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. Rated:
by Reviewer: bluemoon