Monday, 20 June 2011

Not Another Singer Songwriter - Suzanne Vega




I remember buying Suzanne Vega's debut lp when the shop assistant in Jumbo records (the only reason to visit the Merrion Centre apart from trying to cash a cheque in Morrisons) in Leeds told me if I liked Martin Stephenson to give this a go. It wasn't normally the kind of stuff I listened to feeling a bit like a throw back to Joni Mitchell.



However, I was sucked in by the voice that was at once vulnerable and strong, the clever lyrics, the deceptively simple arrangements and some great guitar playing. The highlight was Marlene on the Wall and it still is one of my favourite singles.


The follow up lp Solitude Standing was a bit more polished and had the hit Luka on it. A friend of mine at poly had it on tape and for a while when we were in halls of residence it was the lp of choice for the early hours. The only issue is that across the corridor lived James, who viewed the lp as a key part of his seduction technique so whenever he was entertaining someone in his room (which was pretty often to the rest of our amazement) he would stumble into Richard's room slightly stoned and demand the tape. As we were all slightly fascinated by this we always said yes.



I now can't hear anything off the second lp with out seeing James wrapped in some kind of tie dyed sheet, eyes a bit unfocused asking if we could spare the vega. It put me off to such an extent that I didn't buy any of her other lps



Suzanne Vega got back in the charts thanks to a dance version of Tom's Diner and made a further 5 lps up to last year, often experimenting with sounds and structures




Last year saw her produce 2 lps of new versions of a selection of her back catalogue with 2 more due this year (I think there is an element of retaining copyright control as well as for the purely artistic)




However I go back to what I still think is her best song












2 comments:

  1. The Bounty Hunter20 June 2011 at 16:09

    Good LP, great story. "Can you spare the Vega" makes it sound like some kind of new drug.... I guess it was in his eyes!

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  2. Hi Bounty Hunter - in fairness the can you spare the vega is probably my memory of what he should have said. It was definitely in the eyes and also the hair!

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