Sonoko F. from MONTCLAIR, NJ Reviewed on 1/25/2007...
Amazon reviewer writeup: "ROCK A LITTLE tends to take a beating from critics as a purely commercial effort--and there is some truth in that statement. But the problem with the album isn't so much Stevie Nicks as it is producer Jimmy Iovine...even with these problems running against it, ROCK A LITTLE is a solid album, and at its best it shows Stevie Nicks at her best. The opening "I Can't Wait" is a roundhouse punch, "I Sing for the Things" is classic Nicks poetry, "Talk To Me" is a neglected pop classic, and "Has Any One Ever Written Anything For You" may be a bit spotty in lyrics but it has the emotional charge that only Nicks at her best can convey...This isn't the album I would use to introduce Stevie Nicks to a new listener--pulls in too many directions without finding a center. But it is nonetheless a good album, one that really only falls short in comparison to Nicks' previous work. - Gary F. Taylor "GFT"
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Don't pass judgement too quickly...
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stevie Nicks' "Rock A Little" is a tough one to explain. The first time I listened to this record, I didn't really think it was worth buying. Stevie's voice sounds a bit strained on the album, and you will never have to guess at what decade this collection of tracks comes from. That having been said, the songs on this album come straight from what Stevie was living at the time. She bears her soul on this record, and desperate times are apparent. Stevie sings "that was when the dream took her prisoner/and she knew the dream was over/but the nightmare was not over." A truthful testimony of Stevie's feelings of the business and her state of mind at the time. "she cries to her friend why am I so alone/he says wo baby/this is path you have chosen." The album also contains the top ten hit "Talk to Me" and the hit single "I Can't wait." Rock A Little is now my favorite Stevie album, and I do own all of her solo work. Just give Rock A Little a chance and a little thought, I think you'll like it."
Not your usual Stevie album
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm probably biased, because this record was my first exposure to Stevie Nicks ever, but I think it's a great album. Yes, we now know that she was half-wacked outta her gourd on drugs and booze during this time, but that mostly likely served to give her more of an edge. Even Stevie has said that "devestation leads to writing great songs" and while her voice on this CD is not perfect, it's full of intensity. She practically shouts her way through the defiant No Spoken Word and The Nightmare. And Rock A Little and I Sing For The Things sound appropriately weary and heartfelt. There is never a doubt that she is putting everything she's got into singing the songs on this album. This IS an odd album, because at least for a while, Stevie let go of her farie/gypsy/fantasy persona and got herself an attitude....she became Stevie:Warrior Princess. She started wearing all black, teased out her hair, and spun faster and harder than she ever has before or since. If there is a downside to this CD, it's that it now feels dated. It isn't as timeless as her other albums....the music very much sounds and feels like a typical mid-80's production."
Solid, But Not Quite As Inspired as Nicks' Previous Work
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 10/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"ROCK A LITTLE tends to take a beating from critics as a purely commercial effort--and there is some truth in that statement. But the problem with the album isn't so much Stevie Nicks as it is producer Jimmy Iovine. Iovine did a stunning job of showcasing Nicks' unique talents on her solo debut BELLA DONNA and its follow up THE WILD HEART, but with ROCK A LITTLE he seems unable to find any consistently effective way in which to present her. Consequently, most cuts from this album reek of excessive synthesizer, as if Iovine is trying to bury Nicks under layers of sound. Not surprisingly, it would be the last time he would act as her producer.That aside, 1985 was not a particularly good year for Stevie Nicks herself, who endured a host of emotional upheavals and began to drift into serious drug use. And it shows a bit in her material. At her best, she can still fuse a series of remarkable images with her half-velvet, half-sandpaper voice--"I Sing For The Things" is a particularly good example and a very fine piece. But few of the selections here have the same memorable combination of voice, lyric, and music that graced her previous work.But all of this is much less grim than it may sound: even with these problems running against it, ROCK A LITTLE is a solid album, and at its best it shows Stevie Nicks at her best. The opening "I Can't Wait" is a roundhouse punch, "I Sing for the Things" is classic Nicks poetry, "Talk To Me" is a neglected pop classic, and "Has Any One Ever Written Anything For You" may be a bit spotty in lyrics but it has the emotional charge that only Nicks at her best can convey. As for the rest, they aren't bad, they aren't clunkers--they're just not Nicks quite at the top of her form.This isn't the album I would use to introduce Stevie Nicks to a new listener--it pulls in too many directions without finding a center. But it is nonetheless a good album, one that really only falls short in comparison to Nicks' previous work. Recommended.GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
Not "Dated"--Just a Good, Solid Historical Record
