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Wild Heart, by Stevie Nicks was Stevies 1983 second solo release album launched in 1983. Using Tom Petty again to feature on a duet, I Will Run To You, she returns with some of the musicians that featured on her first album such as Waddy Wachtel (Elton Johns guitarist) and Tom Pettys Heartbreakers.
Ten songs make up this album, three songs which generated good chart ratings were released as singles such as If Anyone Falls, the inspiring and defiant Stand Back, based on Princes song Little Red Corvette, and the haunting sad balled, Beauty and the Beast.
** This is a long review and originally appeared elsewhere *
This album was released again a couple of years later to generate more sales and it had extra tracks put on it, but it is the normal mass released CD version that this opinion relies on.
Stevie Nicks chooses again to record in a studio which uses more acoustic reverb with bare guitars strung over piano harmonies and bass as she had done with her first album, Bella Donna. But there is a loss of percussion on some of the songs. Stand Back and Nightbird for example use drum machines instead of Mick Fleetwoods contribution on the rest of the songs on this album. Nothing spectacular though, but the songs crafted here, although not as strong and full on as displayed on Bella Donna, convey falling in and out of love as well as pretty much everything to do with Love as a central idea. Perhaps this is the problem with this album. Its not bad but it could have been better if Stevie hadnt concentrated too much on the trials of love and its after effects.
Not to emphasize too much on history, the friend that inspired her to write the chart topping and more popular song, Sara, (this song was put into library of music for Fleetwood Mac) died from leukaemia, leaving her child in the care of Stevie. Stevie thought for the better part of the childs upbringing that she should marry her best friends husband. The result? No marriage took place and a song instead called Stand Back was written for all the anguish and pain it had cost her. This is one of my favourite songs as it uses synth bass coupled with guitars and has an energetic dance beat going right through the song and the foundations of the chords are based on the chords right at the beginning of Little Red Corvette, by Prince. Its not really something she chooses to use until her next album, Rock A Little where the art of electronics and the thrust of the 80s sound with nothing but keyboards and drum machines make their presence known.
1) Wild Heart
Like Bella Donna, Stevies first song on this album, Wild Heart is the title track. Second to only being the longest song on the record, there isnt much creativity on this song. She uses simple harmonies, no lush guitar effects and nothing to write much in the favour of. However it begins with a steady beat and continues despite changes of keys and overlapping lyrics such as Even, in the darkest places of your mind The idea in this song perhaps it to blame her wild heart for the mistakes and assumptions she has about love. In some way I feel that she is either blaming someone or is indignant that someone in love has failed her for not seeing the true self. Either way, I feel that this song could have been much more than it appears on the album. Its not a great title track, certainly not carrying the same power as Bella Donna and that doesnt bode well for feeling in listening to other songs on this album.
(2) If Anyone Falls"
This song was released a single and in the U.S (her home market & country) she managed to get a good chart hit with this song. It is also the first song on this album which introduces the listener to analogue sounds of the synthesizer. It works against the backlash of Stevies strong backing singers as well as Stevies own voice weaving the story of a friend close to her, telling her that If Anyone Falls In Love, It Will Be One Of Us.. Hardly inspirational, but its just another song of unreciprocated love, I think. Listen to the way her voice becomes heavier and suddenly surprises the listener with her deep edgy voice. Backing vocals are almost seamless in contrast to this voice which seems untroubled to make it on its own, solo-wise.
(3) Gate and Garden
I have to say that I really dont know what this song is about - between the lyrics, Stevie may convey her heart, or the love she feels for someone is like a garden, and that her heart or love inside this garden is a single red rose. Ever the romanticist and fantasist in her writings, Stevie confesses eventually Its a game That We Play She or the person she is singing about is maybe in love with her but doesnt admit it. Another love game, another story of love that cannot go anywhere.
Now this is a song, that I have always loved. I loved it because I loved to watch Stevie singing Tom Pettys song I Need To Know, on her live sets. That song is very similar to this song in style, musicially. Its a fast rocker that could almost run away with itself, but unlike I Need To Know, this song is about (yawn!) Love again. This time, its about someone who is in love with her but may be too frightened or unable to make a move...even though they are enchanted...
Enchanted you thought you saw something in my eyes
Enchanted its a shame that you wanted me You didnt try
Stevie doesnt play about with chords or harmonies that cannot fit into her style or the harmonies she has given the music around to fit. Almost too often one gets the impression that she loves to sing but is unable to fit music notes exactly to the way she wants. I cant see it happening in this song. It uses chords 1,4 and 5 of the basic scale and pitch of this music. Then theres a great a Capella moment where the instruments; piano, heavy rock guitar and rock percussion completely stop leaving Stevie to drill out the final verse before ending the song.
The first verse of this song, incidentally would be played out and sung together in another song that she would put on her 1993 release Street Angel album. A song called Destiny.
