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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Suzanne Vega

Suzanne Vega

1985

Wikipedia

Suzanne Vega

Rating

2.96

Votes

3305

Reviews

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2

i love luka and tom’s diner but this gives me strong....horse girl meets lilith fair vibes. i want to give it two stars cuz it makes me uncomfortable but i’m not the audience so i’m going 3. actually fuck it it’s my list i’m giving it 2

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5

Nice voice, catchy songs that are distinct enough from each other (eg Marlene on the Wall vs. The Queen and the Soldier) that you don’t tire of the album. Very NYC (Greenwich Village) folk sound. Lyrics are at another level. Like a female Leonard Cohen who can sing. An outstanding debut album.

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1

Childish lyrics, boring instrumentation, not a fan.

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5

Absolutely amazing! Beautiful, poetic lyrics and lovely guitars. Perfect fall album. Favorite tracks: Cracking, Small Blue Thing, The Queen and the Soldier, Knight Moves

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5

5/5 - kinda like James Taylor; Marlene is a standout

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3

Vega has an interesting style that's unique with vibrant lyrics/stories, but the production between the talk-sing style and instrumentation doesn't always allow each track to shine. And, at times, the instrumentation drowns out the intimacy of her lyrics. The back half of the album provides more air for her voice and lyrics to breath especially on 'Some Journey' and 'The Queen and the Soldier'. There's definitely a Simon and Garfunkel / Bob Dylan / Leonard Cohen influence here. Tracks of notes: Marlene on the Wall, Undertow, Some Journey, The Queen and the Soldier (the standout).

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3

enya meets bobo dylan

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3

She wrote some very intricate lyrics. Marlene on the Wall is a good example. I like how dynamic the musical shifts are in the lyrics in that song. The notes she sings are flying all around and it really works. Also, she's quite the story teller. The Queen and the Soldier is a good example. There are some neat things here instrumentally. The whacked out violin solo on Some Journey is quite good as is the jamming on Neighbour Girls although the guitars are mixed far in the background. Perhaps they were worried about what the neighbours would say.

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5

Beautiful melodies

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5

I listened to her music during my college days in the late 80s and enjoyed it. I didn't keep up with her after that, and haven't listened to her in a very long time. Re-hearing this album now, I'm admittedly a little surprised to find myself still quite drawn in. Her voice is ethereal and her songwriting is exquisite. Some beautiful work here.

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5

Love this… ethereal folk with lyrics on real life feminism. Can’t beat Vega!

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5

This grew on me a lot after the first impression being a bit proto rap spoken word waft.

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5

Really nice voice with good melodies

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4

more of a strong 7

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4

3.5

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4

Pre-Lilith fair vibes

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4

Soft voice, with soft lines and accompanying tunes

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4

Nice barebones folk album, great mix and sound

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4

I really enjoyed this, was expecting something like Joni Mitchell, much closer to Cohen and like an acoustic-only Tigermilk, really short but satisfying "Marlene on the Wall" was the best track but a lot of cool storytelling here!

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4

The artistry of her poetry is magnificent. It transcends its pretensions, and it perfectly suited to the folk rock backing.

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4

Really liking her voice!

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4

Well, never thought I'd enjoy such a folk-pop/rock album as I enjoyed this one. It's got repeat value.

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4

Tres belle voix, lignes de basses smooth et envoûtantes Coups de coeur Marlene on the Wall et Knight Moves

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4

Tres bon, auteure compositrice interprete. Me fait penser a joni mitchell parfois. Je reecoute. 4.5

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4

Guitarra y voz. Canciones melancólicas.

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4

Yllättävän nykyaikaiselta kuulostavaa kamaa. En olisi arvannut levyn olevan vanhempi kuin minä itse! Olisi mennyt läpi ihan tuoreenakin teoksena.

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4

Hyvää settiä. Tiesin vaan joskus englanninkirjassa olleen Tom's Dinerin, ja sen perusteella odotin vähän erilaista kamaa. Positiivinen yllätys!

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4

Hyvää nainen ja kitara meinikiä. Tätä kuuntelee mielellään! Kolme ja puoli pyöristettäköön tällä kertaa neloseksi.

