Suzanne Vega by Suzanne Vega

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Suzanne Vega by Suzanne Vega
Suzanne Vega by Suzanne Vega

Album Released: 1985

Suzanne Vega ::: Artwork

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2.Freeze Tag2:39
3.Marlene On The Wall3:37
4.Small Blue Thing3:53
5.Straight Lines3:47
7.Some Journey3:37
8.The Queen And The Soldier4:47
9.Knight Moves3:34
10.Neighbourhood Girls3:19


Vega's record label A&M were initially reluctant to sign her, let alone release this - her debut - and whilst the album sold well in the UK, elsewhere it failed to register.

And listening to Suzanne Vega, it's not difficult to see why A&M were ambivalent. For whilst Vega was touted as a singer-songwriter, on the strength of this release, she is neither ... she doesn't so much sing, as recite her lyrics in a slightly lilting sing-song voice, and seeing as songwriting entails composing melodies as well as lyrics, to call her a songwriter is a bit of a stretch, given that actual tunes are almost entirely absent here.

So on this release anyway, Vega comes across as more of an urban-folkie poet, reciting her poems to the accompaniment of some innocuous acoustic guitar, light bass, and occasional piano - the backing being little more than a spot of musical decoration designed to 'fill out' what would otherwise be just Vega's rather drab-sounding vocals. There's nothing in the way of memorable melodies - nothing to sing along to - it's really just Vega's voice supported by some wispy folkie-flavoured muzak.

Lyrically, the material is well-crafted, the compositions coming across as a set of poems with somewhat naive 'Romantic' leanings, most obvious in titles like "The Queen and the Soldier" and "Knight Moves". But unless you have a particular interest in whimsical poetry readings, delivered by what seems a rather intense young woman, the album overall is likely to be a rather dull listening experience, with not even one half-decent tune in sight. It's solitary 'bedsitter' stuff really, mostly popular with melancholic young women, who could somehow relate to the album's rather morose air.

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by Reviewer: bluemoon

Suzanne Vega came onto the music scene as a quiet, unassuming folksinger, and has used her talent to release material that has imagination, inspiration, and appeal. This debut album is a fine demonstration of her style.

Her gentle voice is lovely to listen to, and her acoustic guitar is supported by various other musicians, and yet they are sometimes hardly noticeable – Vega’s vocals have a way of demanding full attention, while such tracks as “Small Blue Thing” and “Straight Lines” have her guitar keeping me enthralled by its pleading, and “Some Journey” has a lilting tune that is captivating.

The lyrics are a mixture of deep emotions, relationships, and story-telling, the latter demonstrated skilfully with the very moving “The Queen and the Stranger”. The finishing “Neighbourhood Girls” has a slightly rockier sound than what comes before it, and the song does seem a bit out of place, but the way Vega seizes the listener with her unassuming presence remains quite something.

Vega has released just a handful of albums since this one, and while none quite reach classic status, they are without exception all worth seeking out.

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by Reviewer: The Doctor