Sometimes I like to hear this song, but its not of much importance. It uses a drum beat which is boring to listen to, hypnotically going over the same pattern against a horrible tinny sounding analogue piano and guitar. What doesnt make this song great is the over lapping of backing vocalists against Stevies voice, yearning to be loved. This yearning makes itself known throughout the song, as she hears the voice of something which is similar to the calling voice or song from a night bird. Perhaps she uses this imagery of the soft tones of the calling bird to the calling siren of falling in love, or to be loved or to have a dream of being in love. She may use the night bird to convey what she is feeling when she wrote this song, but I dont think it works out well. The only thing worth looking out for in this song is that a piano from somewhere suddenly gives the ears a decent enough solo. The backing vocals and Stevies voice over lapping gives the imagery that she may be hearing too many tones or songs from the night bird. Who knows? Its not a song that I cherish much.
(6) Stand Back
See the top half of my opinion for my thoughts about this song. In TIMESPACE (her Greatest Hits) Stevie writes that The day I got married, I wrote this song and its not difficult to see why. Stevie talks about a crazy argument, in this song and I think in somewhere she is confessing to why real time incidents have some kind of a connection. I think Stand Back is relating to someone who has been lied to, or stood up. Stevie sings negatively Stand Back, to emphasize the strong inner strength to hold back the sorrow but to put forward the hurt to a person who has destroyed any love that she ever has. You can see the way she looks in the video of this song when she sings this. Shes not happy and shes not about to let him back into her life without some kind of trial. Perhaps this is why that she cries at the end of this song (which are not included in the lyrics on the album but can be plainly heard,) Well, I think I need a little sympathy Take me home Dont you take me home
(7) I Will Run To You,
This song is the duet that Tom Petty appears on. Its not another Stop Dragging My Heart Around, for the simple reason that all it is, is a sharing, caring love song and I just think its too boring to listen to. Its too slow and the use of solo guitar at the start and throughout the song is too draining. Unsurprisingly its not a song I listen to for a lot of the time and remains to be one of the poorer songs on this album.
(8) Nothing Ever Changes
How easy it could be said that not a lot changes on the album, but heres a song that I like. It gives Stevie a good presence perhaps she is as good a singer when shes angry or about to let off steam. I love the way the drums and cymbals push out the beat, almost as if Stevie and her backing vocalists are exchanging jobs. It sounds as if her vocalists are supplying the beats in the way the music is drawn out. No need to explain the story behind this song, its obviously about someone who has hurt her. Enough said.
(9) Sable On Blond
Now this is song I have never been able to work out. It sounds like more of a conversation rather than a message about love or love games. The worst thing that she could ever do is to try and repeat the same music pattern as Stevie Nicks had done when she wrote Dreams. As a result the content of this song and musically it just doesnt appeal to me. Why? The music doesnt bode well. The drums start the song and as they come in they sound half hearted and too near to the microphone while everything else is left in the distance in the studio. Perhaps this was just a song that had to be written for a B side
(10) Beauty And The Beast
Finally Stevie gets to sing with an orchestra of strings and its not before time, either. This is a great song that is sad with sorrow and she uses the imagery of the Beast referring to Mick Fleetwood, as the old misunderstood child. Infact the whole song is about their short love affair. I love the way the song comes to an end, not a farewell song as she usually writes on most of the Fleetwood Mac albums she has worked on, but close to it. Her voice is magical yet hurting emotionally as she sings out La bete where is my beauty? There is no beauty without my beast A perfect song which is also sad and haunting.
** Inlay Details and Price **
Wild Heart has a wonderful hand tinted artistry which has been done by Stevie Nicks herself so what you get is a home grown feeling kind of an album in the way that the lyrics have been written, pictures have been added and an olde time feel is given in the way the back page of the album has contained a little history about the album and of Stevie Nicks not to mention some wonderful hand tinted pictures of her singers and the songs which individually have all their timings printed up.
Once again for a time the price depended on the version you could buy; whereas the UK/Modern Records/EMI version would hold the cost between £5-99 up to £10-99 American versions of the same album could be bought for a much higher price but it still didnt make much of a difference regardless of how much you buy it for on either pressing as this is an album you would buy if you are a dedicated Stevie Nicks fan. I paid £5-99 for my copy which was a few years ago but if you see if for £10 and beyond, forget it.
** Conclusion **
To sum up, this is an album which should only be bought by people who perhaps love Stevie Nicks or have tons of Fleetwood Mac and see that this album in the shops is cheaper than most of her solo works have been priced here in the U.K Its not a great album compared to her first, but at least it has some songs which are memorable, even if some relate to personal incidents in her life.
The problem with Wild Heart, isnt the abundance of country inspired harmonies or the bareness of guitars, its the unusual beginnings of drum machines and over loaded vocals which ruin some of the songs as well as that far and away studio sound Stevie tried with Bella Donna. Yes whilst there are some good songs on this album, there are also a lot of songs which are confusing simply because the lyrics are overloaded with confusing direction. You can witness the strength in her voice but does not excuse the poor quality of the songs which have been penned here. The only thing you can do is as she sings, Blame it on her Wild Heart.... Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
Released 1983 by Modern Records/EMI
Tasters of all the songs on this album can be heard at:
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Stand Back
2 I Will Run To You
3 Nothing Ever Changes
4 Sable On Blond
5 Beauty And The Beast
6 Wild Heart
7 If Anyone Falls
8 Gate And Garden
9 Night Bird