Friday, November 14, 2008

Review: Lindsey Buckingham - Gift of Screws

Label: Reprise Records

Released: September 16, 2008

A few years back, a friend and I made our list of the top 20 rock guitarists. At the time, I thought it was as close to perfect as such a list could be. It was however, deeply flawed and Gift of Screws reminds me why: Lindsey Buckingham wasn't on it. I'm not even sure how he was forgotten. Perhaps it's because, as good as he is, he plays for the song and not his own ego. Perhaps it was just that the songwriting often outshone his fretwork. Anyway you look at it though, we screwed up.

Buckingham's guitar work is nothing short of amazing on Gift of Screws. From the opening track, his ability to play like he's more than one person is astounding. The trouble with the album is primarily songwriting. Some of the songs are very good, nothing like the stuff he wrote 30 years ago with Fleetwood Mac, but good nonetheless. However, just as many feel like under-developed ideas. Strangely, these are the songs where his playing really stands out, because it alone saves them. It certainly doesn't seem like Buckingham's tank is dry, even as a writer. It just seems as though he should have taken a little more time fleshing out his musical ideas. It might have hidden his skill as a player a bit, but in a sense, that has been one of his best traits over the years.

Satriani: 10/10
Zappa: 6/10
Dylan: 5/10
Aretha: 6/10
Overall: 7/10


If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.

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Blogger taotechuck said...

You know, your insistence on including Greg Ginn on that list is probably why Lindsey Buckingham got left off. I agreed with 19 of the 20, but I just wasn't sure about Greg Ginn. Make us both happy and lose Ginn.

Anyway, the point I really wanted to make was that Lindsey Buckingham might be one of those people who shines brightest when there's friction. I don't know if he's happy in his life right now, but maybe our aural happiness is directly proportional to his unhappiness.

I bet him and Stevie Nicks are nice to each other now. They should have a big fight before his next album.

3:40 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

You were unsure about Ginn, because you don't know his stuff. There is no doubt in my mind that he belongs on that list.

I think you might be right about the unhappiness thing. I bet he and Ms Nicks were just a sweet, happy couple when they made that lackluster Buckingham/Nicks record.

3:58 PM  
Blogger The Mad Hatter said...

I really need to listen to Black Flag already. I'm guessing that Ginn would have been on my top 50 if that had been the case. I've heard great stuff about not only him, but the band, and I just never get around to it. In retrospect, in reference to Buckingham, I think that lists are fun to do, but you know, as soon as you finish them, you realize you missed someone. Or a month later you find a guitarist you wish you had found earlier. Far from now into the future in a land far far away, I'll probably revise my top 50. I don't think Buckingham will make it, but Ginn might be.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Oh was this the perfect list that didn't include Tony Iommi?

I mean he cartainly didn't have any impact or anything like that. I am sure that metal and all heavy music would be exactly the same if he had never existed.

7:32 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

Actually, it did include Tony Iommi. He was an early oversight that was, unlike Buckingham, corrected.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

I know that Iommi was eventually included, but I remember wondering why you had Ginn on the list and not Iommi at first.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I'd have to say Lindsay's "I Think I'm In Trouble" is a guilty pleasure, schmaltzy as it may be

9:51 PM  
Blogger taotechuck said...

I'm finally getting around to listening to this one, and I'm glad I didn't let it slip between the cracks. Buckingham is an amazing guitarist, and this might be some of his best guitar work.

For some reason, I remembered you being pretty hard on this album, but I think 7/10 is pretty fair. Some of the songwriting is lame, but the good songs are very very good.

10:32 PM  

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