Suzanne Vega: Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles – review

(Cooking Vinyl)

A dissonance between sound and subject matter isn't a new Vega trait - if you ignored the lyrics to Luka, her huge 1987 hit, you'd assume it was a song about crayons rather than child abuse - but on this, her first record in seven years, the discord is a new kind of awkward. Her voice, effortless and earnest as ever, seems out of step when she's sampling 50 Cent's Candy Shop, referencing Macklemore and his thrift shop, or insisting that "my colour is black, black, black". Most curious is Portrait of the Knight of Wands ("His mission: the transmission of technology") – a eulogy for Steve Jobs in ballad form?


Hermione Hoby

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Suzanne Vega – review

The black-clad singer-songwriter gives her new album an ethereal feel, but still delivers her crowd-pleasing classics – and pays homage to a legendary fellow New Yorker, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

03, Feb, 2014 @1:37 PM

Article image
Suzanne Vega: ‘It’s taken me a while to say, You are what you are, it’s fine’
The 80s pop-folk star talks about her confused identity growing up, and her new album about US writer Carson McCullers

Andrew Anthony

09, Oct, 2016 @9:00 AM

Article image
Suzanne Vega: how we made Tom's Diner
‘I’m mentioned in the menu. But they call me Susan Vega. And I still have to pay for coffee’

Interviews by Dave Simpson

18, Oct, 2016 @6:00 AM

Suzanne Vega, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

David Peschek

04, Jul, 2007 @10:46 PM

Article image
Suzanne Vega, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Adam Sweeting

29, Jun, 2005 @12:37 PM

Seth Lakeman: Tales From the Barrel House – review
Lakeman brings a starker, more contemplative approach to these latest west country tales, writes Neil Spencer

Neil Spencer

25, Mar, 2012 @12:05 AM

CocoRosie: Tales of a GrassWidow – review
Extraordinary vocals nowithstanding, art-house siblings CocoRosie fail to stamp their personality on their fifth album, writes Phil Mongredien

Phil Mongredien

25, May, 2013 @11:05 PM

Stornoway: Tales from Terra Firma – review
This second album from the Oxford four-piece feels like a bit of an epic, writes Killian Fox

Killian Fox

10, Mar, 2013 @12:05 AM

Christy Moore: Where I Come From – review
The Irish singer has re-recorded 43 songs for this epic retrospective, writes Neil Spencer

Neil Spencer

26, Oct, 2013 @11:05 PM

Article image
Richard Dawson review – dispatches from the breadline
A tender but challenging tour of broken Britain

Kitty Empire

23, Nov, 2019 @2:00 PM