Release Date: May 3, 2011
Record label: Reprise
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Soft Rock
Stevie Nicks built her legend on the California-Babylon chronicles she perfected in the Seventies with Fleetwood Mac, and in the Eighties on underrated solo gems like The Other Side of the Mirror. But she still has that eternal edge-of-17 tremor in her voice. The gypsy queen is in royal form on In Your Dreams — it's not just her first album in 10 years, it's her finest collection of songs since the Eighties.
We’ll never complain about hearing Stevie warble the word dreams; indeed, several times here she comes remarkably close to Fleetwood Mac’s platinum-plated best. But In Your Dreams, Nicks’ first studio album since 2001, is also streaked with the witchy-woman weirdness only she can bring: On ”New Orleans,” she recalls her eternal desire to ”wear feathers and lace,” while ”Soldier’s Angel” finds her intoning ominously about war. Crystal visions? Still intact.
Upon hearing that the great black magic enchantress Steve Nicks has written a song inspired by milquetoast teen vampire franchise Twilight, you had to figure her new disc, In Your Dreams, didn't stand a chance. Why would an OG (original goth) like Nicks take her cues from something so toothless? It turns out the track in question, Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream), plods along at times but isn't nearly as offensive as it might have been. In fact, you could say the same about all of the surprising In Your Dreams, which, despite being overlong at an hour-plus, might be Nicks's best record since The Wild Heart.
Perhaps it’s all down to Stevie Nicks being at peace with her legacy, perhaps she was coaxed back toward the ‘70s by producer David A. Stewart, perhaps it’s the presence of Lindsey Buckingham on “Soldier’s Angel,” or perhaps it’s the fact that she excavated a 1976 song called “Secret Love” for this album, but In Your Dreams is Stevie’s first solo album to embrace the sound of Fleetwood Mac at their prime. Nicks never exactly ran away from the Mac, but her ‘80s solo hits were tempered by a steely demeanor and her subsequent solo albums strove too hard to recapture the magic that In Your Dreams conjures so easily.
With the title subtly doffing a cap to Fleetwood Mac's Dreams, Nicks's first solo studio album in a decade echoes the ethereal soft rock sound with which she helped redefine the band circa 1977's classic, Rumours. Producer Dave Stewart has helped create an album that sounds exactly like the Nicks of myth: spooky, otherworldly, emotional and sassy, yet stalked by some undefinable melancholy. Mac bandmates and old flames Mick Fleetwood and Lindsay Buckingham guest, and while the latter doesn't lift Soldiers Tale above Nicks-by-numbers, the frisson of the Mac's complex romantic entanglements stalks Secret Love, written during the Rumours era.
In the many years which have passed since Stevie Nicks left Fleetwood Mac, she has failed to match the commercial success or ubiquity of her former band’s music. Maybe it’s wise, then, that her first studio album in over a decade, In Your Dreams, doesn’t veer too far from the trademark FM radio rock which made Fleetwood Mac a household name and opens with a Rumours out-take, Secret Love, which has been dusted off and pulled into the 21stcentury. In Your Dreams is helmed by production stalwarts Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics) and Glen Ballard who is probably best known for his work on Alanis Morisette’s world-slaying Jagged Little Pill.
Amid the fingerpicked folk of “For What It’s Worth,” the most nostalgic, romantic track from Stevie Nicks’ seventh studio album, America’s most beloved and mysterious gypsy princess emotes, “I got to sing; I got to dance; I got to be a part of the great romance.” No mystery there. As a former vocalist and songwriter for ‘70s legends Fleetwood Mac, Nicks did experience the ups and the downs, the fame and the decline, the mysticism and the harsh reality of the rock star life. No matter what she does, Nicks will never escape the large-looming legacy of her former band, the monster collective that cranked out masterpieces like Rumours and Tusk.
As the floaty-dress-loving gypsy queen of [a]Fleetwood Mac[/a], [a]Stevie Nicks[/a] commands a war chest of guilty pleasures the size of a small nation. We’ve all had a good drunken dance to [b]‘Edge Of Seventeen’[/b] and [b]‘Little Lies’[/b] in our time but, sadly, [b]‘In Your Dreams’[/b] is little more than a soggy biscuit next to those veritable Turkish delights, and the presence of erstwhile bandmates Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood does little to help. Featuring the likes of the mawkish and rather belated ode to [b]‘New Orleans’[/b], it’s an album full of the sort of drippy ballads and droopy soft rock that should induce an involuntary gag reflex in anyone under the age of 45.
A new solo album from rock legend and beloved quasi-mystical figure Stevie Nicks should be cause for celebration. From a year's worth of tweets by producer Dave Stewart to a predictably fawning Rolling Stone profile, the lead-up to Nicks's In Your Dreams has certainly built a fever-pitched level of anticipation among the singer's die-hard fans. But In Your Dreams indulges in some of Nicks's worst tendencies as a songwriter and is slathered in chintzy, dated production values.
There’s still only one Stevie Nicks – witchy, mystical and romantic. Nick Levine 2011 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.