Trouble in Shangri-La
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2001, Volume 8, #10
Written by Joseph O. Patton
Her reign continues.
It has been decades since Stevie Nicks, siren of the legendary band Fleetwood Mac, was dubbed the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll." Despite the wildly growing crop of new female artists, all daring to push the traditional boundaries of popular music, Nicks remains true to her art. Her latest release Trouble in Shangri-La is her first full-length recording in seven years, and it continues her tradition of artistic integrity and independent style.
Trouble in Shangri-La is simply what has become expected of Nicks, a collection of songs born of personal experiences and woven together by her poetic lyrics. Several tracks have a tendency to grab you, most notably the country-tinged Too Far from Texas. Here, Nicks' warm, husky voice throws the listener into the ring of a honky-tonk bar, and the track is a testament to her ability to transcend the standard rules and sounds in pop music.
A high point of Trouble in Shangri-La is its all-star cast. Throughout the album, Nicks broadens her musical horizons, assembling a motley crew of female artists to support her. She bridges the pop/country gap by dueting with the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines on Too Far from Texas; songstress Macy Gray appears briefly to trade notes with Nicks on Bombay Sapphires; and piano diva Sarah McLachlan offers piano, vocals, and guitar to the ballad Love Is. Additionally, Sheryl Crow — who worked with Nicks in 1998 to produce two tracks for the Practical Magic soundtrack — has returned to write, produce, perform, and sing on several of the songs.
Despite their many contributions, however, the guest artists on Trouble in Shangri-La never steal the show, and instead allow Nicks to shine. Pulling from her experiences with Fleetwood Mac as well as her years as a successful solo artist, she provides a well-rounded collection of twelve songs, all of which exemplify her magical lyrics and surreal sound.
It's doubtful that Nicks will make a return to her heyday of heavy radio airplay anytime soon — the industry has changed significantly in the past twenty years — but regardless of this, Nicks continues her charming habit of writing material that expressly is not watered down for the masses. As a result, you'll have to buy the CD as that's the only way you'll get to hear it. Fans of Nicks will not be disappointed. ½
Joseph O. Patton is the editor and publisher of the
Capital City Free Press, published in Montgomery, Alabama.
Trouble in Shangri-La is available from Amazon.com.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2001 The Music Box