The Resurgent Appeal of Stevie Nicks

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By Amanda Petrusich

(via The New Yorker)

The cover of “Bella Donna,” Stevie Nicks’s first solo album, shows the artist looking slender and wide-eyed, wearing a white gown, a gold bracelet, and a pair of ruched, knee-high platform boots. One arm is bent at an improbable angle; a sizable cockatoo sits on her hand. Behind her, next to a small crystal ball, is a tambourine threaded with three long-stemmed white roses. Nicks did not invent this storefront-psychic aesthetic—it is indebted, in varying degrees, to Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina, de Troyes’s Guinevere, and Cher—but, beginning in the mid-nineteen-seventies, she came to embody it. The image was girlish and delicate, yet inscrutable, as if Nicks were suggesting that the world might not know everything she’s capable of.

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This intimation is newly germane: a vague but feminine mysticism is in. Lorde, Azealia Banks, FKA Twigs, CHVRCHES, Grimes, and Beyoncé have all incorporated bits of pagan-influenced iconography into their music videos and performances. Young women are now embracing benign occult representations, reclaiming the rites and ceremonies that women were once chastised (or worse) for performing. On runways, on the streets, and in thriving Etsy shops, you can find an assortment of cloaks, crescent-moon pendants, flared chiffon skirts, and the occasional jewelled headdress.

While Nicks’s sartorial choices have been widely mimicked, it’s rare to hear echoes of her magnanimity in modern pop songs, which are frequently defensive and embattled, preaching self-sufficiency at any cost. It’s difficult to imagine Nicks singing a lyric like “Middle fingers up, put them hands high / Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye,” as Beyoncé does in “Sorry,” a song from her newest album, “Lemonade.” Nicks’s default response to betrayal is more introspective than aggressive. Her music has long been considered a balm for certain stubborn strains of heartache; her songs are unsparing regarding the brutality of loss, yet they are buoyed by a kind of subtle optimism. It’s as if, by the time Nicks got around to singing about something, she already knew that she would survive it…

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/11/28/the-resurgent-appeal-of-stevie-nicks?mbid=social_facebook

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