“Go Insane” (1984). Propelled in equal measures by guitar, synthesizer and paranoia, “Go Insane” is the point where Buckingham draws a line in the sand between his solo work and Fleetwood Mac. Of all his solo albums, “Go Insane” is most reflective of its era, but it is also his most angst-ridden and emotional album, as if all the bills from the “Rumours” breakups and breakdowns were coming due.
Essential Buckingham: “Go Insane,” “Slow Dancing,” “Loving Cup,” “D.W. Suite.”
“Tango in the Night” (1987). Buckingham was deep into recording a third solo album when his bandmates called, so that work was cannibalized into “Tango,” which Buckingham produced with Richard Dashut. This was the final studio album for the classic Fleetwood Mac lineup — Buckingham left the band before the “Tango” tour — but it was a strong, impeccably arranged collection that modernized Mac's sound.
Essential Buckingham: “Big Love,” “Family Man.”
“Out of the Cradle” (1992). With Fleetwood Mac in his rearview mirror (for the time being), Buckingham then proceeded to make the solo album that most resembles that band. Sonically, “Out of the Cradle” is a sequel to “Tango,” especially the excellent single “Countdown,” but there are signposts indicating the nearly whispered, stripped-down direction of his later work (“Street of Dreams”).
Essential Buckingham: “Countdown,” “Soul Drifter.”
“Say You Will” (2003). A Fleetwood Mac album in name only, “Say You Will” plays like Buckingham and Nicks solo albums shuffled together — barely any cohesion or sense of band, despite some excellent songs from both players. With Christine McVie retired, the warm blanket of vocals that wrapped around Fleetwood Mac during its best years is seemingly retired, as well.
Essential Buckingham: “Red Rover,” “Murrow Turning Over in His Grave.”
“Under the Skin” (2006). Buckingham's first solo album in 14 years was a spare, atmospheric collection that resembled modern indie freak folk more than it did Fleetwood Mac. The collection hinted at hard-won peace of mind and domesticity — the last sound on the album featured one of Buckingham's children yelling “Daddy!” — as well as renewed artistic energy.
Essential Buckingham: “Castaway Dreams,” “Flying Down Juniper.”
“Gift of Screws” (2008).
The Emily Dickinson-referencing title rightly suggests that Buckingham is going at it harder on this “Gift of Screws,” and after the sweetness and refracted light of “Under the Skin,” Buckingham is more willing to get loud, particularly on “Wait For You” (featuring Mick Fleetwood and John McVie) and the growling demonic laughter in the title track. The music is still pretty this time around, but going a little insane again.
Essential Buckingham: “Wait For You,” “Treason,” “Gift of Screws.”
“Seeds We Sow” (2011). After 30 years under contract with Warner Bros. as a solo artist, Buckingham left the company and released “Seeds We Sow” on his own label, Mind Kit.
The resulting self-produced album sounds crisp, direct and homemade in all the right ways, and standout tracks such as “When She Comes Down” and the astonishingly intricate “In Our Own Time” are accompanied by a lilting cover of The Rolling Stones' “She Smiles Sweetly.”
Essential Buckingham: “In Our Own Time,” “She Smiles Sweetly.”