THE BARGAIN BUY: Suzanne Vega; Suzanne Vega + Solitude Standing

 |   |  1 min read

Suzanne Vega: Marlene on the Wall
THE BARGAIN BUY: Suzanne Vega; Suzanne Vega + Solitude Standing

Ever wonder what happened to Suzanne Vega who was big in the mid-to-late Eighties with hits like Marlene on the Wall, Tom's Diner and Luka?

Well, she's still out there and still doing it . . . but oddly enough, doing the same thing all over again.

More of that in a minute.

New Yorker Vega was one of the most interesting voices in a kind of new-folk movement and she arrived with considerable credibility after having studied modern dance and English literature, all the while writing poetry and then moving into songs. She had something of the Leonard Cohen about her in terms of serious intent, economy of lyrics and a poetic sensibility.

Her self-titled debut album of '85 -- produced by Lenny Kaye, which did seem an odd pairing -- included her catchy hit Marlene on the Wall (about Dietrich) and she also co-wrote a couple of songs with Philip Glass for his album Songs of Liquid Days in '86.

Her second album Solitute Standing consolidated her reputation and the song Luka (about an abused child) was an unlikely hit, in part because of the excellent video.

The album also included her a cappella Tom's Diner (Seinfeld's diner) which was a poetic observational account of a morning and browsing through the paper and just go-nowhere stuff, but hghly engaging nonetheless. There was a longer, insrumental reprise as the closing track which effectively bookended the album.

Vega's subjects were literary and personal, but in subsequent decades her albums only reached the lower regions of the charts -- although she was busy in theatre, making guest appearances on other people's albums, working in radio and on a number of personal projects including divorcing and remarrying.

Whch brings us to what she is up to today. Much the same.

In fact in 2010 she began to re-record her songs and put them out on themed albums under the collective title Close-Up (so far love, people and places, states of being and family).

JB_HZ_CHEAP_longBut for most people those first two albums contain the essence of the Suzane Vega they know, and so it is a pleasant surprise to find them on a double disc at just $10 in JB Hi-Fi stores here.

And that, even though she might not like the production, makes this our Bargain Buy for this week. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   The Bargain Buy articles index

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Kinks; Icon Series, The Kinks (Universal)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Kinks; Icon Series, The Kinks (Universal)

Some years ago I bought a 10-CD Japanese box set of the Kinks, all their albums on the Pye label. It was cheap at the time and while I didn't regret it (How could I? It included Something Else,... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Fargo, The Complete First Season (DVD)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Fargo, The Complete First Season (DVD)

Just as the television series Fargo -- based on the Coen brothers much acclaimed mid-Nineties film of the same name -- started screening in New Zealand, a well placed television critic went into... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SEB ROCHFORD OF POLAR BEAR INTERVIEWED (2010): Always give a job to a busy man

SEB ROCHFORD OF POLAR BEAR INTERVIEWED (2010): Always give a job to a busy man

For a man who can make a big noise and very often, drummer Seb Rochford of the innovative UK jazz quartet Polar Bear (and many other side-projects) is very quietly spoken. It is 10.30am and... > Read more

10 GOOD ALBUMS IN BAD COVERS: Wash in warm soapy water, dry and play

10 GOOD ALBUMS IN BAD COVERS: Wash in warm soapy water, dry and play

In the course of compiling the on-going series  10 Shameful Record Covers I'm Proud to Own I realised there were many albums in discount bins wrapped in unpromising covers but which were... > Read more