Suzanne Vega

On her latest CD, Suzanne Vega still possesses that quiet, mid-'80s reedy voice, and her compositional chops come off as solid as ever. “Widow’s Walk” seems like a strong, first person narrative: “So I walk the walk/and wait with watchful eye out to the sky/Looking for a kind of vessel/I have never found.” I like the poetic conceit of the Widow’s Walk, that railed-off, flat roof section on old New England houses where women were said to wait, often in vain, for the return of their sailor-husbands. The lyrics want to suggest a woman trapped in a “drowned” marriage and too reluctant to split. While that remains an all-too-real situation in our society, one is left feeling a bit too detached by the song to empathize fully with the character.

Nevertheless, great production and arrangements are provided throughout the CD by Rupert Hine, the title track benefiting particularly from his touch. Even so, the entire project functions better as quirky, quiet background noise rather than in-your-face, deal-with-it social commentary. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.