Beyond the BCB 130 - Suzanne Vega

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trans-chigley express
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Beyond the BCB 130 - Suzanne Vega

Postby trans-chigley express » 03 Sep 2015, 13:15

Ok I can’t be bothered waiting for the letter V to come around in this series so here we go.

I know very little about Suzanne Vega and never really took much notice of her for her first few albums – some nice singles (Marlene on the Wall, Small Blue Thing, Left of Centre, Book of Dreams and, of course, Luka) but nothing to make me part cash for her records. It was the DNA remix of her acapella song Tom’s Diner that first made me sit up and notice – a rare case for me of a song being sampled to really good effect – but it wasn’t until 1992 and the release of the single 99.9F° that I really started to get interested. I bought the album and loved its experimental and more electronic sound, a real change in direction from here previous folky albums. The whole album was a revelation and I loved it.

Producer (and future husband) Mitchell Froom clearly had a fair bit of influence and it continued in a similar vein for the excellent follow up Nine Objects of Desire albeit with a slight jazzy leaning here and there as on the strange lead-off single Caramel sounding for all the world like "Girl From Ipanema" with a modern twist.

She parted ways with Froome, both musically and personally as they got divorced resulting in her divorce album Songs in Red and Gray which saw more of a return to her folkier beginnings. Another nice album but lacked the experimental edge of her previous two. Another strong album all the same to continue a good run.

Then came her best: Beauty and Crime. It managed to blend her folk and more experimental sides to great effect resulting in an album full of interesting ideas, strong tunes and her usual good lyrics. I’m really not a lyric person and typically pay them little regard but I do like Vega’s story telling style and she is one of very few artists whose lyrics I follow. It helps that she sings in a distinctive way with very clear enunciation of the lyrics so no “whose disease is catskin” type garbled nonsense with her!

Sadly she’s not very prolific so albums are few and far between but she keeps up the quality at least and her latest album with the rather Prog title Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles is another good blend of folk, beats and fine songs including a sequel to her most famous song Luka (see below). She may not sell anything like the quantity of records she once used to but she is an artist, like Talk Talk, that inexplicably sold less records as she made better music.

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Re: Beyond the BCB 130 - Suzanne Vega

Postby Darkness_Fish » 03 Sep 2015, 13:51

Hmm, interesting stuff. She's always been one of those artists who I've been vaguely aware of, but I've also regarded as probably being a bit mainstream for my tastes. Some of that was a bit polished for my taste, and I figure I might prefer her folkier musings, but it was an interesting mixed bag of songs chosen there.

Btw, for some reason, I sit and whistle the "do do do do" from Tom's Diner pretty much ever day at work, out of sheer habit, and it annoys the crap out of everyone, including me. I'm pretty sure I've never sat through the full song, either.
Like fast-moving clouds casting shadows against a hillside, the melody-loop shuddered with a sense of the sublime, the awful unknowable majesty of the world.

Conrad Knight Socks
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Re: Beyond the BCB 130 - Suzanne Vega

Postby Conrad Knight Socks » 03 Sep 2015, 18:28

I acquired the early albums as they came out, and saw her live before the second album came out. I largely agree with chigley. 99f was a fantastic record. Tom's album is a fun thing - a bunch of Tom's diner covers.
I kept thinking "swim as far as you can, swim as far as you can".

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Re: Beyond the BCB 130 - Suzanne Vega

Postby Rayge » 15 Jan 2018, 20:19

In timeless moments we live forever

You can't play a tune on an absolute

Negative Capability...when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason”