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4.6 out of 5 stars
18
4.6 out of 5 stars


on 4 May 2004
I have loved Suzanne Vega ever since I was a kid and saw a video for "Luka" on TV. There was something about this porcelain-skinned girl with her pensive eyes and understated voice that caught my attention, even though I was just twelve years old and couldn't speak a word of English. So "Solitude Standing" became the first LP I ever owned, and since then her music has followed me throughout the years.
Her new album, "Songs in Red and Gray" somehow marks a return to the music that first got me listening to her - not that she ever really departed from the folk-tinged but still distinctly urban singer-songwriter material. And hey, this is Suzanne Vega we're talking about, so of course the lyrics play a big part. They deal mostly with the break-up of her marriage - apparently, she stayed at home for a year and just wrote, finally surfacing in the small Green Village clubs where she started out once upon a time, and tried the songs out on her old mates. "If I Were A Weapon" is a great example of stringent song-writing, where she demonstrates how to use a metaphor without coming over all Dido-esque (sorry, Dido is my pet peeve) and who else could devote a whole song to playing solitaire on the computer?
The thing I like so much about Suzanne is that she can get results with small means - she never sounds overblown or melodramatic, and still her songs possess great emotion. It's her warm voice coupled with a cool detached eye that does it: just listen to the quietly perceptive "Last Years' Troubles" or the evocative "Widow's Walk" and you'll see what I mean.
One tip to her fans: do catch her live if you have the chance. I am always a bit wary of concerts, since I'm afraid of being disappointed. (Rickie Lee Jones, for instance, is wonderful on vinyl but the sourest pill EVER on stage.) But Suzanne has a great warmth and generosity about her that translates even into an audience of 200+.
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on 15 October 2001
This album opens with Penitent,a beautiful and winsome song.This is a good indicator of the tone and mood of this collection of simple and introspective songs.There are wry and insightful lyrics about the small everyday things of life.
I havent always liked Suzanne Vega although I bought her original album which was amazing but I would heartily recommend this to both old fans and new as it is an album to listen to over and over again.
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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2005
Never has a failed relationship been dissected and analysed at such a level and in such a brilliant fashion as on this masterpiece by Vega. Quietly, yet cuttingly, she strips away the easy answers and trite arguments that hide the pain and anxiety of loss and in their place formulates a fiercely petulant, but sympathetic response to the damage done to the ego and those around her. It is Vega stripped bare. It can be wincingly painful to listen to at times, but also sharply funny as in "I'll Never be Your Maggie May." Unfortunately overlooked since its release, this work is a triumph of songwriting and performance.
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on 30 December 2002
Since her eponymous debut album in 1985 Suzanne Vega has developed her unique talent with a succession of excellent albums.
'Songs in Red and Gray' is Suzanne's first album since 'Nine Objects of Desire' in 1996 and represents something of a return to her roots and her strengths. Gone is the playful experimentation of Nine Objects, replaced with a more restrained and subtle production from Rupert Hine and a new sense of emotion from Suzanne's vocal performance.
The theme and tone of this album was effectively set by the unfortunate break up of Suzanne's marriage. It is a tribute to her talent and resilience that she has been able to create such superb music from such personal heartache.
Typically, Suzanne eschews playing the blame game over her personal problems and instead deconstructs her feelings and lays them bare in her songs. The quality of the lyrics is outstanding throughout and the songs 'Penitent' and '(I'll Never Be) Your Maggie May' are the equal of anything she has ever created before.
If you are already a fan then there is no doubt that you will enjoy this album. If you particularly enjoy Suzanne's acoustic guitar-driven songs with astute lyrical observations then it is pure heaven!
Thank you Suzanne for over 15 years of listening pleasure!
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on 26 September 2001
Suzanne Vega emerged onto the music scene in 1985 with her stunning debut album. She has since inspired the current generation of Sheryl's and Alanis's, but while they have now gone down the predictable 'Rock Chick' road Suzanne Vega remains as true as ever to her art.
Songs In Red and Gray in a truly remarkable CD which contains some incredibly beautiful and enjoyable songs. Suzanne's enviable lyric writing talent again come to the fore, with lines that would not be out of place in a collection of poetry.
Songs such as 'Widow's Walk' and 'Soap and Water' deal with the aftermath of a failed marriage, in a highly orignal and deeply moving way - with lines such as 'heal the cut we call husband and wife' avoiding all of the usual cliches.
'If I Were A Weapon' and 'Last Year's Troubles' demonstrate her ability to make gutsy and meaningful pop music, with catchy choruses paired with some killer lyrics. Critics often over-look the toughness in Suzanne's work and here she again proves that she is no wimp!
A favourite track off the album is 'I'll Never Be Your Maggie May'which could be seen as a reply to the Rod Stewart song. With an instantly memorable melody and lovely production, this song will stay in your head for days!
So I would recommend this CD to anyone who craves intelligent pop music. It has great lyrics, catchy tunes and proves that Suzanne Vega remains one of the most original song-writers around.
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on 16 April 2006
I bought my first Vega album many years ago in error confusing her with Kirsty MacColl. Im glad I did.

Her music is unlike anything else Ive ever heard not thats in a genre of its own because its not, its just the passion and honesty with which she sings her tales.

Each song isnt just a rehash of the previous one, each and every one is a genuine heartfelt plea - they force you to sit up and take note.

Her best yet
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on 7 November 2012
Since Solitude Standing, I have not been terribly at home with Suzanne Vega LPs that followed. However, this all changed with Songs In Red and Grey.

I was sat in a London Coffee shop one rainy Monday morning waiting to attend an interview. Suddenly "I'll never be your Maggie May" drifted out of the speakers and I was reunited. Without doubt, this recording is only 2nd to Luka. This LP is excellent.
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on 16 July 2010
Returning to her best lyrics, melodies and arrangements, she gives us both sad and gutsy songs describing the breakup of her marriage. I don't know, but I would guess that these are written from the heart and that probably she shed a few tears as well. A beautiful CD by a beautiful woman.
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on 28 February 2014
The CD I ordered arrived OK, but it was an "On Demand CD' and the printing of the artwork was very poor.
This was never advertised as an on demand CD (the manufacturer prints the inlay card themselves).
Poor for £13.00.
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on 18 February 2009
another masterpiece from the genius which is Suzanne Vega,from her early days with the brilliant 'Marlene on the wall'..and Luka to this new masterpiece of songwriting and tunes....The stand out track being the Maggy may song.....sheer brilliance but then woodnt expect anything less than that from her....

a must cd for anybodys collection and more so if your a big suzanne vega fan!!!

cannot wait until her next cd....
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