Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday music recommendation #4

I'm sure everyone's heard at least one of Suzanne Vega's songs. "Tom's Diner" is the one most people know (fun fact: it's about Tom's Restaurant in New York, the same diner you see in Seinfeld), though "Caramel," below, is a close second.


Highly literate music like hers appeals to the English major in me, I think (fun fact #2: Suzanne Vega was an English major, too). I like songs that draw you in to another world. Songs that tell interesting stories. And Suzanne's music doesn't rely on vocal embellishments or overly ornamental arrangements to capture your interest. For the most part, her songs are simply structured and straightforward; her voice is clear and distinct, without even vibrato to give it a stylistic flourish. It's incredible how the tiniest inspiration -- like a torn poster hanging from a wall, as in "Headshots" -- can become a fascinating vignette in her hands. Sometimes, listening to her music, I feel like I'm reading a book of short stories instead of listening to an album.

My favorite Suzanne Vega album -- the one I bought on a whim in a used bookstore 4 years ago -- is Nine Objects of Desire (check out "Stockings," "My Favorite Plum," and "Honeymoon Suite" for starters). 99.9F is also a great album (see the three songs below), and I'm liking her latest, Beauty and Crime, so far. I hope she keeps making unique music for many, many years.

"Blood Makes Noise"

In Liverpool

99.9 F

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