Simple Dreams

Simple Dreams

With her Jagger-like cover of Buddy Holly’s “It’s So Easy” and spiky renditions of Warren Zevon’s “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” and the Stones’ “Tumbling Dice,” Simple Dreams feels immediately tougher than Ronstadt’s preceding albums. However, like Fleetwood Mac, her edgy exultations are couched in immaculately smooth production, letting listeners partake in the emotional intensity without the violent aftershocks. And as with Rumours, the tumult is countered with moments of velveteen quiet, like “Simple Man, Simple Dream.” The country-rock flavors are outstanding. Zevon’s “Carmelita” feels like a song Ronstadt had waited on for years, while “I Never Will Marry” confirms an affinity with Dolly Parton that started with Ronstadt’s cover of “I Will Always Love You.” While a folksy rendition of “Old Paint” could have reduced Ronstadt to the hayseed persona of her early years, the old country song instead becomes an emblem for newfound qualities of maturity and restraint.

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