Stevie Nicks – The Wild Heart

xxxxx

  • The Wild Heart finally arrives on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound – exceptionally quiet vinyl too! 
  • The size, presence, and (relative) warmth on this one give you the sound you want for this music
  • Features a host of stellar guest musicians, including Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood, Steve Lukather (Toto), and even Prince, though he wasn’t credited on the album
  • 4 stars: “The Wild Heart sold to the faithful … if you loved Bella Donna, you would like The Wild Heart very much.”

It’s easy to spot the good sounding copies. They’re big and rich, not thin nor harsh. They open up on the top end and go down deeper on the bottom. They’re smooth and full-bodied in the midrange. Stevie’s vocals are breathy and present. The energy of her performance drives the music the way you want it to.

In short, the best copies demonstrate the sound one could expect to hear on a good Tom Petty album. Nothing surprising there; this album, like Petty’s, was produced and engineered by the same team, Jimmy Iovine and Shelly Yakus. They’ve made some great records together, Damn the Torpedoes being the best of the batch for sonics.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Less grit – smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on The Wild Heart.

A bigger presentation – more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record, the better.

More bass and tighter bass. This is fundamentally a rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way Shelly Yakus wanted it to.

Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.

Good top end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.

Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven’t played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.

Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.

Shootout Criteria (What To Listen For)

What are the sonic qualities by which a Pop or Rock record — any Pop or Rock record — should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.

When we can get many of the qualities above to come together on the side we’re playing we provisionally award it a Hot Stamper grade, which may or may not be revised over the course of the shootout as we hear what the various other copies sound like. Once we’ve been through all our side ones, we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner. Other copies have their grades raised or lowered depending on how they sounded relative to the shootout winner. Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each pressing match up.

That’s why the most common grade for a White Hot stamper pressing is Triple Plus (A+++) on one side and Double Plus (A++) on the other. Finding the two best sounding sides from a shootout on the same LP certainly does happen, but is sure doesn’t happen as often as we would like (!) — there are just too many variables in the mastering and pressing processes to insure consistent quality.

Record shootouts may not be rocket science, but they’re a science of a kind, one with strict protocols developed over the course of many years to insure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can possibly make them.

The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing — or your money back.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Wild Heart
If Anyone Falls
Gate And Garden
Enchanted
Nightbird

Side Two

Stand Back
I will Run To You
Nothing Ever Changes
Sable On Blond
Beauty And The Beast

AMG 4 Star Review

Stevie Nicks was following both her debut solo album, Bella Donna (1981), which had topped the charts, sold over a million copies (now over four million), and spawned four Top 40 hits, and Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage (1982), which had topped the charts, sold over a million copies (now over two million), and spawned three Top 40 hits (including her “Gypsy”), when she released her second solo album, The Wild Heart.

She was the most successful American female pop singer of the time. Not surprisingly, she played it safe: The Wild Heart contained nothing that would disturb fans of her previous work and much that echoed it.

As on Bella Donna, producer Jimmy Iovine took a simpler, more conventional pop/rock approach to the arrangements than Fleetwood Mac’s inventive Lindsey Buckingham did on Nicks’s songs, which meant the music was more straightforward than her typically elliptical lyrics…

The Wild Heart sold to the faithful — it made the Top Ten, sold over a million copies, and spawned three Top 40 hits (“Stand Back,” “Nightbird,” and “If Anyone Falls”). And that was appropriate: if you loved Bella Donna, you would like The Wild Heart very much.

Leave a Reply