Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles

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Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles
SuzanneVega-TalesRealmcover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 18, 2014 (2014-02-18)
Studio
  • Clubhouse Studios (New York)
  • Kyserike Station (New York)
  • One East Studios (New York)
  • Studio Disk Barrandov (Prague)
Genre
Length36:40
LabelAmanuensis Productions
ProducerGerry Leonard
Suzanne Vega chronology
Close-Up Vol. 4, Songs of Family
(2012)
Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles
(2014)
Close-Up Series
(2014)
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic76/100[1]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[2]
American Songwriter4/5 stars[3]
MusicOMH4/5 stars[4]

Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles is the eighth studio album by the American singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega.

Released in February 2014, it was Vega's first album of new material in seven years. The album features contributions from Larry Campbell and Tony Levin (bassist from King Crimson and for Peter Gabriel). Although Vega's music had been sampled by various artists in the past, the album contains Vega's first own attempt at sampling with the track "Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain" including interpolations from 50 Cent's 2005 song "Candy Shop".[5]

The album entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 37, the first time one of Vega's studio albums reached the UK Top 40 since 1992. It received generally favorable reviews.[6]

The album appeared under Vega's own label, Amanuensis Productions, and was distributed in Europe by Cooking Vinyl and in North America by Aimee Mann's label Superego.

In 2014 the album was awarded a silver certification from the Independent Music Companies Association,[7] which indicated sales of at least 20,000 copies throughout Europe.[8]

Recording[edit]

Over the past number of years, Vega had collected "recordings with melodies, lyrics, notes and pieces of ideas" for songs on her iPhone. Together with long-time collaborator Gerry Leonard she began to 'solidify these ideas' over the course of a year. After road-testing a number of these songs on tour, the duo began the recording of the new material.[9] Leonard gathered a number of musicians and began live-tracking at the Clubhouse Studios in upstate New York. Additional material was recorded at his home-studio, a converted railway station outside Rochester (NY). Leonard also oversaw the arrangement of the string section and the trumpet contribution made by Alison Balsom.[10] "Song of the Stoic" was a follow-up to Vega's 1987 hit single "Luka", and was written from the point of view of the character as he looked back on his life.[11]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Suzanne Vega and Gerry Leonard except where noted[12][13].

Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles track listing
No.TitleLength
1."Crack in the Wall" (Vega)4:23
2."Fool's Complaint" (Vega)2:39
3."I Never Wear White"3:08
4."Portrait of the Knight of Wands"4:18
5."Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain"3:31
6."Jacob and the Angel"4:05
7."Silver Bridge"3:47
8."Song of the Stoic"4:05
9."Laying on of Hands/Stoic 2"3:52
10."Horizon (There Is a Road)"2:50
Total length:36:40

Personnel[edit]

Technical personnel

  • Michael Tudor, assisted by Andy Gilchrist  – engineering except; Strings recorded at Studio Disk Barrandov, Prague by Lukas Vacek and Karel Holas; Trumpet recorded at Angel Recording Studios, London by Gary Thomas; additional recording at Kyserike Station, N.Y. by Gerry Leonard
  • Kevin Killen – mixing

Charts[edit]

Chart performance for Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles
Chart (2014) Peak
position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[14] 66
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[15] 19
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[16] 51
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[17] 47
French Albums (SNEP)[18] 124
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[19] 38
UK Albums (OCC)[20] 37
US Billboard 200[21] 173
US Folk Albums (Billboard)[22] 5
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[23] 36

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-02-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-02-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Rosen, Steven (2014-02-17). "Suzanne Vega: Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles". American Songwriter. Retrieved 2014-02-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Murphy, John (2014-01-30). "Album Review". musicOMH. Retrieved 2014-02-24. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Rolling Stone Interview" David Browne, 'Suzanne Vega on Her Return, Lou Reed's Puppy and Loving Macklemore' Rolling Stone January 16, 2014
  6. ^ "Metacritic" Metacritic entry accessed February 2014
  7. ^ http://www.impalamusic.org/sites/default/files/pictures/Awards5.png
  8. ^ http://www.impalamusic.org/node/340
  9. ^ Ishtar Music Press release for the Festival Antigel in Geneva, February 15, 2014. Accessed March 1, 2014.
  10. ^ Good Seed PR press-release in conjunction with the 2014 Dublin show, posted December 3, 2013.
  11. ^ "Mastertapes - Suzanne Vega (the B-Side)". BBC Radio 4. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Booklet PDF" Liner notes
  13. ^ "Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Suzanne Vega – Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  15. ^ "Ultratop.be – Suzanne Vega – Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  16. ^ "Ultratop.be – Suzanne Vega – Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  17. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Suzanne Vega – Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  18. ^ "Lescharts.com – Suzanne Vega – Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  19. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Suzanne Vega – Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  20. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  21. ^ "Suzanne Vega Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  22. ^ "Suzanne Vega Chart History (Top Americana/Folk Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  23. ^ "Suzanne Vega Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 6, 2020.