Stevie Nicks’s Trouble in Shangri-La sounds more like a retrospective than an album of all new material, and that might be due to the fact that many of the song copyrights date as far back as 1970. Yet Nicks never attempts to update her sound the way other aging rockers have in recent years. The songs are never muddled unnecessarily with electronica (or any other trends for that matter). Instead, she has fine-tuned her craft, offering what is probably her most solid collection of songs since 1981’s Bella Donna. Songs like the title track display Nicks’s ever-enchanting lyrical talents: “You can consume all the beauty in the room…And it brings up the wind/And it rises around you in pillars of colors.” On the pop-driven “Love Changes,” she acknowledges how relationships can change but doesn’t necessarily embrace those changes. Her long-standing ability and unmatched devotion to exposing the most vulnerable aspects of her life is still evident: “I am terrified of being wrong/Well, I am not happy/I am not crazy.”
The album’s first single, “Planets of the Universe,” written back in 1979, finds Nicks coming to grips with mortality more than 20 years ago: “I was wrong to live for a dream/If I had my life to live over/I would never dream, no.” The song is now, perhaps, a comment on the Welsh Witch’s dedication to the art of music and sacrifice of family life. “Planets” evokes images of Nicks growling her way through the now-classic “Edge of Seventeen.” You can already hear the inevitable club mix making its way up the club charts. Despite seven different producers, Shangri-La sounds cohesive and consistent. But the slick production and syrupy melodies beg for the raw drama of Nicks’s imminent live performances. “Bombay Sapphires” finds Nicks proclaiming, “Here I am dramatic/Here I am not waiting/Here I am not listening,” but her fans have certainly waited and with Shangri-La, there’s definitely something worth listening to.