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4

Weird but good. Twin peaks referent

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4

Like it - well constructed songs, good voice and band

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4

Surprisingly good album with great story telling

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4

Not bad - reminded me of Paul Simon, lyrically interesting, musically subtle - Nice.

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4

Super easy listening, solid album.

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4

It's good, worth a listen

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4

Ah, así que esto es lo que escuchó Mitski para dedicarse a la música. Agradecido con el de arriba.

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4

Somehow it's very 80s, yet still mellow. The first tracks were almost uncomfortable to listen to for this reason. But it's so good! Faves: Marlene On The Wall, Small Blue Thing, Undertow

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4

Aangename luistermuziek, maar ook niet meer dan dat

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4

Good album with a bunch of hits!

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4

The music sounded great. 0RS

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4

First of all, this album does not sound or feel like it was made in 1985. Second of all, the mid-90s success of female singer/songwriters owe a TON to this woman. Shawn Colvin, Natalie Merchant, Indigo Girls, Aimee Mann, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, and even Sinead O'Connor. I hear Suzanne Vega in all of them. I like the songs where the acoustic guitar takes the lead more than some of the other synthesizer sounds. I love cracking, small blue thing, and undertow in particular for the guitar parts and for how intimate the lyrics feel. It might not be in my list of favorite female singer/songwriter albums of all time but it’s certainly responsible for them so 4 stars seems appropriate.

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4

I am not at all familiar with Suzanne Vega, but I could instantly tell how much she paved the way for the singer-songwriters and alt folk of the 90s. I'm amazed that this came out in 1985. Vega won me over with her sometimes slightly off-kilter style paired with interesting guitar picking and arrangements. Lyrically interesting as well. Again, her influence on the entire Lilith generation is very clear. On her self-titled debut, "Cracking," "Small Blue Thing," and "Undertow" stand out. I wanted to know why I didn't know any Suzanne Vega, so I looked deeper and found that "Tom's Diner" was her most famous song. So I listened to that from her second album. I said "I know this song! But not this way??" The remixed version with DNA, which I discovered was the version I knew well, is so much better. The second song from her sophomore effort, "Luka," also sounded super familiar, but I don't know that song? It must really remind me of some similar song? @hell-yeah - No idea how this puts a person to sleep any more than "Five Leaves Left."

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4

Great album. Amazing guitar & voice register from Suzanne

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4

A solid, warm album of great songwriting detail. Now, I have only heard the album once, and with such an album, where the subtleties are the point, I believe one listen probably isn't sufficient for a full assessment and appreciation. As such, my current take is tentative and provisional. I may in future consider this a 5-starrer, but I may equally retain it at 4 stars.

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4

i actually like her strums

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4

I think the only Vega I've ever heard before is 'Tom's Diner' so this was a great chance to broaden my horizons a bit. Musically straightforward but remains gripping through a combination of perfectly-pitched vocals and hynotic, poetic lyrics. 'The Queen and The Soldier' was the album highlight for me.

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4

I love how stripped down a lot of this is. I've never listened to Suzanne Vega before but I am interested in digging deeper. Favorites: Marlene on the Wall, The Queen and the Soldier, Neighborhood Girls

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4

I recall this album sounding revolutionary on its release, a very different take on the sound of a singer-songwriter. It got heavy airplay on my radio show, with standout tracks like Small Blue Thing, Undertow, Knight Moves, and the single Marlene on the Wall. This debut still stands atop her catalog, in my opinion. That said, I think the emotional distance of the storytelling dims some of its appeal over the years. Solid tracks, but no longer one which stands up to full listens.

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4

Great album.

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3

some cool songs on this album, pleasant surprise. little more catchy than most singer song writers

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3

Pretty good, has a very 90s feel to it.

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3

Good singer songwriter album

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3

Une autre belle surprise. Je ne connaissais pas. Pour de la pop des années '80, c'est assez bien fait avec beaucoup d'instrumentation. J'y vois un petit côté Alanis Morissette ou Joan Osbourne.

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3

Very good narative and storytelling not really my cup of tea though

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3

Great reminder of the 80s!

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3

This is pleasant enough, but it isn't really my thing. It was clearly influential on a bunch of 90s music, so I think it's reasonable to say that this album was ahead of its time. It just doesn't do it for me. 3/5

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3

This was nice as background music. If I had been in a different mood, it would have definitely hit better.

