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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So much better than I thought it would be! Thanks must go to Dave Stewart!, 15 July 2011
This review is from: In Your Dreams (Audio CD)
Being a huge Stevie fan since the mid 90s I should have been looking forward to this album like I did with her last solo offering 'Trouble In Shangri-La' where I picked it off the shelf and placed it by my heart until I reached the till!

Stevie's voice of late is a lot poorer as shown on the at times embarrasingly awful 'Soundstage Session' album from two years ago. The words lazy and flat come to mind. Stevie needs to surround herself not with sycophants but people who will tell her that she needs to make more of an effort.

Therefore, news of a new album has filled me with dread; dread for flat vocals and tuneless melodies. I was surprisingly wrong and rate this album second in her solo career, behind 'The Wild Heart'. I have never quite rated 'Belladonna' as much as the average Stevie fan by the way.

Yes, her voice has changed a lot in ten years but producer Dave Stewart has kicked her up the arse, it seems, and told her to make that effort. She can still reach those notes. I just wish to God that she tries them live more often. Musically it's more akin to 'Belladonna', having a country-rock feeling, but it's far more subtle.

The album is on a high with the sweet Annabel Lee (with lyrics taken from Edgar Allan Poe,) Everybody Loves You (with beautiful harmonies with Dave,) Ghosts Are Gone (with a guitar riff up there with Edge of Seventeen,) Italian Summer ('so romantic' as Stevie sings,) and Cheaper Than Free (with again beautiful harmonies with Dave finishing off the album.)

A major embarrassment is, however, 'Soldier's Angel' where Stevie's ego and self-importance shine through. Next she'll be saying she has played a major hand in a successful war!

Yes, most of the songs are co-written, but so what! Yes, most of the songs are old, but so what! What you have is the realisation that Dave Stewart is the man to thank. I have been wishing for a Buckingham Nicks II as I've always loved Stevie and Lindsey's harmonies. In my opinion, Stevie and Dave's vocals compliment each other so well that I think an officially joint album should be made.

Well done Dave (and I suppose Stevie!)
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Jul 2011 16:11:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Jul 2011 18:44:44 BDT
Caramba! says:
Totally disagree with your comment about Stevie's live vocals. In fact, I would say your comments are very unkind and unjustified. Her show at the Wiltern in May is by far the best live show of her career (check it out on YouTube), and the last FM tour also saw Stevie in superb form. There are a couple of moments on the soundstage sessions which aren't perfect, but that is more to do with the mixing - the dvd comes across MUCH better than the CD, but her rendition of How Sill My Love is STUNNING!

I think you've missed the point of 'Soldier's Angel' - it's a brilliant tone poem that resonates with the sadness and menace and anger that ignited Illume on Say You Will (another great track).

You seem to damn with feint praise in this review, and come across as somewhat peevish in your comments. Hardly supportive from a so-called fan.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2011 17:58:32 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Jul 2011 18:11:52 BDT
Maybe it's all because she refused to let me touch her hand at a Say You Will concert in Birmingham!!! If she remembers someone calling her a 'b*tch' then that was me haha!

Yes HSML, and also Landslide (which I've never liked that much) and BATB are wonderful vocals and prove that she can still give it if she makes the effort. Stand Back proves she is lazy in my opinion. I haven't got the DVD yet though.

I'm sure Stevie can take a little criticism. She's rich enough. If she can't then she needs to get a grip on reality.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2011 18:52:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Jul 2011 16:05:38 BDT
Caramba! says:
Glad to read your capitulation here, and yes I'm sure Stevie can take criticism - she has in fact often been her own strongest critic, especially in regard to her output between 87 and 95. There is no need for such sarcasm in your comments above. It's very easy to attack an artist through these means, but they do not have the ability to defend themselves against such slurs.

She does not come across as an egotist in her interview comments or lyrics - in fact she is incredibly generous about the contributions of others in her work to make it better.

I understand where you are coming from, but by your own admission you have been a little hard on her in your main review, and have made sweeping statements and criticisms which you admit are not accurate.

Perhaps to be fair, you should edit your original review to make it more accurate.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jul 2011 20:46:26 BDT
Not really a capitulation. Where did I say that the Soundstage Sessions was all bad? I have altered a line to ''Stevie's voice of late is a lot poorer as shown on the at times embarrasingly awful 'Soundstage Session' album'' The words "at times" was actually from my original review. I wasn't actually reviewing the 'Soundstage Sessions' anyway but commenting that because it has in my opinion it's awful moments I was not looking forward to 'In Your Dreams' which in the end I gave 4 stars to.

You come across as the worst kind of Stevie fan; one which I have never liked. I'm quite amused that you find my review so important. I'm sure Stevie will have sleepness nights if she read it.

If you find capitulation so important, then you are right and I am wrong. Can I go now Miss?

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2011 18:18:43 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Jul 2011 18:19:38 BDT
Caramba! says:
Don't worry, you won't feel so negative or defensive when you're on the other side of teen angst, and with maturity you'll soon come round to achieving a more balanced and tolerant outlook.

Take care

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2011 19:40:39 BDT
Ouch!

Posted on 30 Sep 2011 03:54:43 BDT
If ths reviewer feels the criticism is needed, that's fine. 4star reviews aren't supposed to be saying everything's perfect, and personally I'm pleased to find someone else who doesn't think 'Bella Donna's' the absolute star to live up to. A good start yes, but others have started with better albums and then topped those with follow-ups. In fact 'Bella Donna' remains my least fave of hers, her best being her 3 other 80s offerings, plus the 'Trouble In Shangri-La' album some moan about here, though several of its cuts are well ordinary-'Every Day', 'I Miss You' and 'Made Me Stronger' almost pointless, plus Macy Gray is dreadful as always and Sheryl Crow's continuing unloveble presence most irksome-go away woman! A bit too country-tinged unlike all later releases, but I still hold all of 'Bella Donna' in good enough esteem-far more so than what others think of some of her later stuff, which I mostly love.

Even the maligned 'Street Angel' CD-yes, it's true there's little, if anything, of the sure-fire power, hit potential and melody that all her other albums are at least sprinkled with generous doses, but there doesn't need to be-I find it's still a strong enough album with thoughtful songs when taken together.

I really hope this new album is great. I know she's done several songs over the years that sound great-like 'Battle Of The Dragon' that didn't end up on albums. I will keep checking the price to see if it falls, as I was worried about the Stewart link, and some of the lengthy running times, but there are so many positive reviews here that I may have to dive.
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Location: Cardiff, Wales

Top Reviewer Ranking: 18,507