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In Your Dreams - Stevie Nicks

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Genre: Rock - Pop Rock / Artist: Stevie Nicks / CD / Audio CD released 2011-06-27 at Warner Bros

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      01.12.2013 14:54
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      As good as Trouble In Shangri-La but with far more substance.

      When Stevie Nicks announced in 2009 that a new solo album was being released in 2010, it had been 10 years since the artist had released an album and though details were sketchy to say the least, it wasn't until Dave Stewart from The Eurthymics tweeted that he was working with Stevie on a new album. All fans worldwide became quite excited. Whether or not it was true or not, the advent of Dave Stewart co-producing an album with Stevie Nicks was just as exciting as Stevie co-touring with another Stewart the year before, that of Rod Stewart. Whether it was for the attention of good marketing or not remains unclear, but the tour with Rod Stewart appeared to give Stevie Nicks another excuse to remain in the public eye, before jetting off to do more work with another Fleetwood Mac Tour in between considering solo work for another album.

      Like many fans I was torn between buying the actual CD album or just going with new technology and buying in an mp3 download as a "Deluxe version" of the electronic download also included two videos and a bonus track that would add in 14 songs in total. After exclusively appearing on iTunes with a bonus video featuring Stewart and Nicks singing a duet on one of the songs featured on the album, the mp3 download made sense at the time rather than physically buying in a CD album and having to wait for it to arrive in the post. After all, I'm a big fan of Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, and I wasn't going to wait on the post for fresh material to hit my ears!

      From the download you get beautiful glossy photos of Stevie's home with photos of her as well as a black and white video. Clearly the marketing surrounding this album was to highlight the 10 years in between writing a new solo album and doing work elsewhere such as touring with Rod Stewart, the year before.

      There are 12 songs on this album officially with the bonus track added on the mp3 download, "Cheaper Than Free." When the album was released in 2010, "In Your Dreams" shot to number 6 in the charts as well as selling 500,000 copies and remains to be one of Stevie's higher popularised albums since its launch, also coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Stevie's first solo album, "Bella Donna." Unlike 2001's "Trouble In Shangri-La," co-produced by Sheryl Crow, this album revisits a few old songs, but rather with a country style, plays a more hard rock motif that has been more of Stevie's trademark despite her younger years.

      Later this year a planned DVD is to be released showing Stevie and Dave working on her album as well as an open-door to her home and daily life.



      Track listings & External Links


      The following songs are in order as per the album listings and the songs can individually be heard for free at

      http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/In+Your+Dreams/6241111

      * I have also included some information taken from an interview with Stevie Nicks regarding the release of this album from The Guardian newspaper where the interview is well worth reading for other fans.

      http://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/mar/25/stevie-nicks-interview



      1. Secret Love


      This is a fantastic song that is strong and well developed. Even now after two years when I bought the album, I still love listening to this song. It was actually written in 1976 intending to be another song that was shelved for Fleetwood Mac's album "Rumours." Like the far more modern "Planets of The Universe," another demo that was left off Fleetwood Mac's famous album, this song is very memorable, has a fantastic foot tapping moment but most of all, it is very well executed, not just the story line of a lady in love and her "Secret love," passions. This song was also made into a rather colourful video showing a young Stevie Nicks character morphing into her older 62-year-old self. I was quite taken with song and Dave Stewart's co-production of this song doesn't disappoint. It isn't forgettable and as such, makes a great introduction to an album that flows very neatly into the next song and thereafter.



      2. For What It's Worth


      We are never far away from another of Stevie's country song roots and even if it does have shades of other songs that Stevie has written over the years, it returns to the swinging pendulum of hippie like music from the 1970s with a rather reminiscent memory of "Why," by the Eurthymics that could well act as a counter melody and plenty of other ideas stemming from that song. No surprise then that the song doesn't move from its rather basic structure, helped along by clear strumming acoustic guitars and a soaring solo country electric guitar. Even from the short lyrics that move along with the formulaic rhyming at the end of each verse, it is obvious that the song is about someone who has been a bit of a touchstone to Stevie, even though in interviews regarding this album she doesn't let her side down as to who she is referring to:

      "...I got to sing, I got to dance...
      I got to be part of a great romance...
      Still forbidden, still outrageous...
      Only a few around us knew...but no one said a word, it was contagious..."

