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Close Up, Vol. 1 - Love Songs

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Album Review

The first in a proposed four-volume collection of intimate re-recordings of Suzanne Vega’s catalog, Close Up, Vol. 1 focuses on Vega’s love songs, which means that her two biggest hits, “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner,” are nowhere to be heard. The best-known tune here may be “Marlene on the Wall,” a song from her 1985 debut, which indicates that this is a bit of a crate-digging exercise, reaching deep into various corners from throughout her career. Vega’s new arrangements are anchored on acoustics but not strictly stripped naked: there are other guitars, sometimes electrics, along with traces of bass and percussion, enough to give this some texture and shade but not enough to distract from the songs themselves, all of which are nicely chosen and warmly delivered. There are no radical reinterpretations, only unadorned readings that reveal the sound structure of her readings and her sly, subtle singing.

Biography

Born: 11 July 1959 in Santa Monica, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Suzanne Vega was the first major figure in the bumper crop of female singer/songwriters who rose to prominence during the late '80s and '90s. Her hushed, restrained folk-pop and highly literate lyrics (inspired chiefly by Leonard Cohen, as well as Lou Reed and Bob Dylan) laid the initial musical groundwork for what later became the trademark sound of Lilith Fair (a tour on which she was a regular). Moreover, her left-field hit single "Luka" helped convince record companies that folk-styled singer/songwriters...
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Close Up, Vol. 1 - Love Songs, Suzanne Vega
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