Liveguide Contributor - Trent Schupp
Thirty years after her first solo album Bella Donna, Stevie Nicks’ latest work In Your Dreams is an inspired collection of songs co-written and produced by the accomplished Dave Stewart – most noted for his work with the Eurythmics. While unlikely to reach the popularity of anything bearing the Fleetwood Mac brand, this album deserves to be rated as one of the finest pieces of work to come out so far this year.
Still largely known as “from Fleetwood Mac” – Nicks hasn’t been able to define herself as an artist whose solo success matches her past achievements. However, she definitely can do it on her own – Rolling Stone dubbed her “The Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll” after her first solo album. With the mix of rock, Italian ballad and folk on In Your Dreams, perhaps that title should be extended.
'Secret Love', the album’s first track, is a solid start with an unmistakable Stevie Nicks / Fleetwood Mac melody you know could easily be found on one of their albums – indeed it’s a relic of hers from the 70s. Although having to accommodate two other songwriters on a Fleetwood album was a severe constraint at the time, one of the advantages now is the quality of her held-onto 'leftovers'.
In Your Dreams with a few exceptions does without Mick Fleetwood’s booming drums or Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar inspiration. This is the product of Nicks having matured through the ups and downs of the Fleetwood Mac years and then her solo career – from the dizzying heights of Rumours, to the lows of her highly publicised cocaine addiction.
This album is refreshingly varied but the focus is on her vocals – and that’s no shame for Nicks' voice still sounds amazing – albeit with a stronger husk to it these days. 'For What It’s Worth' is a catchy folk track and 'Wide Sargasso Sea' offers a drum dominated beat that gently reminds of Mick Fleetwood. There is even a touching tribute to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem 'Annabel Lee' written in 1849.
This is one of those releases in which everyone will find a different favourite. However, for me, it’s 'Soldier’s Angel' and Lindsey Buckingham’s contribution to it. The modern day Fleetwood Mac formula is very evident in its similar structure to some of the Say You Will tracks (such as 'Illume' and 'Smile At You'). Although the Nicks / Buckingham relationship is clearly more strained now than it was in the beginning of the Fleetwood Mac era, when these two get together there is a lasting tenderness in what they do that makes their work very powerful.
Penultimate track, a powerful romantic ballad 'Italian Summer', left me amazed at the variety in the album and the versatility of Nicks who is indeed no doubt one of the finest ever musicians.
Rating: 8/10 stars
In Your Dreams is out now, for more information visit the official Stevie Nicks website here