I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!
I promised to move away from the country and Americana music - but it seems I'm not moving as far away as one might assume. That is mostly due to no good releases in the last month or two that are waiting their turn at this post entry.
I'm pulling from a few years ago - Suzanne Vega and her last original release, Beauty & Crime. Fuck - it is four years old now!
To be fair, I opted not to purchase it at all and waited until I found it at the local liberry. And I waited and waited and waited. It's not like I went out of my way to reserve it, I just looked for it, and if it wasn't there, I left with other disks.
I have had it for the last year, but have not reviewed it.
I like Vega, but she can be hit or miss. Her first two outings were stellar. I still play them often. Her third, Days of Open Hand, to me, is impossible to listen to. 99 F Degrees has moments - and very experimental for her. But the follow-up to that, Nine Objects of Desire, is really her shining moment.
Songs in Red and Grey was spotty. I wasn't sure what to expect of Beauty & Crime.
You'd not be surprised, or wrong, to know it's not a lot different than most of her work (save 99 F Degrees and Nine Objects of Desire). Not different, if you're familiar with her previous work, that is.
Folk and pop mixed together.
Vega has a good voice, a different one that most have only heard on "Luka" and "Tom's Diner". But with those, you know she can turn a phrase and has a way with phrasing in itself. That is the beauty of her disks. No one does it quite like her.
Beauty & Crime is a mix of all her disks. There is the fair - that she's done before ("Anniversary", "As You Are Now", "Edith Wharton's Figurine").
Even what I consider the best song on the disk, "Pornographer's Dream" sounds like music she's done before, but it goes back to her words and phrasing that really lock it in as a great song. Just asking the question of what kind of a dream a pornographer, of all people, would have is kind of brilliant in my book. And I'm taken in by her singing "out of his hand, over his head, out of his reach, under his real life.....dreaming of what might be". It's just great. No one ever writes songs about pornographers.
There is some slightly new stuff too: the beginning of "New York is a Woman", but it sinks into same terrain that she's used to - that we're used to. "Unbound" has some Nine of Object of Desire vibe. This is a good thing. She should do so much more with this. "Bound" is very new for her. I like the instrumentation and the strings.
For g-d's sake, "Frank & Ava" is downright upbeat. I like it. It had limited radio appeal for a nano-second, but Vega's time on radio was 1987-88. That was it.
Beauty & Crime is a more than decent album. You have to be in the right mood - but isn't that true of all music? That said - I'm still glad I got it at the liberry as opposed to purchasing it. At least check it out - literally.