Retrospective: The Best of Suzanne Vega

Retrospective: The Best of Suzanne Vega

by Suzanne Vega


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Suzanne Vega writes songs full of careful observations and precise details. She is able to tell a story in a few sharp lines, and what's most striking about Retrospective, Vega's first U.S. best-of compilation, is her consistency. From 1985's "Small Blue Thing," an ode to fragility, to 1987's "Luka," a touching first-person tale of child abuse, to 2001's "I'll Never Be Your Maggie May," a sharp retort to a possessive lover, Vega's songs simmer but never boil; she's a master of restraint. Even when the music accelerates, as on the DNA remix of "Tom's Diner," which became a surprise dance hit in 1990, or the clanking experiments-in-rhythm "99.9 F" and "Blood Makes Noise," Vega maintains a deliciously icy detachment. Retrospective is a generous collection spanning her career through 2001's Songs in Red and Grey. In addition to well-chosen tracks from each of her six albums, Retrospective includes the wonderful "Left of Center" from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, "Woman on the Tier" from Dead Man Walking, the previously import-only "Rosemary," and a live version of "The Queen and the Soldier." With liner notes from Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye, who co-produced Vega's first two albums, Retrospective encapsulates a career full of small, beautiful things.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/22/2003
Label: Interscope Records
UPC: 0606949367022
catalogNumber: 493670
Rank: 66917

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Suzanne Vega   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Frank Christian   Electric Guitar
Shawn Colvin   Background Vocals
Joe Jackson   Piano
Don Byron   Clarinet,Bass Clarinet
Rupert Hine   Bass,Piano,Strings,Keyboards
Sue Evans   Percussion,Drums
Steve Addabbo   Guitar,Background Vocals,Soloist
Michael Blair   Cymbals,Tambourine,Whip
Tchad Blake   Bass,Electric Guitar,E-bow,wah wah guitar
Dave Douglas   Trumpet,Muted Trumpet
Mitch Easter   Rhythm Guitar
Steve Ferrera   Percussion,Drums
Mitchell Froom   Keyboards
Frank Gravis   Bass
David Hidalgo   Electric Guitar
John Linnell   Accordion
Jerry Marotta   Percussion,Drums
Richard Pleasance   Electric Guitar
C.P. Roth   Synthesizer
Anton Sanko   Synthesizer,Hammond Organ
Marc Shulman   Electric Guitar,Guitar (12 String Electric)
Sebastian Steinberg   Bass
Bruce Thomas   Bass
Pete Thomas   Percussion,Drums,Drum Loop
Frank Vilardi   Drums
Michael Visceglia   Bass
Gerry Leonard   Dulcimer,Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Zither
Jay Bellerose   Drums
Steve Donnelly   Electric Guitar
Jane Scarpantoni   Cello
Paul Dugan   Bass
Cecilia Sparacio   Flute
Jon Gordon   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Soloist

Technical Credits

Suzanne Vega   Producer
Rupert Hine   Arranger,Producer,drum programming
Steve Addabbo   Producer,Engineer
Tchad Blake   Producer,Engineer
Mitch Easter   Producer
Mitchell Froom   Producer,Horn Arrangements
Lenny Kaye   Producer,Liner Notes
Geoff Keehn   Engineer
Patrick McCarthy   Engineer
Rod O'Brien   Engineer
Anton Sanko   Producer
Stephen W. Tayler   Engineer
Jeri Heiden   Art Direction
Kelly Martinez   Licensing
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination

Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
My review title is a compliment, not a put-down. Suzanne Vega is a model of restraint who never indulges in displays of cheap emotion. Her songs are always literate, never simple but usually containing a hook that grabs you and makes you listen to her story. This compilation runs 78 minutes and is a fine summary of her journey from folk songs like Luka to electronic music like Tom's Diner and Woman On The Tier (I'll See You Through). The only flaw is a solo live acoustic The Queen And The Soldier that is substituted for the studio version.
seasoned_geek More than 1 year ago
There were only two tracks on this CD which I was aware of by title when I ordered it. Luka, which was a phenomenal ground breaking tune when it came out and Tom's Diner. This CD shows the breadth and depth of this artists talents, yet for the careful listener, shows that she really stayed true to her experimental and technical roots. Luka, was an up-beat and light tune which climbed the charts quickly before anybody listened to the words and discovered it was a very sad commentary about child abuse. The track sparked an international debate which approved the lives of many around the world thanks to the song being a left hook out of the darkness at the music world. An Elton John interview some time back said that a musician is always afraid of running out of words, but never music. To prove his statement he took a text book from someone in the audience, sat down at a piano, then composed a song consisting of two paragraphs from a randomly selected page. I bring this up because Tom's Diner is exactly that type of boundary pushing song proving the same point. The song simply covers 20 minutes spent at a diner, but does it in such a way the listener keeps being drawn in over and over again. I played the entire CD in one setting during an out of state drive this weekend. If you think I'm just waxing about my two favorite tracks and the rest of the album is a waste, you think wrong. There are 22 tracks on this disk, and many are even better than the two I waxed about here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago