Stevie Nicks – 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault (a very biased review)

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Stevie Nicks’s new album, 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault, will be released across the US tomorrow, having already spent a week cruising through the European market as the North American leg of Fleetwood Mac’s global reunion tour got underway. While this isn’t exactly new news, this record happens to be very special, not just to Stevie, but to the legions of fans like me who found, listened to and loved the many bootleg demos we managed to dig up over the course of our endless love affair with her music.

You see, these demos were like an extra glimpse of Stevie-ness that we just couldn’t turn down all those years ago. Like the Wild Heart track of the same name, when you’re Enchanted by Stevie Nicks, it’s so lovely to be around her voice that saying no to hearing it seems ridiculous, no matter what the sound quality on a few dodgy YouTube clips happens to be like.

Now, however, she has knowingly given us what we’ve wanted for so long in the form of a real record, full of those captivating love stories that never really saw the light of day before. In short, she has done what my obsessive thirteen-year-old self wanted to hear more than anything – not that I ever stopped dreaming about it.

Full disclosure: if you want an unbiased review, you won’t find one here. I tried to warn you in the title.

Due to the Fleetwood Mac tour, Nicks and renowned (read: kickass) producer Dave Stewart put the whole record together in three months before rehearsals began. Three months isn’t very long for anyone to make an entire album, let alone a rock icon who happens to be joining one of the greatest bands of all time for yet another world tour just a matter of weeks down the line.

So, they went to Nashville, did the bulk of the recording in three weeks using session musicians, then finished it up back in Los Angeles. Talk about a whirlwind – but hey, Stevie’s the best twirler in the business.

“I’m used to bands where we argue over how to do the song. These Nashville guys just say, ‘Yes, ma’am.'” she told Rolling Stone in a recent interview.

The result of this energetic turnaround ended up being one of the best records of Stevie Nicks’ whole career, in my opinion at least. The reasons I fell in love with her music are all over it. The grit, pain and passion in her voice are present throughout and, on tracks like Lady and Blue Water, there’s a depth of emotion that seems so gentle but could actually knock a person right over.

Having chosen songs she wrote over the past five decades, many written in the early days about her great love and musical partner in crime Lindsey Buckingham, 24 Karat Gold was always going to be deeply personal.

“Lindsey will love it – half the songs are about him!” she explained to Rolling Stone.

Delightfully and unsurprisingly, it feels like an album that is totally and utterly her, as she underlined so well in the aforementioned interview.

“It’s always intense to look back, but it’s always good to remember who you were and what it was like then. It makes me remember how beautiful and frightening it all was…  all that pain I went through — it got me here.”

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