Beauty & Crime

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Beauty & Crime
Studio album by Suzanne Vega
Released June 11, 2007 (UK)
July 17, 2007 (USA)
Recorded November 2006 – January 2007 in NYC; London
Genre Folk rock, acoustic rock
Length 33:58
Label Blue Note/Capitol
Producer Jimmy Hogarth
Suzanne Vega chronology
Songs in Red and Gray
(2001)
Beauty & Crime
(2007)
Close-Up Vol. 1, Love Songs
(2010)
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (84/100) [1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [2]
BBC Music (positive) [3]
Billboard (positive) [4]
The Boston Globe (positive) [5]
Entertainment Weekly A- [6]
musicOMH 4/5 stars [7]
New York Magazine (positive) [8]
The New York Times (positive) [9]
PopMatters 7/10 stars [10]
Stylus B [11]
Under the Radar 7/10 stars [1]
USA Today 3/4 stars [12]

Beauty & Crime is the seventh studio album release by New York-based singer/songwriter and musician Suzanne Vega. It is her first album of new material since 2001's Songs in Red and Gray and is also her first for Blue Note Records. It was released on July 17, 2007. Beauty & Crime won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, on February 11, 2008.

Development[edit]

Following lukewarm commercial success for her prior two albums, 1996's Nine Objects of Desire and Songs in Red and Gray, A&M Records ended their lengthy contract with Vega (she had signed in 1983) with the release of the more commercially successful hits package Retrospective in 2003.

Between then and 2006, Vega embarked on a hectic and extensive touring schedule and performed a number of the songs from Beauty & Crime, in their early forms, during concerts, including "Unbound," "Edith Wharton's Figurines," and "New York is a Woman."

The album was recorded in New York City between November 10-November 27, 2006, with further recording work commencing in England in January 2007.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Suzanne Vega.

  1. "Zephyr & I" - 3:10
  2. "Ludlow Street" - 3:16
  3. "New York is a Woman" - 2:54
  4. "Pornographer's Dream" - 3:23
  5. "Frank & Ava" - 2:38
  6. "Edith Wharton's Figurines" - 2:23
  7. "Bound" - 4:43
  8. "Unbound" - 3:34
  9. "As You Are Now" - 2:20
  10. "Angel's Doorway" - 2:55
  11. "Anniversary" - 2:57
  12. "Obvious Question" (Bonus Track) - 1:50

Personnel[edit]

  • Suzanne Vega - acoustic guitar, vocals (all tracks)
  • Mike Visceglia - bass (4)
  • Dougie Yowell - drums (4,6), percussion (4,6)
  • Gerry Leonard - electric guitar (1,2,5 to 11), acoustic guitar (4,5,10)
  • Graham Hawthorne - drums (1,3,5,6,9 to 11), live drums (2,7,8)
  • Tony Shanahan - bass (1,5,9,10)
  • Sam Dixon - bass (2,3,6,11) live bass (8)
  • Martin Slattery - piano (3,4,7,10), flute (9), brass (3), reeds (3)
  • Lee Ranaldo - electric guitar (1,2,10)
  • Jimmy Hogarth - percussion (1 to 5,10,11) electric guitar (1), acoustic guitar (11)
  • Philip Shepard - cello (1,6,7)
  • Matthew Ward - violin (1,7)
  • KT Tunstall - background vocals, vocal arrangements (1,5)
  • Ruby Froom - background vocals (2,8)
  • Beccy Byrne - background vocals (8)
  • Emily Singer - background vocals (8)
  • Anthony Genn - background vocals (11)
  • London Studio Orchestra - strings (2,4,7,9) led by Perry Montague-Mason
  • Cameron Craig - engineer
  • Pete Davis - programming (2,4,7,8,10)
  • Jimmy Hogarth - producer
  • Emery Dobyns - engineer

Notes[edit]

Vega has made the following comments on the album's songs:

  • Zephyr & I: a conversation between the graffiti artist Zephyr and myself, West End Avenue remembered
  • Ludlow Street: for my brother Tim who lived there, memories of parties and rehab
  • New York is a Woman: NY personified as a woman who has had a hard time but is still beautiful
  • Pornographer’s Dream: what would he really desire?
  • Frank & Ava: a couple who gets along in bed but not out
  • Edith Wharton's Figurines: women past and present, how we suffer for beauty
  • Bound: a love song to my husband
  • Unbound: a spiritual song about a plant
  • As You Are Now: to my daughter who is a natural treasure
  • Angel’s Doorway: A cop is stationed at Ground Zero and his wife wants him to leave his clothes at the door. Also about troops returning home.
  • Anniversary: The anniversary week of 9/11 a year later in NYC
  • Obvious Question: about alcohol and the damage done (this track is only available on the Japanese import CD)

Charts[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak
position
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[13] 31
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[14] 69
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[15] 13
Czech Albums[citation needed] 37
Estonian Albums[citation needed] 9
French Albums (SNEP)[16] 52
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[17] 81
Italian Albums[citation needed] 74
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[18] 49
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[19] 79
UK Albums[citation needed] 127
US Billboard 200[20] 129
US Top Internet Albums[citation needed] 24
US Billboard Comprehensive Albums[citation needed] 140

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Critic reviews at Metacritic
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ BBC Music review
  4. ^ Billboard review at the Wayback Machine (archived September 23, 2007)
  5. ^ The Boston Globe review
  6. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  7. ^ musicOMH review
  8. ^ New York Magazine review
  9. ^ The New York Times review
  10. ^ PopMatters review
  11. ^ Stylus Magazine review
  12. ^ Reviewed by Elysa Gardner, USA Today: Suzanne Vega, Beauty & Crime: * * * (out of four) Epistle to city. The veteran troubadour’s latest is a predictably smart, vaguely haunted love letter to her lifelong home, New York City. From tautly driving tunes such as "Zephyr" and the single "Frank & Ava" to moodier, more bittersweet fare, Vega evokes the grit and grace of her stomping grounds. And the crisp economy of her singing and writing have never been more welcome.
  13. ^ "Suzanne Vega – Beauty & Crime" (in Dutch). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  14. ^ "Suzanne Vega – Beauty & Crime" (in French). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  15. ^ "Suzanne Vega: Beauty & Crime" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  16. ^ "Suzanne Vega – Beauty & Crime". Lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  17. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  18. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLIS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  19. ^ "Suzanne Vega – Beauty & Crime". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  20. ^ "Suzanne Vega Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Suzanne Vega. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 8, 2014.

External links[edit]