Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Fleetwood Mac: Mystery to Me [Reprise, 1973]
I downgraded this at first because I doubted the continuing usefulness (much less creativity) of such smooth-rocking expertise. And I still do--when they achieve the contained, "Layla"-like freneticism of "The City," their professed distaste for urban "darkness" insures that the breakout will be a one-shot. But this album epitomizes what they've come to be, setting a gentle but ever more technological spaceyness over a bottom that, while never explosive, does drive the music with flair and economy, the least you can expect of a band named after its rhythm section. Even Bob Welch does himself proud. B+