7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A very good album from a great singer/songwriter,
This review is from: Tales From The Realm Of The Queen Of Pentacles (Audio CD)
I've been playing this album pretty continuously for a while now. Suzanne Vega's songs are complex, sophisticated pieces; it always takes a good while to get to know them properly so this review may still be slightly premature, but I think I can say confidently that I think this is a very good album. It's classic Vega in many ways: intelligent, allusive lyrics which often tell a story, set to often distinctively quirky tunes and beautifully sung in that haunting, slightly husky voice.
I find the album's title slightly off-putting and wasn't sure what to expect as a result, but in fact the Queen Of Pentacles features in the excellent Fool's Complaint as an archetype of a selfish, self-regarding and self-obsessed modern woman. It's a great, rocking, tuneful track. Others are also upbeat and rhythmically powerful but there's a good variety of moods here: Portrait Of The Knight Of Wands is much more atmospheric and haunting, for example.
Production is generally fairly full but beautifully judged, allowing each song to shine. (I'd be very interested to hear these given the Close Up treatment, by the way - I think they'd probably stand up very well.) It's often not easy to say what a Suzanne Vega song is "about" and that's true here, too, but they are rich in language and allusion and are challenging and thought-provoking in that typically Vega way. I found her re-telling of Jacob And The Angel quite remarkable, and it moves me and makes me think as much as the Epstein statue does - which is really saying something.
This is a fine collection of songs, every one of which stands on its merits; I don't think there's a genuinely weak track on the album, although personally I'm less keen on the opener, Crack In The Wall. (Mind you, over 25 years on I am still embarrassed that I thought Tom's Diner wasn't all that good when I first heard Solitude Standing. It took me quite a while to realise that it's an absolute classic, so what do I know?)
I think this will probably stand as a very good Suzanne Vega album - it may even be among her best. It's certainly very good and does full justice to one of the finest singer/songwriters of the last 30 years. Very warmly recommended.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Feb 2014 17:09:52 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2014 17:10:31 GMT
Mr. D. K. Smith says:
Good review -as ever. If you want to hear these songs stripped down, then try searching the internet for a gig she's just done in Leipzig. It was broadcast on German radio and features most of the new album, along with a mixture of old favourites.
She's backed by Gerry Leonard on guitar and the songs stand up well when performed this way. Well worth tracking down.
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2014 17:14:27 GMT
Sid Nuncius says:
Thanks, Mr Smith - very kind! And I'll certainly try to track that concert down - I appreciate the tip-off!
In reply to an earlier post on 6 Feb 2014 18:58:42 GMT
Thanks for the heads up on the Leipzig gig! Excellent!
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