There's a certain relief that this 2016 Rhino reissue of 2002's double-disc set The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac doesn't even attempt to dabble in the early blues work of the Peter Green band, and treats the addition of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks as ground zero. The two eras of the band don't sit well together, and it's best to isolate them, since those who want the hits don't need to hear the blues. Here, it's the prime of the platinum years, with almost all of the big songs in their original hit versions (the one real exception is a live version of "Big Love" from 1997, but most listeners aren't going to be too upset with the substitution). The biggest complaint is that chronological order would have been welcome, but the sequencing here is still nice, and all the big hits and radio staples are here, along with enough great album tracks ("Think About Me," "World Turning," "What Makes You Think You're the One") to whet the appetite for full albums for novices, who will surely find this to be a good introduction. It's not dynamic or sharply sequenced to be a truly classic collection, but it gets the job done, and it will certainly satisfy those who just need the hits, plus a little bit more for the illusion of depth.
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For years, Fleetwood Mac was a chameleonic beast, shifting mood and sound as members came and went. The band's steady if unspectacular career arc changed dramatically, however, with the arrival of Yankee interlopers Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks -- and that's the lineup chronicled on this 36-song set. The vast majority of the material on the two discs is culled from the late-'70s period that made the Mac a mainstay at rock radio. While all the hits from that era, such as Nicks's spiraling "Rhiannon" and the driving "Go Your Own Way," are included, fans can also find a healthy smattering of tunes that don't often make the airwaves. The haunting studio version of "Silver Spring," better known in its live incarnation and long available only as the B-side to "Go Your Own Way," is probably the best known of the set's lesser-heard songs, but several of the other obscurities -- like "As Long as You Follow" and "No Questions Asked," both of which were previously released only on the band's 1988 Greatest Hits set -- are worth honing in on. The collection flags a bit when the focus turns to latter-day material, but a passel of live tracks, including a nice take on Buckingham's solo hit "Go Insane," makes up for those missteps. Mac enthusiasts might want to hunt down a copy of the sprawling, now-out-of-print box set, The Chain, for a full career retrospective, but anyone with a soft spot for Fleetwood Mac's commercial peak will be more than satisfied with this collection.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rolling Stone - Gavin Edwards
The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac showcases the results of having three strong songwriters and a willingness to spend months in the studio sweating the smallest details.