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Suzanne Vega - Close-Up Vol 1, Love Songs

Suzanne Vega, Closu-Up Volume 1, Love Songs

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

SUZANNE Vega is a name synonymous with the hit single, Tom’s Diner. She also boasts one of the most plaintive and disarming voices in the industry and has a wealth of hits to her name.

Since the release of her stunning self-titled debut album in 1985, she has enjoyed seven million album sales and continues to provide inspiration for countless artists and remixers (just see how many times Tom’s Diner has been revisited and remixed).

Now, though, she’s decided to reinterpret a majority of her back catalogue in an intimate and personal way, creating four thematic albums that will be released over the next two years. First up is Suzanne Vega Close-Up, Vol 1, Love Songs, which is comprised of stripped down versions of many of her most influential songs.

It’s essentially Vega’s distinct, serene vocals accompanied by an acoustic guitar, to provide her folky songs with the backdrop they deserve to showcase her vocal skills and lyrical work.

Crucially, Tom’s Diner is not among them… and that may disappoint some listeners.

But fans – and even newcomers – should lap up the remainder of what is. Another seminal hit (and all-time catchy number) is Marlene On The Wall, which is brilliantly delivered as warmly and vibrantly as it was when you first heard it.

But equally beguiling and enchanting in equal measure are acoustic versions of her bossa nova favourite, Caramel and soul-searching, borderline melancholy versions of Bound (a real soul-searcher of a song) and Song In Red And Grey.

Her imagination for wrapping songs in imaginative vocal and musical arrangements is also evident on the playful (If You Were) In My Movie, while there’s a loveliness surrounding the bittersweet romanticism of songs like (I’ll Never Be Your) Maggie May and Stockings.

Most striking, however, is the power of the vocals… which often assume an almost a capella form to really provide the songs with their heartfelt passion and soul. If there were ever any doubt, Vega is a mesmerising performer – and this intimate collection of songs is another album to be cherished.

Download picks: Small Blue Thing, Caramel, (If You Were) In My Movie, Marlene On The Wall, (I’ll Never Be Your) Maggie May, Stockings, Bound

Track listing:

  1. Small Blue Thing
  2. Caramel
  3. If You Were In My Movie
  4. Gypsy
  5. Marlene On The Wall
  6. I’ll Never Be Your Maggie May
  7. Harbor Song
  8. Headshots
  9. Song In Red And Grey
  10. Stockings
  11. Some Journey
  12. Bound