      As Stevie says, "For What It's Worth, Nicks sings about a "forbidden romance that saved my life". It's not about Mick Fleetwood, she says. Rather, it refers to someone who stood by her in 1995, before the release of Fleetwood Mac's live album The Dance and after her stint in rehab for Klonopin..." *



      3. In Your Dreams


      Someone has been listening to the theme tune of "Friends," from the way this song begins! At first I thought it was a cover version until the song starts up properly after the guitar chord introduction. A fast rock and country fusion song that has all the hallmarks of up beat rock songs that Stevie is well known for. However it is unusual that the album shows off the title track as the third song and not the first as with most other albums. That isn't a bad thing though; Stevie seems quite comfortable to sing about "Dreams," in a different way to her number one single with Fleetwood Mac. Here, you get a good idea that whilst the song is very quick, the harmonies and intent of the conversation and story lines tells a quick tale of what the song is about.

      What I do like about this song is that Stevie isn't afraid to sing up higher than her mid alto voice allows and there's some super stereophonic image and electronics that are slightly unexpected when a small bridge appears in the middle of the song and at the end. I always smile when Stevie sings "I'm just a dreamer, a story teller, it's all about you." It's like she is admitting her worth over all the songs she has written - and there are quite a few. Even though the title song is quite strong, it is too quick to offer any other strength of being memorable. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it doesn't have as much impact as the previous two songs.



      4. Wide Sargasso Sea


      It took me a few days to get to grips to this song because it is very unusual and has plenty of Dave Stewart-esque electronics against a rather dark guitar chorus with plenty of backing vocals in between the rock and country styles visited in between the fast "U.S Rock" drum styles. What is far better is the way the lyrics blend in with the instruments, amping up the feelings swapping sides, blaring guitar solos, damped in plenty of reverb with good tapping moments and Stevie's hall marked echoing voice dripping on the canvas towards the end of the song. Of course it has more to do with the story line which is quite strongly supported by Stevie herself and less dependency on her backing vocals. Even now as I hear the song again, it isn't one that I like listening to a lot, but rather will put up with, knowing that Stevie carries the song off with a lot of conviction. This isn't like the morbid, sorrowful B-side songs such as "Garbo," but at the same time, it is easy to see why or how "Wide Sargosso Sea," could be considered as a B-side - it has plenty of Stevie Nicks hallmarks to attract fresh, new listeners.



      5. New Orleans


      To my mind Stevie captures New Orleans perfectly in this song. It isn't slow and it isn't a fast rocking number, but it is impelling to listen to. Again the lyrics here are the key to this song rather than instrumentals that in the beginning are soft and hushed. Clearly more than just a song of escapism, Stevie gushes over the story of what to expect if you were to walk down Bourbon Street. Unlike so many songs in past years, Stevie mixes speech with singing quite well; we get to hear some of her roots in this song, even if it is for a brief moment. A solo violin gives a lovely accompaniment towards the end of the song, even if the usual guitars and hushed percussion with a little piano lift the gloss of this song and its content.

      There are shades here of Joni Mitchell in the way Stevie sings the lyrics and yet for all these years when some of Stevie's melody lines haven't sat well with some of the musical lines in the verses, this song shows off a far better and tighter structure that works well with Stevie's lyrics. Even if for those who are musically minded and notice that she sings the chorus on each note of a broken chord, that can be forgiven for the way this little old song jollies along.



      6. Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)


      I love the piano ostinato ("repeated rhythm") section at the start of this rather romantic, and slightly haunting song. It has similar shades of an old song from Stevie's 1986 album "Rock A Little," called "I Sing For Things." But as this song starts to develop with Stevie's voice dampened up with reverb and a few echoes, it is clear that this song is going to offer much more impact than just its sparse beginning.

      It isn't far from some of the songs that Dave Stewart has written for The Eurthymics. That's not a bad thing - Moonlight is far from original on the way this song starts to build up with typical Dave Stewart like string keyboards, electro-synths that pepper and add a little atmosphere and building up with soaring and weeping electric guitars that give this song much more presence. It is very clear that the story line paints a girl suffering from the love of a vampire and the metaphor of moonlight signalling that her love can be reunited. It may well emphasize Stevie's love of the "Twilight" TV series or films that inspired her to write the song, but the song's lyrics are well written that provide much scope for the way this song develops, not just

      But in the chorus, a string ensemble provides the real strings that amps up the song extremely well and sits well with Stevie's voice. All in all, there is so much more I could say about this song, but it would ruin the mystery of this song. The lyrics are beautifully created to illustrate a love between a victim and a vampire - but it could be so poetically based on real love between Stevie's past loves too.



