Sound: "In Your Dreams" seems to really represent several genres from classic rock ballads, to acoustic folk, to country but every song is unmistakably Stevie Nicks. At times I really feel like the music is more of an ambient background for Stevie's voice than being an actual equal part of the end product, though it is exceptionally well done if this is the purpose. Don't get me wrong in a few places this album really shines musically.
"In Your Dreams" was mostly co-written between Stevie Nicks and Dave Stewart (of the Eurythmics). The song "Annabel Lee" is Stevie singing the poem by Edgar Allen Poe. The song "Soldier's Angel" guest stars Lindsey Buckingham as a vocal duet, though this was written exclusively by Stevie Nicks. The songs that stand out to me on this album are "Soldier's Angel" and "Ghosts Are Gone". And okay, I like "Annabel Lee" even though it is just a Poe poem sang to music. // 7
Lyrics: Immediately, the lyrics strike me as narrative and every song tells a story. All of the lyrics seem to have a lot of real emotion behind them, and they have an honesty that a lot of lyrics in modern music do not have anymore. Stevie Nicks' strength is her exceptional songwriting, and this album is no exception. The lyrics seem to run the gambit as far as their motivation hope, mourning, longing, joy and sadness.
I had read an interview with Stevie where when she has worked with other songwriters in the past it is almost confrontational and working with Dave Stewart was different for her because it was more collaborative. What I see in the end result is the songs came across more like Stevie's past solo efforts than anything from a writing team. I think some songwriters need confrontation as part of their process to make something truly great. While the songs on "In Your Dreams" are solid, I keep finding myself wondering what they could have been with a little more confrontation in their development. // 8
Overall Impression: This is Stevie Nicks' seventh studio album released under her name. "In Your Dreams" really seems to create a certain mood or theme of vague mysticism or maybe more of a Victorian gothic type of theme for a large portion of the album. This is the stereotypical impression a lot of people have of Stevie Nicks with rumors of being Wiccan, dressing primarily in black, choosing frilly black lace and diaphanous flowing gowns for live performances, etc. but this album still seems to stress the stereotype.
"In Your Dreams" clocks in at just over an hour, which is impressive as I always feel like albums coming out are much too short. While this is not an album I will listen to every day, it is a matter of my taste and mood as I normally listen to electric blues, thrash metal, etc. This is a strong album, and I believe it will stand the test of time and prove itself to be one of Stevie Nicks' greatest musical releases.
Listening to "In Your Dreams" makes me miss Fleetwood Mac and though I think this is a good album, I feel like I would much rather listen to a new Fleetwood Mac album. // 7
- Brandon East (c) 2011