Friday, June 17, 2011

(Review) Stevie Nicks 'In Your Dreams'

There’s still only one Stevie Nicks – witchy, mystical and romantic.

by: Nick Levine 2011-06-17

If her first solo record in a decade proves anything, it's that there's still only one Stevie Nicks. A few tunes feature country-ish flourishes, and Italian Summer is an orchestral ballad that sways with the blowsy elegance of a half-soaked matriarch, but otherwise In Your Dreams sticks to the slick, melodic soft rock template set by Nicks on her first effort away from Fleetwood Mac, 1981's Bella Donna.

So while the production is as solid and glossy as a polished mahogany worktop – what else would you expect from Dave ‘Eurythmics’ Stewart and Glen ‘Jagged Little Pill’ Ballard? – the Nicks shtick, that familiar mix of the witchy, the mystical and the romantic, ensures that In Your Dreams only slips into vapidity on two or three occasions.

It's the romantic element of her well-honed persona that's the most prevalent across these 14 tracks. Written in the mid-70s, Secret Love is a paean to a clandestine liaison with a rock lothario whose identity, showbiz pro that she is, Nicks claims not to remember; Annabel Lee's lyrics are adapted from a poem by Edgar Allan Poe about love that lasts beyond the grave; and Cheaper Than Free features a cavalcade of couplets every bit as corny as the Green Giant's toothpick. An example: "What's deeper than a deep well? / The love into which I fell."

One song, the almost Evanescence-esque Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream), is even inspired by the Twilight series, a pop culture phenomenon that the uncharitable might note is targeted not at a 63-year-old (gold dust) woman of the world, but bewildered sexual innocents on the edge of 17.

But perhaps even more remarkably, 34 years on from Rumours, Nicks is still capable of extracting emotional heft from her relationship with Mac comrade and former flame Lindsey Buckingham. "We cause each other such pain everywhere we go now / At home or on the stage," she sings on Everybody Loves You, sounding more throatily goat-like than ever. Yes, if In Your Dreams proves anything...

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