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Record Magazine (09/1983), Review < Stevie Nicks < Main Page

Record Magazine (09/1983), Review

Record Magazine, September, 1983

Review - Wild Heart
by Christopher Hill

Consider the weird authority Stevie Nicks can command, her sense of drama, her knack for hooks, her willingness to experiment with new and different styles, and you have reason enough to tolerate her excesses. But in this case talent must war constantly with the artist's most sophmoric inclinations, in order to break through the cloying atmosphere of her conventionalized, quaintly girlish romanticism, and worse, an almost mystical fascination with her own emotions. And so it's not that Wild Heart is bad--some of it, in fact, is quite good; but a crucial degree of discipline has slipped, producing an album that sounds pleased with itself all out of proportion to its virtues.

Interesting ideas and nice melodies are scattered throughout this record, but they only occasionally organize themselves into good songs. In "Stand Back," she's created one of the summer's best radio songs, injecting Anglo-style "dance music" with rock 'n' roll urgency.

"Enchanted" begins like a typical L. A. session player's idea of a rocker--plodding 4/4, the keyboards gracelessly hammering away--but takes on a life of its own with spunky ensemble singing and Nick's wired up monotonal lyric spew.

But soon the walls of her private velvet underground close in. The cloud of sighs that opens "Sable on Blonde" is eerily reminiscent of the kind of background music used in TV commercials in ads for pantyhose or hygiene sprays. "Wild Heart" is fitfully engaging, but meanders unconscionably, as if to underscore the moral shiftlessness of the lyrics--"Don't blame it on me, blame it on my wild heart" is as thoroughly bullshit a sentiment as any you'll find in pop music.

"Beauty and the Beast" seeks to evoke timeless longing but sinks under the weight of syrupy synthesizer washes. One line from the end of "Beauty and the Beast," when Nicks obsessively asks, "Where is my beast?" has a special ironic resonance.

The answer to that is that he lives in other Stevie Nicks songs--such as "Angel," "Edge of Seventeen," "Silver Springs"--where the rough beast that is the Other, the external world, breaks through the spun sugar walls of Nicks' dream house.

You can play with crystal visions all you like, Stevie, but only at the risk of having your beast tire of the inattention and wander off for good.

Date: 1983-09-01         Number of views: 1786

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