Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vega & May

In high school, i would imagine New York City through television, magazines, books & movies like everyone does. It happened to be the middle of the 1980s, a time when that city was in a trough economically, at a peak artistically and in the grip of a plague that would take out much of the core of the milieu by the end of the decade.
Suzanne Vega started making waves with her first album and continues to find a wide audience and score hits. This song, though, is a smaller one of hers, from an album released in September 2001. She tells a funny story about the inspiration for the song, making some light of it, but the craft she brings to it is exacting and bittersweet.

Her first album in 1985 was for me like Carole King's Tapestry was twenty years before it. Music to evoke the island of New York; Manhattan in cross stitch and iron works, pin pricks and cups of coffee, a home full of both angst and small miracles.
She has her own key, like Lou Reed in his radio days, and reminds me that New York City has such a long a rich folk tradition both contemporary and old, ageless and ancient, always blooming but sometimes cut.

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