Monday, August 11, 2014

Stevie Nicks - Timespace (1991)

Most artists from rock bands that attempt solo careers don't end up charting enough singles to create a legitimate greatest hits package, but Stevie Nicks is one of the few who can. In fact, Timespace eschews some of her top 40 hits ("After the Glitter Fades" and "Nightbird" are missing) to include some of her best album tracks ("Beauty and the Beast" and "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You", the latter was a low charting single in 1986).

The truly striking thing about Timespace is not that Nicks has the hits to justify such a package but the strength of the collection. Timespace documents how Nicks truly grew through the 80s, lifting off from the ashes of the seventies rock sound that Fleetwood Mac helped define and ultimately rising to create her solo niche based on the new electronic sounds of the 1980s. And she did so largely without compromising her musical style or artistic vision.

Most greatest hits albums include a few new tracks, and Timespace has three. While they are mostly solid work, they are not required listening. It's always wonderful to hear Nicks tackle songs by other artists, but the hair-metal of Jon Bon Jovi ("Sometimes It's a Bitch") and Bret Michaels ("Love's a Hard Game to Play") is really more suited to Cher or Heart than an artist as unique as Stevie Nicks. The aforementioned songs are great listens, and "Sometimes It's a Bitch" was a moderately successful single for Nicks to kick off the 90s. On the other hand while I enjoyed the third new track, "Desert Angel", it's an example of the self-indulgent lyrics and overblown production that had begun to undermine the emotional immediacy and energy of her work.

In any case, Timespace is an excellent album for the casual listener who wants to own the best of Stevie Nicks’ solo work, which is well deserving of such a collection.

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