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3

Miellyttävää, rauhallista poppia. Tykkäsin vaikkei tämä mitään valtavia musiikkielämyksiä tarjoillutkaan.

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3

Sure. It’s a decent album. For 85 it probably would be consider it an above average album.

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3

taylor swift tímida

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3

Straightforward acoustic arrangements.

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3

Escuchado

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3

Some nice songwriting and folkiness. Liked it but didn't love it.

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3

Good one

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3

I like the sound of the album and its minimalism. But the songs don’t have that extra element to push it to a 4 or 5.

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3

Pleasant acoustic stuff. 5/10

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3

Very good. Gonna listen to it again.

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3

3.7 - Pseudo-intellectual singer-songwriter coffeehouse done well. Inflected with Paul Simon influences. Some beautiful moments in the middle, some duds towards the end. Overall, a pretty and introspective album that defied my expectations.

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3

Fome para ser folk

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3

Sama kuin Kate Bushin kohdalla, ainoastaan Tom's diner Suzanne Vegalta aiemmin tuttu. Enkä todellakaan tiennyt, että näin pitkä ura takana. Miellyttävää kuunneltavaa, kyllä tää uppoaa. 3.5/5.

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3

Good, simple singer/songwriter folksy music. It never wowed me but it's a nice listen

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3

Miellyttävää rauhallista folkkispoppista. Hyvin pelkistettyä, mutta tällainen laulaja/lauluntekijä ja kitara -musiikki on yleensä kolahtanut hyvin. Miellyttävä pehmeä lauluääni.

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3

.

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3

Do the first moments of this album suck or are they amazing? I think the vocal style is intentionally sloppy/conversational. This is post Carly Simon proto Fiona Apple. This album is filled with instrumental sounds—bass effect, acoustic electric guitar sound—that I hate, coffee shop core, but for some reason I don’t mind it on this album. She’s doing interesting things with rhyme scheme, cadence and delivery. It’s good/bad, I love/hate it. I’m not sure. She’s laying the tracks fir something good.

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3

In a different frame of mind I could find it easy to roast this album, but today it sounds pretty fresh. The talk-sing is endearing. The lyrics are engaging (although some of the knight-queen story was a bit cheesy). I love the production - the crystal clear guitar, the voice in front of the mix, the tasty synth flourishes. Strong 80s sound. Some really pretty moments. I enjoyed the thought exercise of doing a quick mental inventory of people I know that are likely to be closet Suzanne Vega fans. They're all introverted women that want more out of life than the present provides. Not necessarily in a depressive sense, but hopeful and striving. I think that sums up the feeling of this album. B+

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3

An enjoyable, competent album. Background music, doesn't belong on this list like so many others.

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3

Not bad, quite nice folksy singer songwriter stuff. I’d probably listen to one or two tracks again

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3

The speak-singing really threw me for a loop at the beginning of this record and I'm not sure if I ever recovered. The lyrics are personal and fairly compelling, but there wasn't a lot that drew me in. Nothing particularly bad, either. It just didn't really resonate for me. Rating: 2.5/5 Favourite tracks: "Freeze Tag", "Marlene On the Wall", "Knight Moves"

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3

I really enjoyed the intimate lyrics and guitar stylings of Vega, but some of the production decisions and, as Nick noted, the sing/speak start to the record was off-putting. I'll remember a few of the tracks from this record, but the record as a whole was only okay. 2.5/5 Fav tracks: Knight Moves and Marlene on the Wall

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3

Highlight: Knight Moves In Conclusione: Conoscevo già questo album perché sono un po' fan di Suzanne Vega, ma l'avrò sentito un paio di volte. Conoscendo lei sento comunque già la sua connotazione stilistica e le basi per l'evoluzione che poi avrà in futuro. Questo disco è chiaramente molto influenzato dal sound anni '80 e secondo me ha influenzato parecchia gente già da subito, tipo Edie Brickell. Certo il sound anni '80 rende i pezzi a tratti un po' kitsch. I testi pure sono un po' hit and miss ma pure lì si vede l'embrione di come evolverà il suo modo di scrivere testi che a me è sempre piaciuto. Lo penalizzo giusto per il sound e il fatto che è ancora un po' una Suzanne Vega grezza.

