Sound — 10
Buckingham released a third studio album in 1993, a gem of a CD titled "Out Of The Cradle". The disc has since garnered gold status in sales - not a small achievement for an album some folks might consider too artsy or left-field for the mainstream. Indeed, if Bach could dabble in West Coast Cool Jazz (e.g. Jim Hall), and then produce a pop record, it would probably sound something like "Out Of The Cradle". Fans of the classic Fleetwood Mac sound (e.g. "Go Your Own Way", "Don't Stop", etc.) will realize within the first five seconds of play that this is NOT a hash of Mac-ish material distributed as a solo record. Lindsey's work on the 80's Mac album "Tango In The Night" (e.g. "Caroline", and the rare B-Side "You & I, Pt. I") flirts with the sound of this disc, but the similarities are surface at best. Readers who know Lindsey Buckingham's contributions to Fleetwood Mac will know that, as a musician, the guy has always been all about the guitar. This should please any guitar aficionado out there; however, "Out Of The Cradle" is not an exercise in bang-pow technical wizardry and speed (e.g. Joe Satriani) for the sake of technical wizardry and speed. As a guitarist, Buckingham emphasizes instrumental lyricism, melody, and mood. A plethora of effects is invoked, but not for its own sake; in Lindsey's world, effects are means rather than ends.
Lyrics — 8
In one interview, Lindsey described his status as lyricist as a secondary one; more of an obligatory appendium to his musicianship. Buckingham's lyrics are not the self-revelatory sort. He favors broad, universal themes (e.g. Loneliness: "All My Sorrows", "Soul Drifter", "Say We'll Meet Again"; renewal: "Don't Look Down", "Countdown") in lieu of personal confessions, stories, or polemics (although "Wrong", an abstract dig at the music industry, comes close, here). Listeners who thrive on the latter three styles will find little in "Out Of The Cradle" to demand their attention. This disc belongs to listeners who appreciate a lyric's propensity to evoke atmosphere and establish mood; they will relish its unapologetic subjectivity. As for Buckingham's singing? Buckingham is considered a rocker, but his earnest tenor resembles neither the tortured baritone of Kurt and his modern proteges (e.g. Staind, Seether, etc.), nor the baritone bombast of acts like Default, Trapt, Nickelback, Shinedown, and countless others (circa 2006) that dominate the modern rock scene. Buckingham sings with a lyrical neurosis; some may find it exhilarating, some may find it unsettling. "Doing What I Can" may be the first pop song snapshot of mania ("Laughing in my sleep, dancing on the stone, waiting here for something, something I don't know"). On the dark side of the moon waits "Street Of Dreams" and "All My Sorrows".
Overall Impression — 9
If "baroque pop" were a genre, "Out Of The Cradle" would be one of its cornerstones. There is no filler on the album. Each song is hand-crafted, so to speak, with an original identity; picking favorites would be an exercise in subjectivity rather than objectivity. Guitar freaks will love the instrumental introductions. It is one of the most genuinely idiosyncratic pop/rock records on the market; it is blissfully lacking of pretention and market-minded calculation. Without a doubt, I would repurchase this record if it were stolen/lost (although the damn thing is curiously difficult to find - I ordered mine online). A few easter eggs for those of you who bought the Mac album "Say You Will": the intro of "Wrong" sounds much like the intro of "Murrow", "This Is The Time" sounds structurally similar to "Come" and the bridge in "You Do Or You Don't" ("Somebody's got to see this thru...") is recycled in "Bleed To Love Her". Now, if Lindsey would just give his fans a "Gift Of Screws..."