"You sense that, in a weird way, we belong together," says Lindsey Buckingham of his fellow members in Fleetwood Mac. "And people who feel like they don’t belong anywhere else can at least feel good about that. I think that’s one factor in the band’s longevity.”


In the past, songwriting in Fleetwood Mac had been a three-way split, with Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie all contributing songs. But with Christine out of the picture, the emphasis falls more squarely on the Buckingham/Nicks dynamic. There’s an element of historical irony in this, as Lindsey and Stevie were an up-and-coming duo act when they joined forces with Fleetwood Mac in 1974.

"Now Stevie and I joke about having played this exquisite waiting game to go back to being Buckingham/Nicks again," the guitarist says with a laugh. "And in some ways, the differences between Stevie’s style and mine are actually more marked by having only the two of us writing songs for this album."

Indeed, the duo has always been one of the greatest yin/yang acts in pop. "She’s always been more the romantic and the poet," says Buckingham. "She romanticizes her own romanticism. That’s what makes her Stevie. I tend to be more of a realist in my lyrics. She’s more up in the clouds with her vision, and I’m tending to be more on the ground.”


While some of Nicks’ material also has a topical slant, many of her songs seem to exude a mood of romantic embitterment. "Well, I never know what the hell she’s talking about," Buckingham says. "Sometimes I think she’s writing about me. I never know who she’s writing about. But it always seems that she’s writing about somebody with whom she has, or has had, a relationship. She and I never really talk about that. She’s very private about that. But I wouldn’t be surprised if some of that stuff is still about me. I think quite often she’ll write a song and part of it is about one person and then it shifts to someone else. Kind of a stream-of-consciousness style."

There’s something endearing in the idea that, nearly 30 years after Buckingham and Nicks split romantically, her lyrics still have the power to evoke in him the emotions of their relationship. Creatively as well, the tensions that have always existed between the duo are still as alive as ever. Typically, he has always pushed for experimentation in the studio, while she’s always been more of a traditionalist.

"Stevie sees herself as being defined within a certain set of boundaries, outside of which things probably don't ring true to her, or to the people who listen to what she does," Buckingham theorizes. "But at the same time, I think she's intrigued by the idea of pushing the envelope, especially on this album. She never wants to go too far with it, though. For example, I asked her to sing on the song 'Come' and she wouldn't. I think she thought it was dirty. That tells you something about someone who has been a rock icon but in some ways is still quite a conservative person. And I don't see her as someone who has lived her life very conservatively. So there's an interesting dichotomy there.”

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