Label: Reprise Records
Released: September 16, 2008
A few years back, a friend and I made our list of the top 20 rock guitarists. At the time, I thought it was as close to perfect as such a list could be. It was however, deeply flawed and Gift of Screws reminds me why: Lindsey Buckingham wasn’t on it. I’m not even sure how he was forgotten. Perhaps it’s because, as good as he is, he plays for the song and not his own ego. Perhaps it was just that the songwriting often outshone his fretwork. Anyway you look at it though, we screwed up.
Buckingham’s guitar work is nothing short of amazing on Gift of Screws. From the opening track, his ability to play like he’s more than one person is astounding. The trouble with the album is primarily songwriting. Some of the songs are very good, nothing like the stuff he wrote 30 years ago with Fleetwood Mac, but good nonetheless. However, just as many feel like under-developed ideas. Strangely, these are the songs where his playing really stands out, because it alone saves them. It certainly doesn’t seem like Buckingham’s tank is dry, even as a writer. It just seems as though he should have taken a little more time fleshing out his musical ideas. It might have hidden his skill as a player a bit, but in a sense, that has been one of his best traits over the years.
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