If you don’t know who Stevie Nicks is, I need to introduce you to the world’s most beloved musical gypsy. Starting off with Fleetwood Mac, she was the leads on songs like “Sara” and “Dreams”. This album is her debut as a solo artist, and frankly a strong impression at that. Led by “Edge of Seventeen”, Bella Donna became as well-known as Fleetwood Mac itself. Upon release in 1981, it was a Billboard #1, and remained on the chart for three consecutive years. I shamelessly have an old pressing and a later remastered pressing both in my own collection. The album is worthy and remains relevant even in today’s society. It is timeless and I do not think it will be so easily forgotten.
The album begins with a rock ballad styled “Bella Donna”. The slow start bringing in more instruments slowly really adds to the dramatics of the song.
The piano and contrast on the guitar really grabs me with “Kind of Woman”. It makes me think more of a metal ballad the way it is constructed. I think it is an underrated, forgotten piece of Bella Donna. The story is certainly something that crosses generations, “yes she matters to you”.
“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” has the lovely workings of Tom Petty, and the two blend so seamlessly together in this duet. I find the amazing part of this song is the authenticity of both artists remain in it. I could see this being done solo by either artist. Duets do not always have this purity.
“Think About It” isn’t bad, but it just didn’t grab me as much as the other tracks. It can be kind of forgettable in the wake of the other stronger tracks.
“After the Glitter Fades” has a bit of a country touch to it, but not enough to take all the rock out of it. I think it fit the song quite beautifully, and it touches on unrequited love.
“Edge of Seventeen” is a touching song about the death of her uncle and the difficulties of watching him die of cancer. There was also the death of John Lennon and her hopes to comfort then musical help Jimmy Iovine.
“How Still My Love Is” is a beautiful contrast to the rock edges of Edge of Seventeen. Going back to an emotional guitar driven ballad was very fitting in transition.
“Leather and Lace” includes Don Henley, and it isn’t bad but again does not grab me like the other tracks do.
“Outside the Rain” actually makes me think more of Fleetwood Mac’s styling, so it definitely shows she hasn’t forgotten the roots.
The album closes with the beautiful ballad track “The Highwayman”. It holds on to lyrical imagery and makes for a strong closing to a great album.
Lyrics: 9/10 – For the most part, the lyrics are great. Some felt a little too simple, but still not shabby at all.
Music: 9/10 – Solid music, some even enhancing the messaging.
Overall: 9/10 – If this iconic piece is not in your collection yet, you should add it. Like now. Or for RSD. Grab a copy. Somewhere, somehow. – Michaela