Stevie Nicks Returns ‘In Your Dreams’
BY GABE O
BY GABE O
"With an industry of manufactured “singers,” it’s a rarity to encounter a viable artist who has survived decades as a performer, much less releasing their finest work seven albums and 30 years into a solo career"
Among the whirlwind of lyrical perfection found in Stevie Nicks’ new record is the blissfully-nostalgic track “For What It’s Worth,” where she coos of a rock star life only an icon like Nicks could have lived: “I got to sing, I got to dance, I got to be a part of the great romance…” The stories of her loves and tumultuous relationships are legendary, and resulted in some of music’s most memorable and well-known songs.
In Your Dreams – Nicks’ first studio album in a decade – is a classic addition to this magical catalog, and may be her finest solo effort to date.
Produced almost entirely by the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, Nicks’ seventh studio album is a return to a musical consistency not heard from since the Jimmy Iovine-produced Bella Donna, released nearly 30 years ago. Vocally she soars, with her voice having adopting a rich huskiness that growls and croons throughout the record. The new register has benefited Nicks, most notably on the love ballad “Italian Summer,” which features some of the finest vocals of her career.
The album’s lead single, “Secret Love,” is a re-recording of a 1976 demo, well-known amongst hardcore Nicks fans. Originally intended for 1977’s classic Fleetwood Mac album Rumours, Stewart’s production is a faith adaptation of the demo, but updates the instrumentation with brilliant and acrobatic guitar work. Even the accompanying video screams classic Stevie Nicks, with the singer dressed in Victorian garb, top hat and platforms, leading a white horse through a forest (C’mon, it can’t get anymore Stevie than that).
Equally as affecting is the stand out track “New Orleans.” Nicks writes in the album liner notes of inspiration from the words of a young boy, who cried to news cameras following the city’s devastation from Hurricane Katrina. “In the midst of the sea of dreams lies a perfect storm,” she sings. “In the sea of tears lies a city ghost, in the spirit of the morning glow, the people hope that their lives will get better.” Written only days after Katrina hit the city, the performance is as sorrowful as it is magical, immortalized in Nicks’ classic style.
The albums also includes some help from Stevie’s superstar band mates, with Mick Fleetwood playing drums on “Secret Love,” and Lindsey Buckingham providing vocals and guitar-work on “Soldier’s Angel.” The most notable vocal collaboration is the romantic ballad “Cheaper Than Free,” which features producer Stewart and is reminiscent of her duet with Don Henley, “Leather and Lace.” Another track featuring vocals from Stewart is “Everybody Loves You,” co-written by the two about their professional (and one-time romantic) partners, Buckingham and Annie Lennox. “No one really knows you…I’m the only one.”
In a move that only Nicks could pull off, the album also includes a tribute to the Edgar Allen Poe poem, “Annabel Lee.” While mostly written by Poe, it easily reads like a song specifically penned for her, as mystical as her enduring performances of “Gypsy” and “Dreams.” Nicks takes the poem and molds it into an epic love song, no minding that the most of the words were written more than 160 years ago. It’ll be interesting to hear how the song reads on stage, since one of Nicks’ previous epics, 1975’s “Rhiannon,” was also lower-key in the studio but exploded on stage.
With an industry of manufactured “singers,” it’s a rarity to encounter a viable artist who has survived decades as a performer, much less releasing their finest work seven albums and 30 years into a solo career. Nicks has always claimed that the devastating drug addiction that almost cost her of her life also robbed her of years of creativity, most notably evident in the lackluster Street Angel, from 1994. But with the release of In Your Dreams, Nicks can rest assured that the masterpiece she feared she lost many years ago, has indeed come to fruition.