Stevie Nicks' In Your Dreams: Yes, It Really Is Her Best Album in Years

Categories: Album Review
stevie nicks_in your dreams.jpg
Phoenix resident Stevie Nicks' new album, In Your Dreams, was released today. Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield has already given the album rave reviews, calling it Nicks' best album in a decade.

It's hard to argue with that, especially considering that Nicks hasn't released an album in a decade (her last solo record was Trouble in Shangri-La in 2001). But is the Valley songbird's latest album really "her best work since the 80s"? I listened to In Your Dreams, and came to my own conclusions.

First, In Your Dreams is way, way better than Trouble in Shangri-La. The latter album was one of the first times Nicks didn't have a star songwriter or producer working with her -- not that she didn't try. Nicks had met her old friend Tom Petty for dinner at the Copper Star Club near US Airways Center and asked him to write some songs for her. According to Nicks, Petty told her to write her songs herself. The result was a collection of predictable and uninspired pop songs that couldn't be saved even with a guest vocal from then it-girl Macy Gray.

For In Your Dreams, Nicks teamed up with Eurythmics member Dave Stewart and super producer and songwriter Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill; Michael Jackson's Bad). The result is some of the best material she's recorded since her early solo albums with Jimmy Iovine.

The key players' in Nicks' camp are still there, namely guitarist Waddy Wachtel (one of the most underrated session players of the past fifty years), and her longtime backup singers, Sharon Celani and Lori Nicks (wife of Stevie's brother, Christopher). Stevie Nicks' voice sounds as strong and supple (and ethereally nasal) as ever on In Your Dreams, but with Stewart and Ballard behind the boards, she's managed to recapture the sound of two periods in her career: her early years with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac, and her 1980s pop chanteuse grooves.

The title track sounds like a mid-70s Fleetwood Mac tune, but with a country-pop feel. There's also "For What It's Worth," which is a jangly country-folk song reminiscent of Nicks' first recordings, with Buckingham Nicks. Lindsey Buckingham joins Nicks on this album, contributing some very haunting, sparse guitar to the song "Soldier's Angel." It's the perfect sonic foil for Nicks' voice, which has a ragged edge on this number.

Other album highlights include the piano ballad "Moonlight," "You May Be the One" (which sounds like an old Motown slow jam), and "Everybody Loves You." The latter track is a duet with Dave Stewart, and resonates with his symphonic keyboards to the point where it almost sounds like the best dreamy '80s pop ballad not recorded in the '80s. But our favorite song on In Your Dreams is "Ghosts Are Gone," which Nicks described as a "crazy, wild rock 'n' roll song." Nicks is 62, so "crazy" and "wild" are subjective, but this song is as close to "Edge of Seventeen" as Nicks has gone in decades. Her voice still sounds great against a backdrop of gritty guitars.

I won't venture to say In Your Dreams is better than Belladonna or The Wild Heart, but I do hope Nicks sticks with her roots-rock revival, because she's one of the greatest female rock singers of all-time, and this album is promising. Maybe it will help Nicks get back to where she once belonged: dancing across the top of the charts in high heeled boots and chiffon.

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21 comments
Not Happening
Not Happening

This is the slowest, non-rocking, most boring album I have ever heard from her. I cannot listen to it again. It is boring. It feels like a collection of poems written to Dave Stewarts music ideas. Oh yeah, that's what it is........ I love Stevie Nicks but this is what it is. Slow, boring and NO rock songs. Guess that's what happens when you hit your mid sixties! Oh well, hope it's better with Fleetwood Mac later on.

Lindadtulley
Lindadtulley

Stevie Nicks has moved into a different era and so has her music. She did it because she is and artist. Stevie has NO bad music, that's just a fact. She has different music. This is all beautiful. I wish she would write her play. No one sings like Stevie. When I sing "Three Birds of Rhiannon", my (rescued Maltese) eyes just look at me with great love, and I can't sing. That dog KNOWS a loving ballad. Also, wish she would begin her book. She can make changes for years, before she willing to sign final release. That will be her ultimate pride & joy, I truely believe, and also an unedited version after she moves on to the pearly gates. No one can try to bash her then. Much Love to Stevie Nicks and many prayers to her while battling the Flu and Pneumonia. Stevie is strong willed, but pray there are no complications. We love you Stevie! And get well soon. Linda

Astralbeaming
Astralbeaming

Hey, you are mixing something up here. TISL was with Sheryl Crow... an arguably higher ranking rocker than Dave Stewart whose main fortee has been electronic pop. But the conversation you are referencing between Nicks & Petty was for 'Street Angel' in 1994, which was easily her worst album. 'TISL' has no weak tracks, whereas this one has quite a few. But its a strong effort with some very nice additions for fans to add a track or two to the mammoth catalog of her tracks they listen to.

regann
regann

I think it's a hard sell to say that In Your Dreams is "way, way better" than TiSL. TiSL had much stronger individual songs than IYD does, including the collaborations on "Trouble" with Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan (both of whom I consider star singer/songwriters...) and, yes, Macy Gray. I'm not saying I don't love this new album, but it's a completely different animal.

Personally, there isn't a song of Stevie's I wouldn't listen to on repeat for days, I'm that big of a fan, but I do think IYD is more a departure from 80s Stevie than a return to it.

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

Great piece... I'm going to have to go out and get this. I absolutely LOVE Stevie... BTW, I don't read the NT music section all that often, now that not only don't live in Phx anymore, but even when I did, I never made it out to watch bands anymore either, but you have FAR more talent than that jackass Martin Cizmar, I've never read anything of his that wasn't like dry humping a bathtub full of broken glass, while every time I have liked an article, it's had your name on it... There is more talent in the music department, but yours is the most consistently enjoyable!

NICKSFAN43
NICKSFAN43

STEVIE NICKS ROCKS! AND SO DOES IN YOUR DREAMS!

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