      7. Annabel Lee


      Just before this album was released and when Stevie took it upon herself to let the world know she was alive, she released images of a plastic doll in a birdcage and called it doll "Annabel Lee," on Twitter. Stevie has a good sense of humour but quite what the fans made of the image, I was never quite sure and I, myself ("if I do so say, myself") chose to go along with the story of who Annabel Lee is. Whoever she is, maybe a pseudonym that Stevie Nicks has always used to describe herself, eventually appears in this song as the "Annabel Lee," character from the same titled last poem written by Edgar Allan Poe, the famous poet that Stevie does give credit to in this album on the track notes.

      The poem charts the death of a beautiful woman and about love that goes beyond the grave. This song basically tells or shows the inspiration behind the poem. But as such as the song is well developed, even if it does tend to drag on, it isn't long before Stevie compares herself to Annabel Lee.

      Instrumentally the song has the usual instruments heard on other songs but again strings have been used here to amp up the romanticism of this song including solo violin and it does work quite well, appearing as a rather powerful song on its own accord. Although this song isn't a favourite of mine, it does show Stevie's older voice here and the changes in her voice as the years go by. Take away some of the echoes in this song, and she seems to sound much better as time goes on.



      8. Soldier's Angel


      Sadly I'm not a fan of this song. Almost like a classical "tone poem," the song is bare and sparse, with a continuous narrative story. Revisiting demos and other songs written under the period of Buckingham Nicks, the recording quality of this song appears to have been recorded live and though I appreciate it, it isn't a song for the faint hearted. With no surprise to find Lindsey singing back up in this song as well as his trademark guitar that starts the song off and develops. Despite the romantic gesture offered up in "Annabel Lee," where the envious Angels are referred to, Stevie yet again writes a song with the word "Angel," in it and tells the story about her involvement of charity work she has undertaken with many of the U.S Military.

      Shades of it had already begun in the earlier song "Desert Angel," featured as a B-side on the Greatest Hits, "Timespace" of 1991. Both songs have a similar feeling when looking back at that song in particular, and it seems to me that "Soldier's Angel," is the mirror image of "Desert Angel," sparse and empty with just electric guitar flowing and Lindsey & Stevie's voices wrapped up together, once again after all these years, working well. Lyric wise, Stevie just sings about examples of how to be an angel and how she has been an angel to soldiers.



      9. Everybody Loves You


      So different from the last and what a relief! Now this is a great song, even if there are some electro synths at the start that give no clue whatsoever what is about to develop or be introduced.

      I love this song but it appears to be rather different to what has gone on before in the rest of the album. Had Stewart delivered more of an abundance of electro-synths in the rest of the album, this song would probably blend in quite well. Instead, "Everybody Loves You," doesn't really sound like a song that Stevie could write on her own, even though the verse lyrics have been based on Stevie's journals of her life and not of much surprise to find in interviews that the music and chorus had been written by Dave Stewart, alone, reminiscent of his relationship with Annie Lennox *.

      As Stevie says from the Guardian interview... "And the reason Dave wrote the chorus the way he did was because of his relationship with Annie Lennox. So we had two duos. Dave understood. He's the same way with Annie - 'Everybody loves you... no one really knows you, I'm the only one' - I'm the only one that knew you before you were famous. So I let the song go ahead and be about Lindsey, and he let the song be about Annie."

      Naturally then, both Stevie and Dave sing together but not in the country style of harmonies that Stevie have done before. It adds a little interest but the song has much more powerful instrumentals here rather than the necessity to over develop and add vocal harmonies that Stevie has enhanced before. There's also a signature sound of an electric guitar that only Dave Stewart could add himself and on the whole this song is a lovely song to listen to, even if it is worlds away from the more vocal based harmonies in other songs that Stevie Nicks has done before.



      10. Ghosts Are Gone


      And it isn't before long when Stevie revisits a fast rocking number! This song has a great start and a great vocal beginning. It doesn't wilt, either but remains strong, defiant and very powerful right to the end. With plenty of shades of ZZ Top about it, this song is made to be amped up and made to be listened to, whether you like it or not.

