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Beauty & Crime CD

22 customer reviews

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Biography

Widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation, Suzanne Vega emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival of the early 1980s when, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sang what has been labeled contemporary folk or neo-folk songs of her own creation in Greenwich Village clubs. Since the release of her self-titled, critically acclaimed 1985 debut ... Read more in Amazon's Suzanne Vega Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Jun. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000Q66KOS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,456 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Zephyr & I
2. Ludlow Street
3. New York Is A Woman
4. Pornographer's Dream
5. Frank & Ava
6. Edith Wharton's Figurines
7. Bound
8. Unbound
9. As You Are Now
10. Angel's Doorway
11. Anniversary

Product Description

BBC Review

This album is one of BBC 6 Music's albums of the day, this week.

'I am asking you if you might still want me', sings Suzanne Vega on 'Bound', the track that forms the centerpiece of her new album Beauty And Crime, to which the answer has to be an indefinite 'maybe'. While the song appears to refer to a lover, it also has resonance for Vega's audience; it's been six years since her last album, 2001's post-divorce Songs In Red And Gray, and an awful lot longer since her startling, sparse and intensely blank 1985 debut paved the way for a new crop of female singer-songwriters. In fact, the ghost of the past hangs heavy over this album, which serves as something of a memorial to both the New York of the old millennium (particularly on the opening 'Zephyr') and Vega's own past (on the sensitive and affecting 'Ludlow Street').

If the international success of the 1990 remix of 'Tom's Diner' miscast her as the high priestess of coffee-shop yuppiedom, then her 1990s releases 99.9F and 9 Objects Of Desire proved she could rock as well as strum. This album is pitched somewhere between the sparse acoustics of her earliest releases (on the closing 'Anniversary', for instance) and the tricksier arrangements of her later work. The playing (by both Vega's regular collaborators and guests such as Lee Ranaldo and KT Tunstall, as well as background vocals from Vega's own daughter, Ruby Froom) and production (by Jimmy Hogarth) is excellent throughout, providing clarity and consistency to a fairly eclectic batch of songs that move from stripped-down to rock through electronica to full-blown orchestration.

If there is a problem here, it is with Vega's own songwriting. While some songs, such as 'Edith Wharton's Figurines' are intricate and thoughtful, others, such as 'New York is a Woman', seem somewhat underwritten, with a too-obvious metaphor. Similarly, the album's title is rather less interesting than it first appears. This is not quite the paean to Vega's New York past that we might have hoped for. --Tim Nelson

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Reynolds on 21 Jun. 2007
Format: Audio CD
Depsite often being accused of "experimenting", and changing direction etc. Suzanne Vega in reality has actually been stylisticly consistent throughout her long career.

Her deceptively simple songs, guitar plucking and voice can seem to fit into many different kinds of landscapes and genres (folk, latino, pop/rock etc. As such, she has always been very vulnerable to the talents and imagination of her producers. Her "techno-fok" period with producer/husband Mitchell Froom in the 90s was seen as a hugs leap, when in fact Froom was just shedding an unusual light on Suzanne.

Beauty and Crime is not really a huge departure for her. The structure of her songs, her guitar playing, it's all very consistent with her early work. It's certainly better than her last offering - the mawkish "divorce" album "Songs in Red and Gray".

It's the production that occasionally lets her down. However the songs I feel are some of her best. "Aniversary" is simply beautiful.

I would recommend this album completely. It would not have the production edge of previous work, but ultimately Suzanne has always been about her, her voice and her guitar - and for me this proves she is still in the game.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Zeynep Ozdes on 19 Jun. 2007
Format: Audio CD
After a long wait Suzanne Vega is back with her new album "Beauty&Crime" and without hesitation I can say that it was worth waiting for. This time Vega is sharing her city, New York, with us. And although we can say that the main theme of the album is NYC (something very specific) the lyrics are personal and universal at the same time. The highlights of the album (imho) are Ludlow Street (one of the best Vega songs ever in my opinion), Pornographer's Dream, Unbound, New York is a Woman and Anniversary. The only drawback of the record is it's shortness but as we all know quality is a lot more important than quantity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Ovens on 3 April 2008
Format: Audio CD
I have listened to a lot of Suzanne Vegas hits and they are great and this latest album is just great. The sound of it leaves you wanting to listen again and again. It's a bit short but the quality of the music makes up for it.

