Record of the day: Suzanne Vega, "Suzanne Vega"

Record of the day: Suzanne Vega, “Suzanne Vega”

Suzanne Vega
Suzanne Vega (CD A&M 395072-2)

With this debut album in 1985 Suzanne Vega was hailed by critics and the public as one of the most authoritative female voices to appear on the music scene after Joni Mitchell. A challenging comparison, which however the young singer-songwriter (born in California but moved to New York) managed to withstand thanks to a range of beautiful songs, of uncommon quality in a debut album. No song of inferior level, rich and refined music is accompanied by intense lyrics that tell of loneliness and mental dissociation, of broken myths and desperation always seen with an eye devoid of rhetoric, where an often ruthlessly rational vision of the world alternates with atmospheres of tender fragility.

The lost and seemingly submissive figurine of “Small Blue Thing” is perhaps the same person who wanders alone through the city without remembering where she went in “Cracking”, the rebel soldier of “The Queen and the Soldier” who faces the Queen for whom he fights and is cruelly deceived and killed, seeing his illusions of a peaceful life destroyed, he is the brother of the one who “fights things he cannot see” under the eyes of Dietrich’s poster in “Marlene on the Wall”. Suzanne’s unspectacular voice accompanies with grace and tenderness this army of wrong, crooked characters, out of place with respect to the society in which they have had to live.

Surrounded by acoustic instrumentation that highlights every detail of her magnificent voice and by essential but warm arrangements supervised by Lenny Kaye (gray eminence of Patti Smith’s group), Suzanne reveals in this work her great talent which will also be confirmed from the subsequent album “Solitude Standing”, equally beautiful and full of ideas.

Subsequently her fame faded a bit, Suzanne also devoted herself to writing verses, carrying out several poetry readings; he never abandoned music, however, and even though subsequent records like “99.9 F°” and “Nine Objects of Desire” had much less of an impact on the charts, the level of his songwriting has always remained very high, moving away significantly from the acoustic models of the first records and (thanks to the collaboration with the producer Mitchell Froom) venturing into terrains more covered in electronics and sampling.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.