Album Review: Stand Back by Stevie Nicks

Posted by Bianca on Sunday May 19, 2019 Under Album Review

Review by Toni Woodward

After over 40 years in the music industry, Stevie Nicks influence is unquestionable whether it be as a member of rock legends Fleetwood Mac or as a solo artist. Her unique vocal style has had a vast impact noticeably recognised by an array of artists such as Beyonce, Taylor Swift and her rock n roll husband Tom Petty. This three disc collection of work spans her whole career including her greatest hits, collaborations and stunning live performances all of which present a comprehensive aural compilation of Nicks’ work.

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Disc one commences with Edge Of Seventeen, blasting out the catchy riff by Waddy Wachtel that hooks in the most defiant of listeners and demonstrates Stevie at her finest. Nicks has the ability to create images through her distinctly feminine writing style yet the delivery has an indisputable strength. It is well documented that Stevie Nicks wholeheartedly commits to her vocal performance and this passion is conveyed through the recordings whether it be a quieter number such as Has Anyone Written Anything For You or the power ballad Talk To Me. The album title track Stand Back truly stands out, with its infectious dance vibe and geniusly catchy keyboard line courtesy of Prince that provide the backing for Nicks raspy and seductive voice to enrapture the listener.

The second disc which is dedicated to her numerous collaborations starts with the fabulous Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around which was written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell for their album back in 1981 and saw Jimmy Iovine manipulate so Nicks ended up singing on it. Turned out to be a long-standing friendship and saw other tracks develop further along the line, and after Petty’s untimely departure this song takes on a more melancholy tone. Other collaborations include a festive number with Chris Isaak, a country track with Dave Stewart Cheaper Than Free and a esoteric piano based song Beautiful People Beautiful Problems with Lana Del Ray. What is evident from all this disc of duets is that Stevie Nicks’ voice compliments so many others with true perfection and that she is an artist that spans so many genres and ages.

The final of the three discs captures Stevie Nicks talent not just as a recorded artist but as a live performer. Many of the tracks are her playing Fleetwood Mac songs in a live arena, beginning with the haunting Gold Dust Woman and its phenomenal experimentation with dynamics towards the end of the song. There is an alternative start to Rhiannon, just Nicks and the piano and you can hear her interact with the audience and then the song erupts full pelt around two and half minutes in, launching the classic with such power. The version of Sara from Soundstage is more reminiscent of the original with its beautiful key changes and lyrical honesty. The live tracks finish with Led Zeppelin’s Rock And Roll in which Stevie retains the grit of the original even the wails have an edge of a female Plant about them. The disc ends with songs that Stevie Nicks wrote for various film soundtracks including Sleeping Angel from Fast Times At Ridgemont High and a couple of acoustic numbers from Practical Magic, If You Ever Did Believe and Crystal.

This album is a comprehensive collection of Stevie Nicks work which is well worth listening to even if you have heard quite a bit of it before, if not only to appreciate her vocal talent in all its forms of glory.

Stand Back was released on 29th March on Rhino as an 18-track, single-CD collection. Accompanying versions were released through digital download and streaming services on the same day. Stand Back 1981-2017, a 50-track, 3-CD version was then be released on 19th April, followed by a 6-LP vinyl version on June 28.

Fleetwood Mac with Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie along with newcomers Mike Campbell and Neil Finn are touring this year staring in Berlin on 6th June. All dates can be found here.

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