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3

sounds nice

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3

Suzanne Vega has a very nice voice and it shines on this album.

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3

It was enjoyable but probably wouldn’t listen again.

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3

Loved the guitar. She was meh.

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3

nice for in the background

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3

Suzanne has a great voice and lyrics, but the music was a bit bland

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3

Ho percepito Suzanne Vega come un'artista dall'anima profonda e poeta. I suoi testi rispecchino una femminilità di altri tempi, romantica, innamorata e depressa. Ma.. (perché c'è sempre un "ma") .. Nonostante i soli 35 minuti, non sono riuscito a concederle un secondo ascolto a causa di un'eccessiva logorrea. Nonostante inizialmente i testi mi abbiano colpito, entro la fine dell'album volevo tagliarmi le vene. Il mio giudizio sì riassumerebbe in: "per carità è brava, però du palle!" Voto: 3

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3

Pleasant, lovely guitar playing.

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3

It was alright.

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3

ok but I prefer her work with Philip Glass.

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3

I like the musical style. This is another album that I was very surprised to learn came out in the mid 80's. This probably wouldn't make it into regular rotation for me because the singing style isn't great for me, but feels like a precursor to folks like Sarah McLachlan. Feels like a good 3 star effort.

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3

Die zonder de hits

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3

Good debut album. Great acoustic folk sound.

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3

Quite pleasant with nothing too offensive, but nothing overly exciting either. Marlene is a nice song though. A respectable debut album.

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3

Never a big follower, I perceive the high level of Art Attitude toned down in later work, to the benefit of accessibility I think. I liked it, wouldn't necessarily seek it out.

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3

meh.

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3

The Queen and the Solider and Marlene on the Wall are standout tracks, didn't much enjoy the rest.

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3

Boy did they pick the wrong Suzanne Vega album for this list. They couldn't have picked the one with "Tom's Diner" and the song about child abuse (Luka) instead? That's where Vega truly shines. This one's alright, but she mainly comes across as a stifled Lou Reed wannabe. Overall it's nice to listen to, and a short listen at that. Interesting that I loved the Suzanne Vega song from her 5th album that Spotify played after this album ended more than any song on this, her debut album.

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3

Charming, good voice, nice songs. Just not really my thing, maybe? It didn't draw me in.

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3

Quite a nice little debut album. A bit on the boring side though.

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3

not bad!

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3

Marlene On the Wall gefällt mir ganz gut, wie mir auch insgesamt die Performance von ihr ganz gut gefällt. Insgesamt finde ich das Album aber eher durchwachsen bis schwach, gerade zum Ende.

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3

e kunt maar een beperkte hoeveelheid Vega hebben

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3

First listen, other than the singles. It was okay.

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3

Really nice. Like to hear more of it.

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3

Not bad, would give it 3.5 if I could

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3

Since I already knew and liked a couple of songs by Suzanne Vega, this album was rather disappointing. It has some pretty good tracks like Marlene On The Wall and The Queen And The Soldier. But most of it is rather boring.

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3

This was fine, not bad. I did not take much away from this, however.

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3

Inoffensive pop-country stuff, totally acoustic. Folky but not overly Bob Dylan-ish, so it didn't make me want to open fire in a shopping centre. So it's got that going for it. 3/5.

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3

Pleasant enough, but not much more than moderately interesting. She sings too precisely and almost talks on a few cuts. The arty guitar ‘80s vintage (“Straight Lines,” Undertow”) is probably the highlight. To be appreciated more than excited by.

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3

mum come pick me up she’s making me sad.

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3

Suzanne Vega/Suzanne Vega = Suzanne Vega = 1

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3

Nice voice, nice sings

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2

Igav

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2

Prima singer songwriter maar niet echt mijn ding

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2

it felt like a wannabe joni mitchell

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2

Acústico gostosinho; canta falando.. isso cansa

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2

Perfectly okay. Nothing stood out really. Didn't offend but probably wouldn't bother listening again.

