Suzanne Vega by Suzanne Vega
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Though not the songs that would put her on the pop music map--that would come with 1987's Solitude Standing
--Vega's first album shows her folky songwriting origins and, song for song, may still be her best. Produced by Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye, the sound is softly sculpted by Kaye's silvery guitar and an airy, occaisonal string section, matching the dream-like introspection of "Queen and the Soldier" and the surreal word play of "Small Blue Thing." Vega's philosophical, quiet, but confident approach would open the door for a second generation of female singer-songwriters like Dar Williams and Shawn Colvin. Her debut remains an unassuming sleeper for one of the '80s best folk or pop albums. --Roy Francis Kasten