Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Beauty & Crime
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock
On Beauty & Crime, Suzanne Vega's Blue Note Records debut, the Manhattan native uses New York City as the backdrop for a collection of eleven new songs that juxtapose acoustic guitar-driven melodies with coolly synthesized... more »
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On Beauty & Crime, Suzanne Vega's Blue Note Records debut, the Manhattan native uses New York City as the backdrop for a collection of eleven new songs that juxtapose acoustic guitar-driven melodies with coolly synthesized beats; intensely personal lyrics with compelling, short story-like narratives; images of today's scarred cityscape with memories of Vega's old Upper West Side 'hood and Lower East Side haunts. The past commingles with the present, the public with the private, familiar sounds with the utterly new, just like the city itself. Making her first new studio album in six years, Vega says, "I feel like I really stretched my limits. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone--to sing in keys I wouldn't have sung in before, to work with different textures, to be unafraid of doing what ever sounded good to me. I wanted to make a modern classic." Suzanne Vega Photos
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Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 08/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Suzanne Vega may be an acquired taste but after you've taken a drink of her latest album, you'll find it both intoxicating and difficult to give up. Admittedly there are those who dislike her hushed vocal delivery (which sounds at times like a female Lou Reed with echoes of Bob Dylan/Leonard Cohen where she isn't trying to "sing" the material so much as "discuss" her observations). I love Vega's delivery so sue me. She's a literate songwriter whose lyrics provide a nice constrast to the music which veers from folk, jazz, elements of techno sometimes within the same song.
"Beauty and Crime" is one of her best albums musically. This concept album about her adopted home New York is a loving and sometimes blunt assessment of the city that surrounds her and has been her muse off and on over the past twenty years. Vega has often taken stylistic detours sometimes off the beaten path like her flirtation with the techno elements that decorated "99.9f" and the smooth samba beat that showed up on "Nine Objects of Desire". Unlike those two albums the production of Jimmy Hogarth is less distracting and self-conscious than those two albums allowing the quality of the songs to shine through. For those that are interested the Japanese release has one extra song that comes in at just under two minutes. It's a good song but you won't miss it (unlike "Golden" from "Songs of Red and Gray) if you purchase the U.S. release of the album.
"Zephyr & I" and "Ludlow Street" have some of the most inviting melodies/arrangements since Vega's breakthrough album. "New York is a Woman" uses a pretty plain metaphor to describe a visitors first visit to the Big Apple. Vega's presentation is pretty straight forward folk outside of the occasional use of horns to decorate the song. "Poronographer's Dream" has an inviting beat and arrangement that echoes nightclub jazz. "Frank & Ava" and the lilting "Bound" are two other highlights. "Unbound" features the type of arrangements that were characteristic of "99.9F" but they are less obtrusive here,
As much as I have enjoyed all of her albums, "Beauty and Crime" is probably one of her most consistent, inviting and musically rich since her first two albums. "Days of Open Hand" was good but didn't extend much beyond "Solitude Standing". "99.9F" played with her sound providing her songs a great diving board to leap off into varied and different musical terrain. That continued on the stylistically diverse and often beautiful "Nine Objects of Desire" and "Songs in Red and Gray". "Beauty & Crime" brings all of this together but, more importantly, does so with the strongest batch of material she has written to date.
For those fans that are interested Vega's website also has a live album recorded for the "Songs in Red and Gray" tour available. It's also available for download from Itunes.
If you disagree, write a review. Remember, these reviews are designed to help people who DON'T have the album decide if they would like to get it NOT if you AGREE OR DISAGREE with the review.
Retrospective: The Best of Suzanne VegaSolitude Standing
Nine Objects of Desire
She's Like A Fine Wine, She Gets Better With Age
K. Palmer | Illinois | 07/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I picked up Suzanne Vega's seventh studio release "Beauty & Crime", I did what a lot of people do these days - I ripped MP3 files for my computer. When I saw that the total time of the songs was only 34 minutes, I was a little disappointed because I have waited 6 years for her follow-up to the terrific "Songs in Red and Gray". But then I played the songs. Wow! The lady still has the magic. Although the songs are pretty short (only one exceeds 4 minutes and I actually think that song - "Bound" - drags on a little too long), they pack a punch. Personal favorites are "Edith Wharton's Figurines", "Unbound" and the one everyone seems to like, "New York is a Woman", which is about a suburban man's first trip to New York City. As a suburban man who will soon take his first trip to New York, I feel like Suzanne just gave me a tour!
I thought the CD was great and I hope she sees enough success with it that we'll hear from her again, hopefully sooner than 6 years from now. I'm looking forward to seeing her for the first time live later this year.
Outstanding Tribute to New York City
lb136 | New York, NY USA | 10/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw Suzanne Vega live back in the day, at the time of the release of her self-titled first album (she opened for Janis Ian), and I've had many meals sitting at the counter in the diner on the corner. And over the two decades she's proven to be one of our finest singer-songwriters.
This tribute to her native city just might be her best effort. My favorite tracks are "Zephyr," "Frank and Ava" (both with backing vocals by KT Tunstall), "Anniversary," which closes the album. And then there's the amazing "New York Is a Woman," which just might be the best song she's ever written.
Don't pass this one by."