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Suzanne Vega’s birthday

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Born July 11, 1959, Suzanne Vega turns 44 today. Happy birthday!

“Luka” was her big hit single, but the whole Solitude Standing album made a big impression on me.

“Ironbound/Fancy Poultry” has hung especially strong with me. There’s some decent poetry in
Kids will grow like weeds on a fence
She says they look for the light they try to make sense.
They come up through the cracks
Like grass on the tracks

It’s the final chorus, though that has haunted me for years. Not so much the words as on the page as the way the way she reaches upward repeatedly for the street vendor’s cries of “nearly free.”
“Fancy poulty parts sold here.
Breasts and thighs and hearts.
Backs are cheap and wings are nearly free.
Nearly free”

Then of course there was the “Tom’s Diner” phenomenon. It seems odd to that such a big deal was made over the short and very simple elliptical acapella lament about a lost love. I liked it well enough, but the famous DNA remix years later became probably a bigger hit even than “Luka” and indeed inspired a whole damned album of covers and parodies.

She’s done some other worthwhile work. The main indispensable song is “Tired of Sleeping.” If I may be so bold, this is even a little better than the Beatles similarly themed “I’m Only Sleeping.”

The best of album looks pretty good, but I’d recommend starting with Solitude Standing. I note that Amazon has used CD copies as cheap as four measly bucks. Is there some good reason why you don’t own a copy?

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  • I’ve been meaning to write something up about the new American Mavericks series Vega is hosting on public radio.

    Solitude Standing is good, but I still like her first album best.

  • my favorite susanne vega song is “Caramel” from Nine Objects Of Desire…smokin’ hot.

  • Eric Olsen

    Her newish collection is great, a review is here

  • Jim OToole

    Solitude Standing is excellent, but the first album is as good, if not better.
    In fact, making a S.Vega ‘best of’ is deciding what to leave out rather than what to include, as there are so many excellent timeless songs, and yes, poetic, intelligent, perceptive and melodious.