Stevie Nicks, The Wild Heart

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 09.12.11 in Reviews

The Wild Heart

Stevie Nicks
The first fruit of Fleetwood Mac’s hiatus

Following Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 Mirage and brief U.S.-only tour to promote it, the band went on hiatus, and this was its first fruit. Whereas Stevie Nicks’s 1981 solo debut surrounds the singer in dense rock, her 1983 follow-up balances the guitars with keyboards, more propulsive drums, and a welcome feminine touch. The lineup is the largely the same; even Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers drop by again for a second duet, “I Will Run to You,” but the addition of new collaborator Sandy Stewart, who sings, plays keys and co-writes a couple of tracks, helps contemporize the star. Nicks gives her strongest performances where the melodies require the least embellishment, like on the Stewart co-written “Nightbird.” Several tracks, particularly the opening “Wild Heart” and “Beauty and the Beast,” give her too much room to pile on the raspy vibrato that’s just beginning to generate self-parody. But then there’s “Stand Back,” a synth-led dance track inspired by Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” one that fires on every cylinder and features Prince himself. It’s so powerful and so far away from Nicks’s SoCal comfort zone that she’d never recapture its magic.