Monday, 23 September 2013

7 inch singles collection: Fleetwood Mac - Isn't It Midnight?

This time rock legends on the comeback trail:


A-side: Isn't It Midnight?
B-Side: Mystified
(Warner Bros.  1988)

Tango In The Night was a huge album in and around 1987. Fleetwood Mac had not been visible for a few years, presumably self-combusting under their own internal soap opera. Then boom the radio and TV was full of Big Love, Little Lies and Everywhere. It would be fair to say that they mined this album to it's fullest. 

This single was the sixth(!) to be released from the album, as a result this single probably suffered a bit chartwise, not because it was the runt of the litter, but maybe because of overload. Both tracks on this record were on the album, and most people who would buy this single probably had the album already  - it had been hanging around the upper echelons of the album chart for the best part of six months by then.

There are three types of album track: Firstly there are those which make good singles - they're like the shop window to entice you into something else. Then there are those tracks that are maybe better than the actual singles, but maybe don't have the hooks, but are weightier both musically and thematically than the singles. This first track on his single is one of these. Isn't It Midnight? has a more aggressive and rockier feel than some of the previous singles from this album, but it doesn't feel as catchy until it's nearly over. It sounds like an album track rather than a single. 

The third type of album track is what I think we find on the b-side of this single. Mystified, is catchier, but feels more vapid and insubstantial, it feels a bit like filler. Maybe, being released earlier would have been to it's advantage, and it wouldn't have felt so slight- but most of the great stuff had already been released, and they were down to the OK songs. Of course it would have been better if they had released something fresh and new, even as a B-side, but by the time this single was released the band were probably once again in the middle of falling apart.

Next time a bit of Canadian country.

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