I just discovered that over the past three years or so, Suzanne Vega has re-recorded her entire back catalogue in a very stripped-down acoustic format, then divided it into four albums by theme (love songs, people and places, songs of family, "states of being"). She's always been a little hit or miss for me, more and more miss as time goes on, but I've always enjoyed her more folky songs rather than the weird electronic-y ones, so this is excellent.
Here are some of my favorites:Ludlow Street
- I'd actually not heard this one before, as it's from one of her recentish albums, but it's excellent. I really like the couplet and trailing line of the chorus: This time when I go back to Ludlow Street / I find each stoop and doorway's incomplete / Without you there
. That breathy jump up the scale on the last syllable of "incomplete" does funny things to my heart.Undertow
- The strings are an AWESOME addition. The drums were a good thing to remove. This version is even creepier than the original, which I always assumed was from the perspective of a serial killer, or at least a vampire. (Which, arguably, is a kind
of serial killer...)Small Blue Thing
- Don't get me wrong, the original is absolutely fantastic (I've always loved the synth on the "I am falling down the stairs..." part), and this version doesn't actually change much, but the subtle changes are good too.Cracking
- Okay, this is not the redone version, but I just discovered the original, and I really like it, so I'm linking it.
Ahhh, that was a nice walk down memory lane. "Left of Center
" was totally the anthem of my misunderstood teenaged self. SO MUCH. Even if it was fifteen years out of date when I was a misunderstood teenager. I also have vivid memories of writing a complete rip off of "Small Blue Thing" for a high school creative writing class, and of spending an inordinate amount of time with my guitar trying to finger-pick like her on any of the many songs I downloaded tabs for. (I never succeeded.) "Tom's Diner," on the other hand, never did much for me, but I did enjoy the I Dream of Jeannie
filk version she did that Nick at Nite co-opted for their commercials. Hee.
In other news, I've followed the internet wildebeest herd and started listening to Welcome to Night Vale
. It sits a little further toward the "bizarre for bizarreness's sake" end of the humor spectrum than I generally enjoy, but enjoyable it is nonetheless. For those of you who've been living under a rock, Night Vale
is a podcast (you can get it for free through iTunes) from a community radio in the fictional small town of Night Vale, somewhere in the American desert southwest. It's kind of like HP Lovecraft meets the stranger parts of Chris in the Morning's radio broadcast, with sprinklings of X-Files
, and Twin Peaks
, all done in the style of A Prairie Home Companion
It's the perfect length for my morning commute, and decent for my afternoon one (that's longer, so I go back to music for the last ten minutes of the drive). I'm not sure I would like it so much if I didn't desperately need more entertainment for these drives, but I do, so I do like it. Plus, I really wanna know what's up with the hooded figures.