Stevie Nicks
Rock a Little



by mac62 USER (2 Reviews)
January 30th, 2018 | 1 replies

Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 'Rock A Little', Stevie Nicks' third solo effort, remains somewhat of a forgotten gem in the singer-songwriter's extensive, decade-spanning catalog. Though the album suffers from some typically mid-80s production at times, it remains an enjoyable listen a

'Rock A Little', the long-awaited follow-up to 1983's 'The Wild Heart', was released in November 1985. The album, Stevie's third apart from Fleetwood Mac, represents somewhat of a departure from her typical style up to that point. Like so many of her contemporaries did during the era (and to varying results); Stevie embraced the big '80s' sound, heavily relying on drum machines, synthesizers, and screeching guitars in the production of the album. While many of the songs retain the singer-songwriter's signature, mystical quality, 'Rock A Little' remains Stevie's most outward attempt at commerciality, especially exemplified by the inclusion of multiple outside writers. Another aspect that sets the album aside from her previous work, is Stevie's voice and singing style, which had become rougher and frayed- an extreme contrast to her early work with Fleetwood Mac (Landslide, Dreams, etc.). But, to her credit, in the "new" world of Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Whitney Houston; Stevie held up remarkably well.
The first single from the album, the Chas Sanford-written, "Talk to Me" reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, making it Nicks' second biggest hit to date. The song's simple drum and guitar arrangement was undeniably made-for-radio, but Stevie's passionate vocal performance saves the song from what could have become 'just another 80s pop song' (though it's lack of airplay on today's classic rock radio may suggest otherwise). The second single, "I Can't Wait", was unlike anything Stevie had done before or has done since. The song employs a driving rock guitar tempo, smothered in all the 80s fixin's! Though the song remains one of her biggest hits (#16), it has got to be the most dated sounding single of Stevie's entire discography. One of the most baffling things about this record (aside from some head-scratcher lyrics) is the choice of "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You" for the album's third and last single. The song, which remains a concert staple and favorite among fans, though not lyrically or musically substantial, was saved from the typical over-production. Stevie's vocal delivery is emotional and touching, set atop a simple piano and keyboard arrangement and makes for a much more effective album closer than it does a hit single.
Many of the lesser-heard album tracks are what make this album great, in some cases outshining the singles. "Imperial Hotel", "Some Become Strangers", "If I Were You", and the autobiographical "Rock A Little (Go Ahead Lily)" are all highlights. "No Spoken Word", however, sticks out as one of the best Nicks-penned songs on the album. It went (and remains) grossly underappreciated and would have made a far more appropriate final single in the place of "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You".
'Rock A Little' may suffer slightly from dated 80s production, but taken for what they are, these songs make a strong pop-rock album, full of hooks and pleasing melodies. Being that the album is so unlike any other in Stevie's catalog, it may not make the best entrance point for new listeners, but after one hears 'Bella Donna' and 'The Wild Heart', 'Rock A Little' showcases a unique artist, who, even while divulging in commercial pop trends, is able to retain her singular, inimitable style.

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January 30th 2018


Nice choice for a review, Mac.

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