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2

Was ok, couple of songs I enjoyed but the rest were mostly a bit dull

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2

Not offensive but a bit too bland to have a significant opinion either way about it. Collectively summed up as 'meh'. 2*

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2

Nothing here that offends the ears but equally nothing of interest to me - all forgettable stuff

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2

Some ok songs, mostly boring

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2

Starts really badly, improves as it goes on and actually really quite enjoyable in parts.

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2

Rather forgettable.

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2

Start really badly, improves as it goes on and actually really quite enjoyable in parts.

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2

Nothing special, nice straightforward singer songwriter acoustic folky album but Suzanne Vega has better stuff than this. The only song I knew before listening was Marlene On The Wall and a couple of minutes after rifling through this set that hasn’t changed.

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2

Spoken word poetry with music really, wouldn’t be my thing usually ngl

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2

Sono combattuto, la sua voce mi piace ed anche il modo di cantare, l'arrangiamento è anni 80 ma mantiene una sua dignità stilistica anche se non mi fa impazzire. Però non credo che riascolterò questo disco così come me lo dimenticherò in fretta.

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2

Ok album, did not grab me.

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2

Interesting songwriting, not my thing.

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2

Hmmm, not for me

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2

I mean, it's not bad, right? But it sure as hell isn't good. The vocals are ho-hum, the songwriting is faux-deep, and the whole thing suffers deeply from that horrible 80s studio production that leaves every instrument feeling plastic and synthetic. Acoustic guitars really shouldn't need that much processing.

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2

Very very forgettable

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2

Really sorry about your brother, Suzanne. Honestly, I love pop-tarts and everyone knows that they're only good if you heat them up. I'm pretty sure that Vincent chose the cinnamon and brown sugar Pop-Tarts. Not all Pop-Tarts are created equal. It would've sucked to die waiting for a strawberry Pop-Tart to exit the toaster before being shot by Butch. Anyhow, I really like your voice, but the music is pretty boring.

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2

Folkowy pop czy popowy folk, oto jest pytanie, jest to debiutancki material pani Vega, ktora kojarze jedynie z jednego kawalka, to jest luka swego czasu mocno radiowo grany kawalek, eponimowy albumik ma calkiem podobny vibe do hitowego utworu, wiec kompozycje pisane na akustyka na ktorym gra na wszystkich 10 trakach pani Suzanne, do tego elementy elektryka, basik i okazjonalne wstawki egzotycznych instrumentali jak wiolonczela czy perkusja, na kazdym traku musi byc cos klawiszowego, a klawisze tutaj to synthowe klikacze, co nadaje temu folkowemu materialowi popowatosci, jak widac udalo sie, bo jednak kariere zrobila, chociaz nie tym materialem, bo wiekszosc topowych traczkow pochodzi z pozniejszych albumow, ale jak na debiutancki material to pani vega mocno okreslila sie co ma zamiar tworzyc i byla w tym konsekwentna przez 35 minut trwania plyty, no moze poza ostatnim trakiem, ktory tak mocno wykorzystuje gre muzykow studyjnych, ze przekracza granice folkowatosci i atakuje rokowanie w stylu country, podzielone jest to na 10 trakow co daje typowo popowe dlugosci piosenek, jesli chodzi o kontent liryczny, to autorka tekstow jest oczywiscie pani Vega, jako glowny motyw albumu okreslilbym poszukiwanie samego siebie, tak bym powiedzial lowiac jakies podwojne czy potrojne dna z tych dosc prostych tesktow z jednolitym podzialem chorusowym i krotkimi lamaniami wersow, ostatni folkowy material to byl pan Cohen, moze dlatego tak drazni mnie az tak mocna prostota wykorzystania tekstu, kolejna kwestia jest to ze muzycznie album nie ma do zaoferowania niczego co jakos by zapadlo w pamiec na dluzej, mysle ze kawalkiem ktory najbardziej zapadnie mi w pamiec, to chyba najprostsza kompozycja plyty, otwierajacy cracking czyli song o przechadzce w parku, w swojej prostoscie bardzo obrazowy lirycznie, dlatego tez znajdzie on miejsce dla siebie na plejce folkowo rokowej

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2

Vega's vocals (though odd) are beautiful, though the entire album is weighed down by repetition in its tendency to abuse a 4-8 bar lick/chord progression throughout.

