Rewind: Fleetwood Mac, “It Takes Time”

Known for his dense, sunny arrangements of Fleetwood Mac’s romantic turmoil, Lindsey Buckingham contributed this plaintive piano ballad to the band’s 2013 iTunes-only EP, Extended Play.  A self-proclaimed stylist and studio rat, Buckingham has regularly infused both his contributions to Fleetwood Mac albums and solo output with his signature layered, guitar-laden production.

In some ways, “It Takes Time” is a radical departure for Lindsey Buckingham, a rare piano track adorned only with a delicate string arrangement.  Yet, the raw emotion of the track is classic Buckingham.  While the personal mythology of Stevie Nicks and the feel-good love songs of Christine McVie may have garnered them bigger hits, Buckingham’s heartfelt and direct lyrics, from “Go Your Own Way” to his still-modern contributions to Tusk, have always revealed him as the band’s beating, and often broken, heart.

“It Takes Time” finds Buckingham asking someone, reportedly Stevie Nicks (yes, still), to be patient as he tries to change his ways.  The vulnerability he shows, both lyrically, and in his restrained, but emotional singing, is not new for Buckingham.  Behind the anger of Rumours’ “Go Your Own Way” and “Never Going Back Again” was the desperate plea of a lover asking for redemption.  On Tusk, the paranoia and vitriol of the title track was balanced by the wistfulness of “That’s Enough for Me” and the majestic sadness of “Save Me a Place.”

Yet, for many years, the stark honesty of songs like “Go Insane” and “Big Love” was obscured by layers of Buckingham’s studio wizardry.  As someone who has relied on his considerable song-crafting talent to create perfect pop songs, Buckingham often did not listeners get close enough to really see the man behind the songs.  While we neither expect nor want Buckingham to abandon his guitar licks and studio magic,  “It Takes Time” is a welcome detour from Buckingham’s usual pursuit of perfection – and shows that sometimes it is the imperfections that really bring us together.

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