Suzanne Vega

Beauty & Crime - Blue Note Records 2007

Tracks: 1. Zephyr & I / 2. Ludlow Street / 3. New York Is A Woman / 4. Pornographer's Dream / 5. Frank & Ava / 6. Edith Wharton's Figurines / 7. Bound / 8. Unbound / 9. As You Are Now / 10. Angel's Doorway / 11. Anniversary


It's been about six years since Suzanne Vega released her last (underrrated) album "Songs in Red and Grey". Now she has recorded and released 11 fine new songs. In the meantime we've experienced 9/11 and Suzanne has lost her younger brother Tim; two events which play a role on "Beauty and Crime", which has New York as some kind of overall theme in the lyrics.

She has changed label to Blue Note (EMI) and has a new producer Jimmy Hogarth. Still musically it's mostly her well-known approach based on her acoustic guitar and arrangements that have a great diversity in style and instrumentation.

On this album I generally find the songs with the acoustic guitar as the dominating instrument the most successful. "New York is a Woman", "Edith Wharton's Figurines" and "Anniversary" are all stand-outs, the latter has some extraordinary great harmony vocals - all classic Vega.

Also great is the song for her brother Tim, "Ludlow Street" which has a nice catchy chorus. Amongh the more up-beat songs "Frank and Ava" and "Unbound" should be mentioned; and the erotic lyrics to the bossa-nova styled "Pornographer's Dream" make the song one of the most sophisticated and charming.

As usual it's always a great pleasure to read Vega's clever and observant lyrics, so though the album may not contain immediate "hits" like "Luka", "When Heroes Go Down" or "I'll Never Be Your Maggie May", it's very rewarding listening and an album that can be returned to again and again.

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