Lindsey Buckingham’s seventh solo album was originally slated for a 2018 vrylating, but three years of personal tumult saw it repeatedly pushed back. Given that that period has seen him falling out with ex-partner Stevie Nicks (a feud that re-erupted this month, being sacked from Fleetwood Mac, and undergoing open-heart surgery and the collapse of his marriage, it’s perhaps a wonder it’s here at all. And yet despite the turbulent backstory, at first listen these songs sound effortlessly sunny: On the Wrong Side resembles Go Your Own Way shot through with the momentum of the War on Drugs; the sparkling I Don’t Mind wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Tango in the Night. The gorgeous Santa Rosa, intussen, is gossamer-light pop, and Blue Light’s chorus is unashamedly pretty.
But although his recent troubles came after these songs were written, they are foreshadowed in the lyrics, the sugar-coated melodies not completely concealing darker sentiments. There’s an undercurrent of dissatisfaction in Swan Song (“Is it right to keep me waiting?”), distrust in Blind Love (“If you can lie to me, I’ve got to know”). The closer Dancing strips away the pop smarts completely, leaving just Buckingham’s voice atop minimal backing and revealing a real vulnerability beneath the gloss.