guilty pleasure monday: frank and ava (suzanne vega)

frank and ava. embedding is borked, so you have to click here to hear it. bork bork bork.

you know those toys you loved as a child and then tired of? those toys are like the artists you enjoyed in your youth. you still love listening to their hits (or classic albums, if they weren’t exactly a top 40 act) — but have you given them a listen lately? sure, some of them will not be producing great stuff, but you might be surprised at the ones who are.

i feel this way about suzanne vega.

suzanne vega has produced consistently engaging works. she’s so much more than luka (or tom’s diner, which i can’t stand in the smashed-up DNA version) and thank Dog for that. her voice is so clear, so evocative, kind of like a female lou reed but one who actually can sing (with some apologies to reed, who probably could care less.) i cannot understand why she is not more celebrated in the world when she creates the kind of music in league with heavies like aimee mann (at whose altar i worship daily.) some of the imagery in selections from songs in red and grey, an album that is a morose yet wistful product of her divorce, is riveting: she explains to her child:

Daddy’s a dark riddle; Mama’s head’s full of bees. You are my little kite, carried away in the wayward breeze.

i was glad that her next release, beauty & crime, moved away from that topic. frank and ava, she once noted, is the story of a couple who can’t live together and who can’t live apart. in the end, like the real frank and ava, they end their relationship and never see each other again, though they never forget each other. it is a song with an incredible hook; i’m surprised it wasn’t snapped up for use in a movie or starbucks or SOMEWHERE.

we love this song. my little cherubs sing knowingly it’s not enough to be in love. i wonder whether they will really understand that later on in life. i guess i’ll have to content myself with a different image for now: the image of BC, who, in the proud tradition of her grandmother, mangles the lyrics to the song. unintentionally. for girlfriend, the song starts out this way:

on the way to the bidet is where the trouble used to start.

(well, for people of a certain age, this could be a problem, right?)

anyway, maybe suzanne vega doesn’t light your lucky as she does mine (musically speaking), but perhaps you should check out someone you liked years ago. their latest stuff may not put them in heavy rotation on the radio (especially if you live in radio wasteland as i do), but it might merit heavy rotation on an mp3 player near you.

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