Rolling Stone, December 20, 1984

Year in Albums

by Kurt Loder

Go Insane: Lindsey Buckingham (Elektra/Asylum)

Before hardcore blossomed, a lot of the New Wave-pop-punk music from California - sealed off as it was from what East Coasters and Brits saw as the real action - seemed self-contradictorily slick and hermetic. Erstwhile Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham was one of the few mainstream musicians to dig into new-music styles and dynamics in a serious way and to bring to them already imposing skills as a writer, guitarist and producer; but his music, too, seems insular and sometimes airless.

Oddly, this is by his own design.

"Go Insane," Buckingham's second solo album, is a singular mix of Seventies sheen and Eighties edge, enormously inventive in every respect, from the dazzling, "I Want You" and the melodiously cascading "Bang the Drum" to the furiously eclectic "D.W. Suite," a homage to the late Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. But even though Roy Thomas Baker was brought in to oversee the production this time, Buckingham still played almost every instrument on the album, and sometimes one longs for a little more outside input - a slap on the head here, a kick in the ass there.

Buckingham is a studio oddball in the grand California tradition of Kenny Young, Curt Boetcher and Van Dyke Parks, and like them, he may never be truly appreciated by the masses - which would be a shame, because his talents are too big to be contained by simple pop stardom, and besides, rock needs all the nut-case savants it can get.

Thanks to Les for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.