Myles M. from LOVINGTON, IL Reviewed on 5/26/2013...
I greatly enjoyed this CD! I was surprised; I've not enjoyed a lot of what the Mac has put out since...well, since Tusk, actully. But this album was a pleasure.
Raef N. (Budgie) from GAITHERSBURG, MD Reviewed on 2/20/2008...
Simply put, Lindsey Buckingham is dearly missed on this album.
The Pete | Illinois | 03/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm sorry but I just do not agree with the general consensus that Lindsey Buckingham was this brilliant producer. The more control he took over the production, the more bland the albums got. Can anyone honestly say that most of "Mirage" was anything but mediocre soft rock? Does anyone really like more than half the songs on side two of "Tango in the Night"?"Behind the Mask" to me is the proof of where Mac's strengths really are. They sound like a cohesive group again for one thing! McVie and Fleetwood seem to have had a leash taken off them on this CD. There's more bass and thump than on any Mac disk since "Rumours", and Rick Vito's guitar work is a welcome shot of unadorned rock and roll. Also, the vocal harmonies are arranged better than they had been on the last three Mac studio albums. All this creates energy that was largely missing after "Tusk".Lindsey is a terrific guitarist and good singer so you do miss him, but the remaining writers step up to the challenge with remarkable strength. Stevie and Christine contribute some of their best Mac songs in years. "Freedom" and "Love is Dangerous" have Stevie singing ominous lines they way she was meant to. Christine's work is good pop without getting sappy ("Skies the Limit" is a stand out). I also enjoyed Vito and Burnette's songs ("Stand on the Rock" is a charming peek at what Mac would sound like doing a bar band song) and the wierd stuff on "Back of My Mind".I like Fleetwood Mac, but I really feel that after "Rumours" each album had plenty of filler. Song for song, this underrated album is their most solid and consistent post-"Rumours" effort."
FM Fans Can't Afford to Miss This
V. R. Smith | Lancaster, PA USA | 09/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unless Lindsey Buckingham's music is your only reason for listening to Fleetwood Mac, this item is a must-have. Christine and Stevie showcase some of their best work here, including Affairs of the Heart, Freedom, and The Second Time by Stevie, and Skies the Limit and Save Me, excellent efforts by Christine.
One thing that did take me by surprise is how much I really did like the music of the "new" guys, Billy Burnette and Rick Vito. Their music fits very well with what we have come to know as Fleetwood Mac - highlights include Hard Feelings and Stand on the Rock.
In summary, listen to the clips at the bottom of this page; you will not be disappointed."
+1/2, A real mixed bag
Robert Johnson | Richmond, KY USA | 10/24/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The band's first album without Lindsey Buckingham since 1975, BEHIND THE MASK was largely considered a pretty big disappointment for the band in the states - although it certainly has it's fans and defenders. Buckingham was replaced by Rick Vito and Billy Burnette, both of whom are acceptably talented musicians and singers, although neither has the warped genius or madman charisma of Buckingham. Commercially-speaking, the album actually performed fairly well at the time of it's release, peaking at a respectable #18 on the Hot 200 and reaching Gold status in sales. Most of the band's trademark pop-craftsmanship of the seventies and eighties is still present here, although the handful of truly strong songs are still occasionally undermined by the generally bland production of Greg Ladanyi.
Returning from the massive success of TANGO IN THE NIGHT's "Little Lies" and "Everywhere," Christine McVie and husband/co-writer Eddy Quintela return with two more irresistible pop confections. Both the album opener, the unabashedly optimistic "Skies the Limit" (#10 Adult Contemporary, #40 Mainstream Rock), and the soft arena rock of the hit "Save Me" (#33 Pop, #6 Adult Contemporary, #3 Mainstream Rock) are expertly-written compositions that perfectly represent the opposing sides of McVie's material. I think they would have been even more effective with edgier arrangements, but, even so, both songs work extremely well. The moody title track, Christine's only solo contribution on this disc, is a brilliantly pained composition that allows the usually straightforward McVie to take a rare trip to the dark side. It's the freshest, most daring and abstract track here, and is further sweetened by a welcome guest appearance of Lindsey Buckingham's unmistakable guitar-playing.