      A song of revenge perhaps but one that needs to be listened to over and over to get the general secret of what this song is about and there's plenty of similarities here to past songs by The Eurthymics, but only towards the end. No surprise to find then that the song is written by Dave Stewart, but it works well with Stevie's lyrical lines. I could never imagine Annie Lennox singing this! Evidently from the last which is sorrowful and a duet, this is more of a solo voice battling against the powerful electric guitars that are awash in this song. Stevie isn't afraid to let herself go in this song, even though there's a certain feeling of a wind blasting out the imagery of "ghosts are gone." Live versions of this song on You Tube indicate a much faster, rougher and up beat tempo. Here however, the song doesn't really need it - my speakers are filled with the sounds of guitars aplenty and a good thumping bass line - good hallmarks of a good rock song that isn't too heavy.

      It is also great to hear Mick Fleetwood play drums in this song - you can tell it is him from his trademark rock beats - and it could so be a song by Fleetwood Mac - as a result.



      11. You May Be The One


      In the same way that "Somebody Stand By Me," by Sheryl Crow gave fans an insight of a slow country swing song with Stevie at the helm, here we get the same again with a beautiful song with some lovely lyrics, even if they aren't that memorable. Sheryl Crow doesn't write the song this time - it is the work of Dave Stewart. But then, it could well be the hand of Stevie as there are plenty of hallmarks here, not just by the beautifully romantic lyrics. This is a lovely little song that could have come from the hand of Stevie in her younger years. It certainly has a timeless feeling.

      Although the vocal harmonies are very country like, there are shades of Tom Petty here in the way the choruses come together.



      12. Italian Summer


      An unusual song towards the end of this album because even by the title itself, the romantic, dreamy like quality that Stevie is known for takes on a new form where the dreamy, romanticism of her fluttering heart pour out in the story line of the lyrics. But oh what a song! Beautifully rising and dipping with strings and full instrumentals doesn't let this song down. The verses and choruses may follow a generic route but the lyrics are typically romantic and Stevie sings the song well, even if the verses appear rather short before the obvious chorus comes in. This song is all about building - building up the climax of Stevie's voice and the climax of the story line. At its most basic, it's a song of escapism, escaping to a holiday destination perhaps, revisiting similarities to the previous song "New Orleans."



      13. Cheaper Than Free


      A short duet of love and friendship between Stevie Nicks and Dave Stewart. This time it's a proper duet, no unison "same again" vocal lines between octaves but rather proper harmonies that sound lovely with a little bit of gloss and with the same kind of backing vocals that Stevie has contributed well to over the years,. Amidst from the more magical music she has done with Fleetwood Mac, "Cheaper Than Free," isn't a throwaway track but it isn't the most important on the album either, and unlike so many farewell songs, this one is quite powerful, worlds away from the solo acoustic guitar strumming away with Stevie soaring away at the mic. This time, it is all change but the song itself is quite short and you'd miss the whole point of the song and its lyrical content. The song is powerful though, a heavy rock beat strung over long pedal bass notes and some hard hitting lyrics, even though for the most part the main melody line appears from the electric guitar.



      14. (Bonus Track) "My Heart"


      On deluxe albums, the extra track appears as the 8th song on the album. It's an upbeat song, quite like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with plenty of stereophonic acoustic strumming guitars in between some really beautiful rock and country inspired harmonies. It is worth the extra download to real fans, but for everyone else, it isn't a very important track, though it could well appear on a future Fleetwood Mac album.

      Stevie sings the music here quite high up in her voice but this song sounds like a very early demo, well it could be from her days of starting out as a solo artist. But, it is the hand of Dave Stewart again; even if there are some stylistic moments from the way the guitars continually play out the main melody and main theme of the song. Though the lyrics are quite romantic and yet again play out another story, they sometimes get lost with the increasing need to move to the chorus. Now, if Stevie had been given the reign to write this song properly, she'd have drawn out the verses more rather than rush to the chorus all too quickly.



      Final Thoughts


      Generally, even without the bonus track or bonus video of "Cheaper Than Free," with Dave Stewart, "In Your Dreams," by Stevie Nicks is an album that was worth waiting for. Fans have not been disappointed and I can see why. Here is an album with quite a few gems and some songs that give Stevie an extra dimension to her craft. There are plenty of themes of love played out here, which is typical of Stevie Nicks as well as songs that reminisce and have you wondering who she is singing about. This time however, there are very few electronics that have been added to push Stevie's older voice out to the main frame of the stage. This time you get to hear an older Stevie Nicks singing as if you were to hear her sing live - or quite literally - in your dreams - and compared to "Trouble in Shangri-La," In Your Dreams is quite simply one of Stevie's best solo albums yet! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2013.

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