Here she goes again, seeing crystal visions. On her first album in seven years, Trouble in Shangri-La, witchy woman Stevie Nicks is up to her old magic tricks. A quick glance over song titles -- "Candlebright," "Sorcerer," "Planets of the Universe," and "Bombay Sapphires" -- reveals that not much has changed since 1994's Street Angel. Of course, Nicks hasn't just been kicking back and watching the unicorns frolic since then. She took part in Fleetwood Mac's world-dominating reunion a few years back and even assembled a three-disc box set of her solo material.
Trouble in Shangri-La, however, finds Nicks with a bunch of new friends (Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines, Macy Gray, and Sarah McLachlan, among them) on a bunch of new songs about the same old thing. Nicks, as usual, gets confessional. "I have so many questions about love and about pain/About strained relationships/About fame . . . ," she sings on the pretty and plaintive "I Miss You," and there's definite heartache there. It's as if the game Kurt Cobain and a bunch of other distressed souls told us about in the '90s -- fame ain't all that great -- has finally caught up with Nicks. The title, Trouble in Shangri-La, says it all. There are times when Nicks empties her head and just rolls on, such as on "Planets of the Universe," but for a good deal of the time, she looks back on the sacrifices she's made for her career (no husband, no kids, etc.). Her tendencies to reminisce with regret are proof once again that, as she once put it, thunder only happens when it's raining.