From the late ’60s to the mid ’70s, Fleetwood Mac changed members so many times that nearly every album features different musicians. So it wasn’t that much of a switch when in 1975 this album featured two singer-songwriters based in Mac’s adopted Los Angeles, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. The difference, though, was profound: Now there were pristine harmonies, a consistent emphasis on voices and rhythm, far tighter arrangements, cleaner production and, most surprisingly, a newly interactive band dynamic that complemented disparate writing and singing styles. This lineup meshed like crazy; old-timers Mick Fleetwood and John McVie now played telepathically, keyboardist/singer Christine McVie wrote and sang far more pointedly, and the newbies each had a presence far more individual than any of their accomplished predecessors: Almost overnight, Fleetwood Mac morphed from troupers to superstars.
Hitting that sweet spot between AM catchiness and FM creativity, the new Mac began generating classic singles that defined their era: “Over My Head,” “Rhiannon” and “Say You Love Me” pushed this album to the top of Billboard’s chart more than a year after its release. More importantly, Fleetwood Mac gels as a coherent statement; its sequencing accentuates the band’s varying attributes by playing up its contrasts: Buckingham’s galloping “Monday Morning” announces a rocking new beginning, then McVie’s “Warm Ways” maintains Mac’s post-blues mellow center. Her jaunty piano is front and center in “Sugar Daddy,” then Buckingham’s haunted, multi-tracked guitars take over on the culminating “I’m So Afraid.” Throughout, the band achieves a rare balance of feminine and masculine attributes. Fleetwood Mac now personified the liberation of ’70s-style gender equality, one that would heat up even hotter on Rumours.