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Bella Donna Review by Associated Content < Stevie Nicks < Main Page

Bella Donna Review by Associated Content
Penguin

3.1 out of 5 stars, by Amy W. for Associated Content

Stevie Nicks’ debut solo album Bella Donna (Modern Records/Warner Bros.) will likely go down in history as the record responsible for the creation of legions of hippie gypsies all over the world.  The Fleetwood Mac front woman definitely got her witchy chiffon groove on during the late '70s with her mega-selling band, but that was only a hint of the real power that could be wielded by a poetess in a pair of boots and layers of chiffon.On her first solo effort, Nicks takes her musical blend of the personal and poetic, which she introduced on the Mac hits “Dreams and Rhiannon” and kicks it up a notch. More dreamy and introspective than some of her previous work, it’s a good solid album, even if she does get a heavy assist from other rock and roll superstars such as Tom Petty and Don Henley.

The first single, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, a duet with and also written by Tom Petty, gets the blond-haired gypsy off on the right foot. It’s an old-school rebel rocker that gives Nick a chance to show off her distinct and powerful voice. She’s also an accomplished harmony signer and blends perfectly with Petty’s more low-key tones. The duets continue with Don Henley adding his vocal talents to a gorgeously produced country-tinged tune called “Leather and Lace”. “Give to me your leather/Take from my me my lace” croons the husky-voiced Nicks and you can also imagine that she’s telling the story of her rock and roll love life. She may be a fragile-looking, frilly dressed lady, but this woman can go toe-to-toe with any leather-clad rocker that she chooses.

The singer/songwriter still loves all things mystical. She may not be singing with Fleetwood Mac here, but she hasn’t left the Welsh Witch of “Rhiannon” far behind.  The fairy tale-like title track “Bella Donna” is so sweetly girlie that it borders on giving listeners sugar shock, but Nicks has always been the type of recording artist to wear her heart on her sleeve. She does better on the peppy rockers “Think About it” with its morning after “what did I do?” doubts described as “the velvet of the morning”. Well, when you put it that way . . . . “Outside the Rain” is an anthem-like song for the siren singer and her extremely loyal fans. With its rain imagery and vintage swaying rock sound, who would ever ask for blue skies again?

Just to put those critics who are tempted to dismiss her as an airy fairy in their place, Nicks turns in a great out and out rocker with “Edge of Seventeen”. It’s a bit epic in length, but no one will care when the guitar riff kicks in. Delivering a power-house rock vocal performance that channels Janis Joplin and a host of other spirits, Nicks wails like a banshee and the song soars. Her favorite things – clouds, the sea and night birds are still here, but they’re wrapped around a powerful production that prevents the images from seeming sappy in any way. Stevie Nicks may have gained her musical footing with a little help from Fleetwood Mac, but Bella Donna shows that she wasn't hiding behind anyone in that band. She’s a true rock and roll original who can play well with others or strut around on her own. Whatever choice she makes, it’s sure to be an enchanted journey!


Date: 2005-08-25         Number of views: 1516

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