Maybe Stevie Nicks has stopped twirling long enough to shake her long-standing dizziness: “Ghosts,” the best song on her fourth solo album, is not about otherworldly specters, but rather haunting mistakes from one’s own “past that you live in” and “the future you are frightened of.” And though that song (and others) refer to the likes of guardian angels, this is the most grounded Nicks has been since she first sang about her Welsh witch pal so many years ago.
Rather than rock’s Shirley MacLaine, this time she’s more its Sylvia Plath--though Nicks has apparently crawled out from under her unspecified bell jar. Images of brooding solitude and hard lessons learned abound: Besides the angels there’s lotsa falling rain and disillusioned fairy-tale princesses, all sung about in an appropriately weary but wizened voice (as opposed to Fleetwood Mac’s 1986 LP “Tango in the Night,” where her voice sounded shot).
She hedges her bet a bit, writing too often in third person, and Rupert Hine’s glossy production and the all-star cast (including a duet with Bruce Hornsby) also tend to mask the fragility and vulnerability of the lyrics. Still, these reflections reveal a woman making positive artistic steps in keeping with her apparent personal growth.