Best albums of 2007 were to me: Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry mob
Amy Winehouse - Back to black
KT Tunstall - Drastic fantastic
Amy Macdonald - This is the life

But I have to say Suzanne Vegas is the best and its the least famous, it just goes to show that the mora famous you are doesn't mean your better. I couldn't care less about the likes of Leona Lewis even if she had a huge hit I think she is crap compared to real artists like Suzanne Vega.

Best songs on Beauty and Crime:

Ludlow Street
Bound
New York is a woman
Frank and Eva

A must have for music fans.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By IWFIcon VINE VOICE on 18 Jun. 2007
Format: Audio CD
It seems almost strange that Beauty & Crime is Vega's first album since 2001's Songs Of Red & Gray (she has kept busy in the mean-time with touring, and playing virtual gigs in the online world of Second Life) but almost immediately you realise that that makes it her first album since 9/11 had it's permanent effect on the place that Vega calls home, New York.

The spectre undoubtedly hangs over the album. Anniversary is the most obvious and explicit statement about the tragedy, but there are strong echoes in the likes of Zephyr And I (which includes dreamy backing vocals from KT Tunstall) and Angel's Doorway (which sees Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo providing some guitar riffs).

I will admit that it's nothing particularly new, but then Suzanne Vega has no need to change. Always a class act, this album is no different.

The literate lyrics are as punchy and relevant as ever and most of all the feeling as a listener is one of realising just how pleased you are she is back and the realisation that we've been missing something for the past six years. Here's hoping we don't have to wait that long for the next one.
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Format: Audio CD
Suzanne Vega returns with a relatively short album, more often than not inspired by New York City, her home town.

Now, it is a short album, but this is certainly no snack. It's a dense affair, for want of a better word, and a demanding listening experience.

Highlights: Opener 'Zephyr & I' is a great track, one that sounds a bit 'off' in just the right way. 'Ludlow Street', a very emotional song, is perhaps the best track on the album. You don't have to be on Ludlow Street to be touched, although it helps. 'A Pornographer's Dream' and 'Frank and Ava' are two very different tracks, the first a slow beautiful ballad, the second an appropriately up-tempo account of the stormy love life of Frank (Sinatra) and Ava (Gardner). 'Anniversary', the last track nicely rounds up the package.

As for the rest it's all very good, with perhaps only 'Unbound' taking a back seat compared to the rest of the material. A very strong and mature album, one of Suzanne Vega's best and one of my favourite releases of 2007.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Morten Vindberg on 8 July 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's been about six years since Suzanne Vega released her last (underrrated) album "Songs in Red and Grey". Now she has recorded and released 11 fine new songs. In the meantime we've experienced 9/11 and Suzanne has lost her younger brother Tim; two events which play a role on "Beauty and Crime", which has New York as some kind of overall theme in the lyrics.

She has changed label to Blue Note (EMI) and has a new producer Jimmy Hogarth. Still musically it's mostly her well-known approach based on her acoustic guitar and arrangements that have a great diversity in style and instrumentation.

On this album I generally find the songs with the acoustic guitar as the dominating instrument the most successful. "New York is a Woman", "Edith Wharton's Figurines" and "Anniversary" are all stand-outs, the latter has some extraordinary great harmony vocals - all classic Vega.

Also great are the song for her brother Tim, "Ludlow Street" which has a nice catchy chorus. Amongh the more up-beat songs "Frank and Ava" and "Unbound" should be mentioned; and the erotic lyrics to the bossa-nova styled "Pornographer's Dream" make the song one of the most sophisticated and charming.

As usual it's always a great pleasure to read Vega's clever and observant lyrics, so though the album may not contain immediate "hits" like "Luka", "When Heroes Go Down" or "I'll Never Be Your Maggie May", it's very rewarding listening and an album that can be returned to again and again.
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