Eddie VanArsdall | Alexandria, VA, USA | 04/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We're all entitled to our opinions, but why write off good music as sounding "dated"? Pop music collectors represent all periods in their disc collections--for better or for worse. Music trends seem to change by decade, and if you buy music recorded during any decade by an artist generating radio hits, you know, at least to some extent, what you're getting.Pop music of any period has traditionally been defined by the culture of the time, as well as by then-current technology. Can you fault Stevie Nicks for experimenting with the sound palette of the time and using it as a backdrop for her songs? Personally, I admire her all the more for it. Experimentation is what makes Stevie an artist. I admire that she hasn't been content to [push] out another "Bella Donna" with each new release. ...I would have become bored with her music and would have stopped buying her recordings long ago. I see Stevie as being in the class of other artists such as Prince, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell--artists who have never been content to play it safe. These artists have never stopped experimenting, which I find exciting. They are amazingly versatile and willing to take chances. Yet, no matter what sonic backdrop they have used, their style and individuality always shine through.On the more upbeat songs of "Rock A Little," Stevie's voice sounds right at home with the hard-driving beats. Yes, in other songs, she sounds weaker, more vulnerable--sometimes in keeping with the meaning of the song, sometimes perhaps because of her personal difficulties. Rather than analyzing each song individually, however, I look at this and other discs as a collection. For me, the success factor is variety of songs and whether the entire collection sustains my interest throughout. This collection succeeds on both levels. Just look at the range, starting with the fiery "I Can't Wait" and ending with the gentle, heartstopping "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You."If you're a true fan of any artist, you expect that person to have ups and downs, hits and highlights. I know of NO musician who hasn't had some strong and some weak songs in each new collection. Those who are quick to judge the quality and consistency of an artist's work should try to write an album's worth of tunes, or a novel, under contractual pressure, especially if you don't feel up to it! (No, I haven't done either; I can't imagine such a scary prospect, with scrupulous fans waiting in the judgment seat.) Compare it to those days where you just don't want to go to work."
Go ahead..Rock a Little
Izak Loftus | Carson City, MI | 10/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released in 1985, Rock a Little was Stevie's 3rd solo effort. She was at the brink of her cocaine addiction, and along with a few collaborators, she produced a truly awesome album. Because she was so desperate and so confused at this time because of the cocaine and her failed relationship with Joe Walsh, that gave her so much inspiration, and it shows in Rock a Little. And believe me, she rocks more than a little.The lyrics of this album are possibly her best. They're full of angst and she seems lost. For instance, take I Can't Wait. "She wonders how many more hours her heart will feel broken..sometimes she talks to him, sometimes when she's only dreaming". She just has to see this man, probably Joe, and it's just an amazing song overall. I also noticed that she's trying to prove that she's not in it for the money. In No Spoken Word she says "What was it she wanted? They say she had everything..". That's basically the story of her life. She wants love..although she has "everything". It's almost the same in I Sing For the Things, in which she says "You say I have everything..that I'm living on dreams and chains. But I sing for the things money can't buy me". She sings for the fans, she sings for love, she sings because in her heart she knows that's why she was brought into this world. The lyric "dreams and chains" obviously represents the songs Dreams and The Chain from Fleetwood Mac. They say she has everything and that she's just using her Fleetwood Mac fame, but that's not true.Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You is stunning. "So if not for me then..do it for yourself. If not for me then..do it for the world. Poets..priests of nothing..legends.." are some of the best lyrics of the album. The whole song is beautiful. If I Were You also has an amazing verse that hits you. "I believe that love is a living thing..born into our destinies. From a single moment of inspiration and as it grows..it changes our lives forever" is so amazing that it just blows me away every time I hear it. No Spoken Word is pretty much the best song on the album, at least lyrically. Words like "I either say too much, or I don't say enough. I play too hard, still I'm not tough enough" and "Some people walk down the darkened streets with the faith of a child..and so go the faithless" are some of her most poetic and chilling lyrics.The music of Rock a Little is very 80s. The Other Side of the Mirror sounds like more of a synth-type late-80s sound, but Rock a Little is pure mid-80s. Not that that's a bad thing, but it kind of shows its age. It's still a timeless album, but the music took a while for me to warm up to. The lyrics are so amazing that the music sort of pales in comparison, but after a while they blend together perfectly. From the moody beat of Rock a Little to the energetic I Can't Wait, the music's pretty good.Stevie's voice on this album is different from any other of her ablums. Her voice differs slightly from album to album, but her voice never had and never has since sounded like it does here. She can sound so strong like on I Can't Wait, No Spoken Word, and Talk to Me, and then she can sound so fragile, like she's about to break, on songs like I Sing For the things, Rock a Little, and Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You. She gives a very powerful vocal on Imperial Hotel, one that leaves me speechless. Her vocal on Talk to Me is the best on the album, and that song is my personal favorite. Talk to Me was the hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard charts, although Stevie had no part in writing it. It apparently took a long time to hit the vocal, but when she did, sparks flew. Bottom line is: Talk to Me rocks.So although Stevie was going through some really hard times in love and in life, she still managed to put out one of her best albums. Every one of her albums is special in a certain way, and Rock a Little is just as special as the others. If you want to listen to another chapter of Stevie Nicks' life, or if you just wanna have fun and rock out, Rock a Little will most definitely leave you satisfied."