Monday, August 13, 2007

On Repeat: Suzanne Vega's Beauty & Crime

There's this big-screen film reel in my imagination labeled "Suzanne Vega", and it's grown in length dramatically with her new album, Beauty & Crime. When I listen to these songs, it's as if I'm sitting in City Cinemas Village East*. It's pitch black, and virtually empty in the theater, and I'm restless from sitting and fidgeting while waiting for the picture to begin, from unsucccessful attempts to re-center myself through the yogic breathing to which my Type-A parts still haven't quite surrendered.

And, then I sense the projector light building behind me -the little dust particles spinning and transforming into this bright vivid story up on the screen. And I'm swept up into someone else's life. New York's life. As if I'm living that someone else's life, in first person, and see everyone and everything around me vividly, but have no idea what I myself look like. And yet, I'm no longer restless.

I endorse the whole album, though the earlier songs are more indelible than the later ones. In particular, I adore "Frank and Ava", "Pornographer's Dream", "Edith Wharton's Figurine", "Bound", "New York Is a Woman", and "Ludlow Street".

*For the record, I saw one of my favorite movies ever, You Can Count on Me, in the City Cinemas Village East.

Live clip from "New York Is a Woman":

Good article about Suzanne Vega: "She Sings the City Eclectic" NYTimes, July 15, 2007

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