Suzanne Vega: Small Blue Thing
Small. Blue. Thing. Three short words which combine to form an intricate puzzle. There is a sense here of small, as in insignificant. Blue here may represent sad. Or, taken together, this small blue thing may be something rare and precious. All of this is in Suzanne Vega’s lyric, for the listener to puzzle out. The solution to the puzzle changes every time I listen. And that makes this one of Vega’s best songs.
Bruce Cockburn: Red Brother Red Sister
Bruce Cockburn is a Canadian artist who made several albums there before anyone in the United States ever heard of him. So, we had a lot of lost time to make up for. Here, Cockburn addresses the topic of prejudice against Native Americans. We Americans tend to shunt this subject aside; we have “more important things to worry about”, seems to be the attitude. But, judging by the number of Canadian artists I have heard address the subject, the subject is much closer to the surface there. I would like to hear from our Canadian readers on this. Cockburn has delivered some strident political messages in some of his songs, but here he keeps it low key, and the song is better for it.
October Project: Sunday Morning, Yellow Sky
The original lineup of October Project only lasted for two albums. Then, Mary Fahl, whose lead vocals were so much a part of there sound, went solo and the group broke up. More recently, I heard that they got back together without Fahl, but I regard that as a different group using the name. The original lineup is heard here, with Fahl’s soaring alto at the front.
Sunday Morning, Yellow Sky depicts a man in desperate straits. His redemption lies in the dream of a lover, or perhaps the blessing of an angel as he sleeps. This song is also open to multiple interpretations. But the importance of dreams is clear. The song closes with a quote from Alice In Wonderland, as Alice falls down the rabbit hole. We the listeners know what dreams await her, but she does not.