Yep, this is a guy who found success in and weathered the dramatics of the late ’70s/early ’80s. Lindsey Buckingham’s long-in-the-works fifth solo album isn’t a huge departure for the Fleetwood Mac guitarist/vocalist, all skittering, fingerpicked guitar work and vocal overdubs by the Tusk-load. And though the painstakingly crafted pop reflects a sunny disposition on the surface, it’s what lies below that interests Buckingham lyrically.
The frenzied boot-stomper of a title track, which cops lines from an Emily Dickinson poem (if not its funereal tone), is one of several references to exploring the notion of the ultimate solitude. The hushed “Underground,” the building “Love Runs Deeper,” the sparse “Bel Air Rain” and even the endlessly catchy chorus of “Did You Miss Me” emphasize the theme either outright or metaphorically, always bluesy yet never explicitly forlorn. After all, asserts the overriding message, we’ll all die alone anyway, so we might as well embrace it with a few top-notch melodies.
The Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and John McVie may guest, and guitar solos may pervade, but like the rustling, ghostly echoes of “Time Precious Time,” transience versus finality is what dominates. Heavy stuff, but as closer “Treason” promises, “Deep down there is freedom.” And coming from a musical journeyman of Buckingham’s pedigree, you’re half-inclined to believe him.