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Rolling Stone No. 555 - June 29, 1989

The Other Side of the Mirror (Two and a half stars)

Though she's a performer whose reputation is tightly entwined with her personality, Stevie Nicks is usually only as good as the collaborators with whom she chooses to make music. Her performances in Fleetwood Mac always worked best when she had a strong foil, such as Lindsey Buckingham (the verdict is still out on the new Mac lineup), and more recent collaborations with the likes of Prince, Tom Petty and most of Petty's Heartbreakers
(particularly guitarist-songwriter Mike Campbell) find her a feisty, formidable rocker. But she can be a flighty, narcissistic writer and singer when she's not surrounded with other talented folks.

This in mind, it's easy to worry about The Other Side of the Mirror, Nicks's fourth solo LP, because she's surrounded herself this time with an eclectic, erratic crew. For every effective force like Campbell, there's someone like producer-keyboardist Rupert Hine, whose trademark is lazy synth pop, and Kenny G, that purveyor of saxophone-Muzak sleeping pills.

Half the time, though, most members of the cast shake out of their grogginess long enough to put up an acceptable groove. "Rooms on Fire" truly smolders, and "Whole Lotta Trouble" is Nicks's most credible dance-floor entry since "Stand Back." An
especially forceful participant is longtime Los Angeles session veteran Waddy Wachtel, guitarist on half these dozen tracks, who consistently nudges forward even the most questionable songs. Also helping out is Bruce Hornsby, whose vocal cameo on "Juliet" clearly inspires Nicks.

But too often Nicks is stuck in a mid-tempo funk, bellowing about witches, gypsies and twisted love. Like her previous records, The Other Side of the Mirror shows Nicks can stand tall with the top rank of contemporary rockers, but she's not nearly consistent enough to sustain a whole album.

--Jimmy Guterman

Thanks to Tracy G. for posting this to The Ledge.