good ten years before this album was released. It features Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, and it does evoke that Fleetwood Mac rhythm section vibe, in the vein of "Bleed To Love Her" (the Say You Will version), which is also one of Lindsey's finest creations. The melody and resolution of the music are lingering, and the lyrics are equally poignant: "Faces of glass, all hung in the past, we only came here to drown" and "We never took quite enough chances, we never had quite enough time." This is remarkable work from a remarkable artist, and a testament to his lasting creativity and innovation. Highly recommended, and a great complement to the Fleetwood Mac collection, but also a great introduction to Lindsey's extraordinary artistic vision.
I would recommend this to a friend