Thursday, May 12, 2005

Suzanne Vega - Days of Open Hand

Suzanne Vega's songs grow on you. After enough listens, you get hypnotized by her voice, the odd lyrics, the raw energy of her music. I ended up listening to this CD continuously for several days.

I thought 'Book of Dreams' would have been a more appropriate title for this album, since the songs appear to be coming from a series of dreams and hallucinations. But I guess 'Days of Open Hand' had some special significance since the lyric booklet prominently displays different artistic still shots and drawings of hands. I wish I knew what they meant though.

Some of the song lyrics are... creepy. You will slip through a steady stream of consciousness and unconsciousness. For instance, the track 'Tired of Sleeping' repeats the verse "The dreams are not so bad. It's just that there's so much to do. And I'm tired of sleeping." I think it's about depression or something.

The track 'Rusted Pipe' contains the stanza "Having waited this long of a winter.. I fear. I only. Croak and Sigh." I don't know what it means, but it sounds scary. The upbeat, positive-sounding song 'Book of Dreams' is a song about hope and resilience. OK, more creepy stuff, 'Institution Green' has some interesting lyrics: "I wonder if she'll take a look. Find my name inside that book. Lose me on the printed page. Where to point the aimless rage." I guess it takes place inside a mental asylum.

One of the songs scared the shit out of me, 'Fifty-Fifty Chance'. It's about a patient in a hospital room given a 50-50 chance to live. She's in a delicate situation. Fortunately she survives and is released... but there's a twist: "She's going home.. Tomorrow at ten.. The question is.. Will she try it again?" uh-oh.

My personal favorite is the song 'Men in a War', it narrates some verses about men going to war, losing limbs, and still feeling the limb even though it was already lost. I think it's a metaphor for losing something that meant a lot to you, occasionally forgetting she was lost, then realizing she's gone forever. Brilliant song.

All in all, a very dark CD. And a very cool one.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars * * * *
Great lyrics. A different listening experience. Fifty-fifty chance.

1 comment:

roehl said...

"A different listening experience."

different is good. too bad our culture frowns on deviations from the norm.