The first question you’re likely to have about Stevie Nicks’s new album is, when was this recorded? It’s almost impossible to tell, because Nicks sounds so classic, as if surveying each decade of her long career on her own and with Fleetwood Mac. “24 Karat Gold” is Stevie at her Nicks-iest: a gold dust woman, caught mid-twirl.
Nicks notes in the press materials that most of these songs were written between 1969 and ’87, with a pair from the early ’90s, but the album was recorded this year in Nashville and Los Angeles.
To her credit, she and fellow producers Dave Stewart and Waddy Wachtel have a light touch here, letting Nicks’s silvery voice lead with grace and grit. So many of these songs evoke yesteryear Nicks, from the serpentine, “Rhiannon”-like groove of “Mabel Normand” to the starry prettiness of “If You Were My Love.” “Blue Water” has a dusky country vibe; it could have been a Fleetwood hit, right down to its line “And I wait for the sound of my gypsy.”
There are also new shades of her — all the color of midnight blue, of course — including a jazzy little number called “Cathouse Blues.” “I just care that you love me,” she growls on the heavy rocker “I Don’t Care.” And a piano ballad, “Lady,” is big and bare, a chance to savor Nicks in full splendor. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Blue Water”
Stevie Nicks performs with Fleetwood Mac at TD Garden on Oct. 10 and Oct. 25.