Trouble In Shangri-La
Stevie Nicks gets a lot of help from her Los Angeles friends on her first solo album since 1994’s Street Angel. As it turns out, she needs it.
Nicks belts out the opening title track as multi-tracked backing vocals provide support. But you can tell she doesn’t quite have the range she used to. Sheryl Crow turns up as producer on the second track, “Candlebright,” as well as four other songs here. She also wrote one of the songs and sings and plays guitar on several. Her presence is felt most strongly on “That Made Me Stronger,” which features that familiar Crow loping tempo and some nice fretwork from Crow guitarist and former Wire Train-er Jeff Trott. Other guests include Nicks’ Fleetwood Mac foil Lindsey Buckingham on the otherwise forgettable “I Miss You” and Macy Gray on “Bombay Sapphires.”
Nicks tries to add to her witchie-poo mystique on “Sorcerer,” which has a bit of a hypnotic quality, but try as she might, it’s not quite magic. “Show me the high life/Come over/Let me put you on ice,” she sings. Might make a good beer commercial.
“Planets of the Universe” sounds programmed and Pro Tool-ed to within an inch of its life. In fact, the first track here that sounds light on its feet is “Every Day,” which Nicks didn’t write. She fares better on “Too Far From Texas,” a twangy duet with Dixie Chick Natalie Maines that also features Heartbreaker Mike Campbell on guitar.
But the strongest track here may be the up-tempo rocker “Fall From Grace,” even though it too sounds a bit overripe. The record concludes with Sarah McLachlan joining Nicks for a piano ballad with trite lyrics called “Love Is.”
Based on Trouble In Shangri-La, I think it may be time for another Fleetwood Mac reunion.