Stevie Nicks had shocked fans everywhere with the surprisingly weak and lackluster compositions she contributed to 1987's TANGO IN THE NIGHT. On a more positive note, her 1989 solo album THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR had contained about six songs that were as great as anything else she had ever written. Fortunately, the four songs she contributes here are all solid and are highlights of this album. Nicks' only solo composition, the gorgeous mid-tempo love song "Affair of the Heart," is possibly the singer's most affecting number since 1985's "Has Anyone Written Anything For You." Nicks' track with frequent collaborator Michael Campbell, the rocker "Freedom," is a haunting rocker that gives the disc a nice jolt just as begins to wind down. Nicks also collaborates with then-new member Rick Vito on two tracks of superior quality. The delicate ballad "The Second Time" is one of Nicks most successfully tender numbers, while the funky up-tempo "Love Is Dangerous" (#7 Mainstream Rock) is hardest rocking number here - a few more energetic numbers like this one could have made this album a minor classic!
The tunes submitted by Vito and Burnette confirm that neither man had found his niche in the band yet, which is understandable considering it is their first outing with the group. They certainly try on a wide range of styles. In addition to his collaborations with Nicks, Vitto contributes the decent rocker "Stand on the Rock" (although, again, the production should have had more bite), while Burnette delivers a respectable attempt at avant garde with "In the Back of My Mind" (although it's too cluttered and uninspired to really hit the bull's-eye). Vitto and Burnette join forces on the credible rockabilly tune "When the Sun Goes Down," which is the best contribution from either man (maybe they should've worked together more often). The album is at it's absolute worst on the three banal ballads co-penned by Burnette. The tacky "Hard Feelings" (co-written with Jeff Silbar) is a by-the-numbers Phil Collins knock-off, while "When It Comes To Love" (written with Dennis Morgan and Simon Climie) and "Do You Know" (co-penned by Christine McVie, who should have known better) are hackneyed and gooey, Halmark-ready rubbish that could have been churned out by Diane Warren.
A mixed bag with some great moments and some dreadful ones, BEHIND THE MASK is a near miss if there ever was one. There are a number of good songs present, but many are camouflaged under the pedestrian production. Had the band scrapped Ladanyi and his "lite FM" arrangements in favor of a rawer, less glossy sound, then the disc might have been great. I wish that this lineup of the group had stayed together and recorded another album, as their follow up album might have really hit the spot. As is, the disc showcases the group progressively venturing into the band oblivion. After listening to this album it is clear that without the driving vision of a singular genius, whether Peter Green or Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac sounds like any other band."
You make loving fun
loteq | Regensburg | 02/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reading allmusic.com's embarrassing review of this album (1.5 out of 5 stars), I was really shocked. Obviously, this is a record which polarizes both critics and fans, but I think we ought to be fair. The reality is that "Behind the mask" is a delightful exception to FM's later-era sound. "Tango in the night" was inconsistent and weird, showing that Lindsey's influence was probably becoming too big. However, "Behind the mask" is an attempt to go back to a more organic and less lightweight sound. "Save me" and the title track are among Christine's best songs ever, and "Affairs of the heart" proves that Stevie's voice is still good. Billy and Rick add some new color to FM's sound with the rockabilly of "When the sun..", the psychedelic "In the back..", and the classic rock of "Stand on..". All in all, there's absolutely no reason for bashing this album as 'uninspired' or 'lackluster'. I recommend you to check out Rick Vito's solo album "King of hearts", with backing vocals by Stevie on two songs."
Do you know...this is good.
Burton Rhode | northport, al United States | 08/18/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I think Lindseyphiles are too hard on this one. Personally I think Mask is far better than Tango. I think the reason Mask bombed is the same reason Lindsey's last solo album bombed: The Mac was perceived as a bunch of tired old fogeys by 1990. How wrong! Christine contibutes two classics, Skies the Limit and Save Me, as well as the solid Behind the Mask. Her collaboration with Billy Burnett on the ballad Do You Know is excellent. Burnett and Vito have great songs, to which Stevie and Christine contribute great vocals. When It Comes to Love and When the Sun Goes Down are catchy pop songs, In the Back of My Mind is as good and freaky as Lindsay's specialties. Hard Feelings is a decent ballad. Burnett did a good job here! Love Is Dangerous and Stand on the Rock are great Vito rockers. Stevie is dynamite vocally on Love Is Dangerous. Freedom, though not written by Stevie, is one of her best rockers. However, Stevie's Affairs of the Heart and The Second Time are spoiled by ragged vocals. Still she is much better here than on Tango."