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2

Not my jam, but not bad.

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2

angsty, folky, thoughtful, but not for me - chac'un a son gout!!

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2

I mean, not really.

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2

2,5 how was this important enough to be on this list?

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2

ikke noget specielt

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2

Alright pop album here. Didn’t feel too attached to it. It’s tone was pretty mild and it was consistent through. 4.1/10

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2

meh

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2

blergh. soap opera sound track.

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2

2/5 nothing special

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2

Bit slow, bit depressing. Probably wouldn't listen again

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2

I do not enjoy this and don't intend to finish

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2

Meh

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2

Some reasonable folk I guess, I have no particular desire to revisit it

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2

Rätt bra story telling på en del låtar men överlag ganska tamt. Bra röst!

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2

trök

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2

Was waiting for her to start singing but it just sounded like a conversation about Chess. I liked the poetry but the music just wasn't lively enough for me. Kept thinking about the Queens Gambit on Netflix.

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2

Bit dull

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2

Never heard of Suzanne Vega. Didn't love it.

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2

Why is this album on the list? I have no answers. It is folk music which isn't good, but includes some synthesized music, so classic 80s there. At least it did not venture into country music like some folk music does. Still no reason listen to the album.

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2

There is something grating about Suzanne Vega that other songwriters in this genre dont possess

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2

First, I didn't really listen to the lyrics so this is really a score on the music and sound of her voice. I'm sure I'm missing out in that regard, given how her wiki speaks to her poetic nature. Second, given the historical importance of this album breaking open a market for female singer songwriters, I gave this album an extra star. That said, there was nothing about this album that appealed to me.

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2

Not precisely my cup of tea but listenable

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2

that bulletproof vest though

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1

Zzzzzz. Kill me.

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1

Nope.

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1

Meh.

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I didn't know any of her stuff beyond Luka and the doo doo do doo song, so was curious. Disappointed. Feels like middling 80s stuff. Julianna Hatfield without hooks?

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Honestly was bored af the whole time. Lyrics are kind of cheesy like what I imagine reading a monologue in a check-out isle romance novel is like, but that would probably be more entertaining. The album had stopped playing at some point and I was like, cool, it's over, but turns out I had only listened to FOUR SONGS and Spotify had just died for some reason.

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No.

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sang toms diner

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You know how dream pop type music tends to have some of the best vocalists? Cocteau Twins, The Cranberries, etc. I guess it's unique to approach that sound but be horrible to listen to. If I wanted to hear William Shatner's start-stop delivery of words over music, I could just listen to the songs he made. Most is so dull it bounces right off my ears. When it strays away into straight folky pop it's sickeningly cheesy. That last song at least slightly stands out from the rest, but its bass is bordering on unironically being Seinfeld music. And that album art screams "Graphic design is my passion." Struggled to finish, worst thing yet.

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Didn't enjoy! Not my style, sorry Suzanne Vega!

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Wrist cutting music, yikes

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No thank you

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good but not my thing

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nope. this is not my cup of tea. sounds so dated.

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I was listening to Suzanne Vega and I fell asleep. Did I miss anything? No. Ms. Vega’s vocal style is a mix of spoken word and singing, and it doesn’t work for me. It’s like she knows she doesn’t sing that well, but still tries to make her spoken word sound singing-ish. And how is there only one Suzanne Vega album on this list and it’s not the one with Tom’s Diner? WTF?

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80’er Singer/songwriter, kedeligt

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Very 80's sounding sort of confessional singer-songwriter. Her delivery is interesting, kind of half-sung, half spoken word. Honestly sounds very pretentious to me - first song being the worst example of this. I see a lot of comments saying this record is "bare" and "acoustic". I did not find that to be the case at all. The arrangements do sound kind of sparse but it mostly sounds like she's in a big empty room. Most of the songs have lots of little embellishments with other instruments (synths, electric guitars, etc) that are all very 80's sounding. To me this is more subtraction than addition. Might be more compelling if it were just her and an acoustic guitar. Maybe with less reverb or whatever makes it sound so sparse. Something to make it a bit more intimate sounding. But maybe that's just me.

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This is the worst open mic night one could possibly attend.

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Nah

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Personally not for me, a bit slow for my liking.

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